What’s better than coaching hockey? Coaching AND being the convener!
I’ve always loved coaching hockey. I’ve never actually ever played a single game of ice hockey in my life, but I have coached ice hockey before. This year represents my 7th year coaching hockey. My previous 6-years were in my early 20’s when my sports rehab coach, Michael Grafstein (he was the BEST!), asked me to open and close the doors in the bench for him as he was the head coach of a team in North Toronto Hