By Coach Stefano Ruscitti
The BWC Atom A3 team arrived in Denver Colorado on Wednesday meaning all business. Thursday morning we had a pre-tournament skate at the University of Denver practice facility where BWC Alumni Joey LaLeggia plays. Joey joined the team on the ice helping them prepare for their tournament. On Friday the boys took on Littleton Black Hawks, the host team. It was a tight game 2-1 with an empty net goal to make it a 3-1 final. Saturday the team played Green Mountain Falls (5-0) and Tri City Storm(10-0) before facing the second host team Littleton Red Hawks on Sunday (7-0). They ended round robin play at 4-0 1st in pool A and would face New Mexico Ice Wolves, an all-tournament team in the semi-finals (7-0) setting up a rematch of the first game in the finals against host team Littleton Black Hawks. The game was close, entering the second period 0-0 before we got on the board with a quick 2 goals. The 3rd period started with our boys up 2-1. We ran into penalty trouble in the last minutes of the game and the boys killed off an almost 2 full minute 5on3. After killing it off we would add another goal and win the championship 3-1. Great dedication. Great focus. And amazing effort by our group of boys. Couldn't have been prouder. Now we turn our focus to our league banner and playoffs.
Alaska's Tyler Morley is 1 of 2 BWC Alumni nominated for the Hobey Baker Award
Two former BWC Alumni have been nominated for US College Hockey's most prestigious award. Joey LaLeggia, a Senior standout defenseman for the University of Denver Pioneers and Junior scoring leader of the University of Alaska Nanooks, Tyler Morley. The Hobey Baker Award is presented annually to college hockey's top player. Voting for the Hobey Baker's highly popular fan-voting opened on Wednesday, January 7. Be sure to visit the Hobey Baker website (www.hobeybakeraward.com), click on the on the Vote for Hobey banner and choose your favourite player.
Nick Holowko. A prime example that you don't have to score a goal or pick up an assist to have an affect on a game. He epitomizes what I wrote earlier about effort and bringing your hard hat for 60 minutes. After small steps early in the season, his development took huge leaps the past month with added playing time. New Year's Eve, elevated to the team's make shift top line in the absence of Gropp and Barzal, he was a constant thorn in the side of the Winterhawks. In the T-birds dictionary, beside the word "forecheck" is his picture. He's one of those players who does whatever he's asked and has tremendous focus.
We are pleased to announce the start of the 3rd Season of the BWC Hockey Pool! The weekly winners will be posted here:
Every Wednesday afternoon for the next 17 draws someone will walk away with one of the five prizes awarded each week!
You can see the details of the prize winnings on the Athletix website, and to the “RESULTS” section.
From Ted Spiker (@ProfSpiker), the interim chair of the department of journalism at the University of Florida, is the author of DOWN SIZE: 12 Truths for Turning Pants-Splitting Frustration into Pants-Fitting Success.
Eight things we can do to improve the youth-sports environmentLike most parents who watch their kids play sports, I keep an in-brain highlight reel of my favorite moments involving my two boys. Some of them involve skill, but many of them center around effort or teamwork. More and more, though, I also have witnessed incidents that make me wonder why there’s more gamesmanship and less sportsmanship. Just last weekend, I saw the following from other squads: a player-to-ref middle finger, four flags in one game for excessive taunting, and a frustrated fling of a stick into the stands.
Any of us who have been involved in youth sports have our own stories of do-it-the-wrong-way people. In my decade or so of coaching and spectating the half-dozen different sports my boys have played, I’ve seen kids be punks. Coaches be punks. Parents be punks.
I’ve been a punk.
The sad fact is that unless we can slowly change the frantic and entitled culture that’s bubbling on some of our sidelines (I once saw a parent zooming his video camera to focus on a college scout’s notes), we’re going to allow what should be a healthy and educational environment to become a constantly toxic one.
How can we fix it? Ultimately, I think it involves parents having the discipline to keep in perspective what’s really at stake. Not a game, not a scholarship. What we do risk losing is this: A positive experience for our kids. Their memories of what sports taught them and the friendships they built. Our own relationships with our children.
“Being a parent is a performance. Did your presence make your kids two hours better? How? What did you do to make sure that happened? That’s the difference between being a parent and being a fan, yet most parents act more like fans than parents,” sports psychologist and former Division-I athlete Doug Newburg, Ph.D., told me. “What does it mean to care? That’s the issue. We believe that anger and passion and emotion are how we care. The reality is if we care, we focus on what matters. People get emotional because they ‘CARE’ when they should ‘care.’ Softly, without props, as Toni Morrison would say.”
It won’t be a quick or easy change, but if we each do our part, we can slowly bring our youth-sports culture back to where it should be — a place for kids to learn, grow, develop, and [gasp!] have fun.
Some ways that parents can game-plan:
Cheer for the play that helps the play. It’s natural to celebrate the goal, the touchdown, the game-saving catch. Let’s make more effort to cheer for the player who makes the pass or block. Call out to the one who sets the pick. Send an “attaboy” or “attagirl” to the kid who does one tiny thing that—as part of a chain of events—helped make the big play happen. Most importantly, notice those things when other kids do them. If you want your child to understand that life is about collaborating with a team, reinforce it by spreading your praise up and down the roster.
Dial down the emotion. An expert I once interviewed about the subject said that many youth coaches make a mistake by having a rah-rah-get-riled-up persona during the game. They assume it helps get a team motivated to perform well. In actuality, he said, athletes (especially young ones) perform better in a less emotionally charged atmosphere. We parents can take the same advice — cheer and praise with enthusiasm, but with a tone of voice that exudes calmness. Translation: “Oh nice play, Jennifer, way to hustle” trumps “GET TO THE BALL, JENNIFER. GO! GO! GO! YOU GOT IT! MOOOOOOVE IT!” Or as my friend Bill, the father of two elite-level athletes, says, “Watch with compassion, not judgment.”
Ask yourself: What does your kid really want? While you may be eager to give your opinion on what strategy will work, our kids don’t want a constant yammering of tips and tricks from you. More likely, our kids prefer our role on the support staff: We’re chauffeurs, cheerleaders, peanut-butter-sandwich-makers, ice-pack-fetchers, bag-smell-taker-outers. Embrace that role, and use baking powder.
Be unsocial. Most of the parental sideline issues really are an issue about self-control — how we can take an emotional moment (“that was a slash!”) and cool down before reacting like a bloated buffoon. Some researchers would say that the key to doing that is taking ourselves out of a hot state (the time we act on impulse because our emotions are clouding judgment) and go to a cold state (where we act more logically). That’s difficult when games are essentially one prolonged hot state. If you’re prone to outbursts, watch the game away from all the other parents (especially opposing ones), since the pack mentality contributes to a pile-on-the-ref sideline.
Play with, not talk to. If you want to connect with your kid over sports and offer your wisdom about improvement, your contribution shouldn’t come anywhere near game time. Toss the ball, bike while she runs, anything. “Like a buddy, not a coach,” Bill says. “You may find out more about your kids as people and they’re more likely to work on their game if you’re not beating them down.”
Respect the hierarchy. I get that we all think we know better and have the strategy that will help the team. If you want to question the coach, offer advice constructively on non-game days and not in public. Then don’t take offense if the coach says thanks, but no thanks. Want a say in how things are done? Volunteer. Or login to your fantasy football roster.
If he runs his mouth, sit him down. There’s one exception to the above rule. If kids act in a way that demeans or threatens a coach, player, opponent, ref, or fans, and the coach won’t wield punishment, then we have the right — and responsibility — to do so. As a parent once told me, “Either you’re coaching that type of behavior, or you’re allowing it to happen.”
Offer questions, not analysis. After a game, resist the urge to explain ways your child could improve. Just say, “How was the game?” “Did you have fun?” “How’d it go?” Realize this first: If your kids want a break-down analysis of how they played, they’ll ask you for it. Realize this second: They won’t ask you for it.
Now, I believe the motive in most instances of parental craziness is well-meaning. We all want our kids to succeed, to perform well, to experience the joy that we suspect our kids want to feel when they win. Nobody questions the notion that you will and should feel passion about what you’re watching—pride, disappointment, anger about the ref missing an elbow to the face, the whole range that comes from watching our kids compete. But projecting those emotions will contribute to kids losing enjoyment of the game — and ultimately stop playing the game.
Or maybe we could simply do this, as was suggested by a fellow parent at a parent/athlete meeting I recently attended: Maybe we could just ask our own kids how they want us to act. Do they want us to yell urgently for them to step up and make a play? Do they want us to throw our hats when the ref makes a bad call? Do they want us to snipe among ourselves when the coach subbed at the wrong time? Do they want us to look so petty that we’re getting riled up for a reason that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme?
I doubt it.
What do they want out of playing sports? Do they want to go hard, compete, get better, celebrate good plays with their friends, and not have to hear their parents squawking before, during, or after the game? Do they want us to remember the definition of play?
I’m sure my kids would say yes.
First posted: Tuesday, December 02, 2014 11:58 PM EST | Updated: Wednesday, December 03, 2014 12:12 AM EST
TORONTO - The signing of Mike Santorelli by the Maple Leafs in July didn’t raise a big fuss.
After all, at $1.5 million US for one year, the Leafs figured they were getting a forward who would provide depth and a shot of energy.
Santorelli, through 24 games of the 2014-15 season, has been better than that, and really, a bargain.
“I think he has been a pleasant surprise,” Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said after Toronto’s 5-3 win against the visiting Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
“I did not think in reviewing his training camp he was going to be all that dynamic. But what we have found is he is a much better winger than centre. He is much more comfortable and his work ethic is very noticeable on the wing. I think that has been enlightening to everybody.”
Santorelli, who turns 29 on Dec. 14, was rewarded for his fine work with three assists, the first time in the NHL he had three assists in one game.
The first point was typical of the effort Santorelli has brought to just about every shift he has had in a Leafs uniform. Bothered by the Benn brothers — Jamie and Jordie — along the boards in the offensive zone, Santorelli controlled the puck and fed Nazem Kadri for the second Toronto goal.
One thing is clear about Santorelli: He doesn’t really have an off-switch, or little evidence of one.
The Vancouver native has three goals to go with 13 assists (tied for second on the Leafs). Don’t expect the work ethic to wane.
“It does not matter — one- or two- or three- or four- or five-year (contract) — you have to bring your game every night,” Santorelli said. “It is a battle out there. That’s the mindset.”
The Nations Cup, formerly known as the Air Canada Cup, MLP Cup and Meco Cup, brings together Canada’s National Women’s Development Team and national teams from Finland, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland for a four-day international tournament.
Canada’s National Women’s Development Team’s roster, by province:
Canada is a nine-time gold medallist at the Nations Cup, winning gold in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Canada finished with the bronze medal at the 2012 Meco Cup.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Please contact Morgan Bell, Hockey Canada’s coordinator of media relations, for any interview requests regarding the 2015 Nations Cup; she can be reached at (403) 284-6427 or by email email@example.com.
For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Women’s Development Team, please visitwww.hockeycanada.ca, or follow along through social media at www.facebook.com/hockeycanada,www.twitter.com/hockeycanada and www.twitter.com/hc_women.
In every Canadian city, town and arena there’s a great hockey story. NHL legend Joe Sakic’s hometown of Burnaby boasts a minor hockey program that has produced big-time NHL talent. Jack McIlhargey, Cliff Ronning, Paul Kariya, Chris Joseph, and Glenn Anderson all played minor hockey out of the Burnaby Winter Club before going onto their NHL careers.
Ron MacLean came to Burnaby, BC, with the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour to celebrate the city’s iconic hockey story.
It was a great weekend outdoor hockey festival packed with interactive activities for all ages.
The list of players John Batchelor has coached reads like a who’s who of future NHL greats. There’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton’s 2011 No. 1 draft pick. There’s Mathew Barzal, widely expected to go in the top 10 of next spring’s entry draft. Then there’s 16-year-old Dante Fabbro, a blue-chip prospect lacing up for his first season in the WHL. The big, physical defenceman is an even stronger prospect than Nugent-Hopkins and Barzal, according to Batchelor, head coach of the AAA bantam squad at the Burnaby Winter Club, an emerging hockey factory with 70 alumni playing at the Junior A to NHL levels.
It’s flukey when any single province churns out a cluster of players this good, but looks especially so in the case of British Columbia, once hockey’s hinterland. So how did one coach, and a single club, produce such a staggering wealth of talent? The recipe can be distilled to four simple points. For starters: small group size. The club caps its younger teams at 12 players, where a typical minor hockey roster pushes 20. Then there’s intense study: By peewee, players are on the ice five times a week to go along with a weekly dryland session.
Next on the list, perhaps counterintuitively, are the club’s two small training rinks. The small-ice model, which Winter Club and NHL alum Cliff Ronning says produces quicker, more agile players, is currently in vogue at Hockey Canada and with most NHL teams, but it’s been the norm at the Club for decades.
Finally, the Winter Club relies on its stable of high-level coaches. People who understand that while the exceptionally gifted, athletic kids they’re training “may look 15, they’re still nine-year-old boys, emotionally,” says incoming hockey director Maco Balkovec, recruited from Wisconsin where he was one of the state’s top youth hockey coaches.
It’s no accident Batchelor is coaching bantam, a key transition division, where players move from minor to junior hockey. It’s also the age at which Batchelor, a former army brat and youth hockey star, fell in with the wrong crowd after moving to Vancouver with his family. British Columbia was hockey-starved at the time, and he feels a team, and a mentor like a coach, might have kept him from “going off the rails.” Batchelor believes he can have a “huge impact” on his players’ lives, both on and off the ice.
The most important lesson he tries to impart is to treat every game, and every shift, like it’s your last. “You never know what’s around the corner—when it’ll all be over.” It’s a lesson Batchelor, part-owner of a Lower Mainland waste-disposal business, knows all too well as his wife is battling the most severe, debilitating form of multiple sclerosis.
Like his players, Batchelor is on the ice year-round, and he pours every penny he earns running a summer hockey school back into his bantam squad. His business brings in enough money, he says. “And the game has given me so much, especially during the tough times,” he adds, reflecting on his wife’s illness. “For a little while, it lets me forget all that.”
DALLAS — Golden is word that not only describes where Curtis McKenzie is from but also his young professional hockey career.
A lot has happened in the last year for the 23-year-old native of the scenic East Kootenay community. Nearly all of it has been good.
McKenzie, fresh out of Miami University in Ohio, was the AHL’s rookie of the year last season while playing for the Willie Desjardins-coached Texas Stars. This past Saturday night, he played his first NHL game for the Dallas Stars. Tuesday night, he played his second one against the Vancouver Canucks, the team he grew up rooting for as a kid in Golden.
There aren’t as many Canucks fans in Golden any more. The whole town is behind McKenzie, just the second Golden native to play in the NHL.
“It is so special,” McKenzie said Tuesday of the support from his hometown. “Throughout my whole hockey career they have always been behind me, always curious about how I am doing. My parents say people are always coming up to them and asking about me. It’s nice knowing they are all there supporting me. It’s a great community to be a part of. I love getting back there every summer and hanging out.”
McKenzie was back there this past summer and this time he brought a friend. McKenzie took the Calder Cup back to Golden and hoisted it atop Kicking Horse Mountain, à la fellow East Kootenay native Scott Niedermayer, who a few years ago took the Stanley Cup to the top of Fisher Peak in the southern Rocky Mountains near his Cranbrook home.
“That’s where I got the idea,” McKenzie said. “Scott Niedermayer with the Stanley Cup on the mountain in Cranbrook. That has always been the vision in my head I wanted to do. It’s not quite the Stanley Cup yet. But the Calder Cup is a close second.”
During his tour of Golden with the Calder Cup, McKenzie was joined by Doug Barrault, the only other Golden product to play in the NHL. Barrault, now 44, played four games in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars and Florida Panthers.
“It was pretty cool this summer,” McKenzie said. “I had the Calder Cup out to Golden and he came out and had his ring from when he won (a championship) with the Chicago Wolves. it was pretty awesome.”
McKenzie, who played two seasons with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees before heading south to college, was a sixth-round draft pick (159th overall) of the Stars in 2009. Desjardins, now the Canucks coach, didn’t know what he was getting when McKenzie joined his Texas team.
“One time, I didn’t know if he was going to make it in the American League, if he was a fourth-line guy,” Desjardins said before Tuesday’s game. “He just worked so hard to get here.”
McKenzie, a winger, had 27 goals and 65 points with the Texas Stars last season. He credits Desjardins and his staff, which included current Canuck assistant Doug Lidster, with helping him develop quickly as a pro.
“They helped me get to this point immensely last year,” he said. “How much they developed me and believed in me and the confidence they gave myself. I grew so much mentally and as a player under those two. I was very lucky to walk into a team with them and have them believe in me so much.”
Saturday’s NHL debut, attended by his parents and grandparents as well as a couple of his buddies, was a night he will never forget. He fell for one of the oldest tricks in the books during the pre-game warm-up.
“The guys got me to lead the charge out,” McKenzie said. “So I was all fired up and I was flying out there and as I went out there they all stopped at the gate and I did two long laps by myself.
“I bit pretty hard on it. That was a pretty cool moment and it helped make me feel a lot more comfortable with the team here and made me a lot looser. It was a bit embarrassing, but it was pretty funny, too.”
TORONTO -- Chris Joseph suited up for 19 seasons of professional hockey -- including 14 years in the NHL -- but even after a lengthy career at the sport's top level, he still remembers the sting of disappointment he felt after being cut from a team as a kid.
"I was always the type of player that if I did get negative feedback from a coach -- and I did a lot -- I took it personally a lot of times," recalled the former defenceman, who grew up in Burnaby, B.C.
"But never once did I ever think: 'That coach is out to lunch,' or 'That coach is completely wrong.' I thought: 'Well, I have to be better. ...' And maybe to a fault -- maybe I was even too hard on myself. But I think that attitude helped me look within and try to be better all the time."
"There's a lot of criticism when teams are selected as to how the process is done. Everybody questions it. And a lot of them think that their kid should be on the higher team," he said. "I've found that over the years that occasionally one or two kids will fall through the cracks or they'll get higher than they should be. But for the most part, most kids usually end up about where they should be. And yet, if you talk to Mom and Dad lots of times, their kid's gotten the raw end of the deal."
Joseph said while almost every parent will be disappointed when their child is cut, they have to be realistic about the youngster's abilities.
"Is it his skating is not up to speed? Is it he doesn't play the position as well as somebody else?" he asked. "A lot of parents will look at their son or daughter's strengths and they'll look past some of their weaknesses as a player."
Joseph echoes a chorus of experts who say parents should focus on encouraging kids after they are cut rather than levelling critiques against coaches.
"A typical example we see from parents is that when their kids are cut, they get really upset themselves which doesn't help their children," said Natalie Durand-Bush, associate professor of sport psychology at the University of Ottawa.
"They'll blame the coaches, they'll blame the politics of the sport -- some of this could be true. But instead of helping the child -- just identify(ing) their strengths and weaknesses and try(ing) to bring it down to something they can control, to keep working hard to maybe try again next time and make the team the next year, they get really upset. They blame the association, they start writing nasty letters to the association to say: 'How could they cut their child? Their child is the best out there. ...'
"I think that really confuses the child more than anything," added Durand-Bush, who also works as a mental performance consultant with athletes as young as nine years old.
"There's so many things that you can't control in competitive sport. So if your child is cut, you can go and ask questions for sure. But I think in the end, if you can go back to your child and help them maintain their confidence and their motivation to keep going those two aspects, to me, are key.
The disappointment Joseph experienced not making the roster as a child he now sees through the eyes of sons Jaxon, 17, playing his last year of midget hockey and Brett, 12, who's in his second year of peewee.
"With my own children, I try to be very realistic," he said. "I've never once told them that a coach that has cut them has cut them because they don't like them.... I've always said: 'There's something about your game maybe that he doesn't like as much as the next kid, but it's your job to do something about that -- so what are you going to do?'
"For the most part, my kids have stayed at a relatively high level, but it's because I think they've both pushed hard to get better. And at the end of the day, I think they enjoy the game, so that's the biggest reason why they keep coming back."
"Ask them for some feedback on: 'What can I do to become a better player?' Or: 'What were my shortcomings for not making the team?' and 'What is your advice for what I can do to get better so that I can make the cut next time?"' said Grove, a married father of three who has coached girls' and boys' soccer for more than 15 years.
Enjoy the Journey
There are 3 times when we can help our child’s performance and create great memories:
Before the game
During the game
After the game
Before the first game of the season
Ask yourself the following questions:
Then ask you child the same questions.
If your child’s answers are the same as yours, then great! If they’re not, then drop yours and accept theirs. They are the ones playing hockey.
The reality is that 75% of kids are out of organized sports by age 13. Why? The majority cites parental expectations and behaviour as the number one cause.
So “release them to the game.” Let this activity be theirs. Let them control it. Let this be the risk that they take to learn their life lessons: how to succeed on your own, how to deal with mistakes, how to talk to their boss etc. Empower them to become the very people we all know and hope they can be.
How do you know if you’re not “releasing” them?
You continue to share the credit when things go well. “We won.” No, they won.
You find yourself trying to solve all the problems that come up during the season. Let children learn how to deal with this on their own.
You catch yourself yelling at an official during the game.
You try to continue to coach them when they know more about the sport than you do.
They try to avoid you after the game, or they’re embarrassed by your involvement.
During the game
Be there. Or miss some, let them bring back to you what they thought was important.
Model appropriate behaviour. If 90% of parents think spectator behaviour is a problem, but 99% say it’s not me, then who is it?
One instructional voice. This is the voice of the coach. Kids find it very confusing when they hear multiple voices. Encouraging is OK.
Focus on the team. Watch both teams play; don’t just focus on your child.
Choose one role. There are 4 roles, player, coach, referee, and spectator. Everyone gets to be one of these. One.
After the game
When kids are asked about their worst memories from athletics, the most consistent answer is the car ride home.
Here’s how to make that car ride home a positive:
Save your analysis. Don’t analyze their play, the referees, their teammates, the coaching, etc.
Give your athlete time and space. Kids need time and space to recover. Some may need an hour, others need a week.
Be a confidence builder. What can you say to do that? 5 simple words after every game: “I love watching you play.”
Tryouts start this week. Wear this with pride.
Len McNeely - General Manager
Dan Melanson - MHA President
Maco Balkovec - Hockey Director
Divisional Manager - Tim Sandhu
Ryan Bremner - Head Coach C1
Kurt Dalphond - Head Coach C2
Burt Henderson - Head Coach C1
Brad Reynolds - Head Coach C2
David Boyce - Head Coach C2
Doug Macdonald - Head Coach C1
Bobby Ginnetti - Head Coach C3
Divisional Manager: Jennifer Iorio
Jon Calvano - Head Coach A1
Kurt Astle - Head Coach A2
Stefano Ruscitti - Head Coach A3
Glenn Jeffrey - Head Coach A4
Neal Reynolds - Head Coach A5
Divisional Manager: Sheldon Evers
Bill Hunt - Head Coach A1
John Macdonald - Head Coach A2
Maco Balkovec - Head Coach A3
Bryan Kim - Head Coach A4
Divisional Manager: Glenn Jeffrey
John Batchelor - Head Coach A1
Kevin Batchelor - Head Coach A2
Angelo Scigliano - Head Coach A3
Divisional Manager: Remi Rizzo
Guido Lamberti-Charles - Head Coach A1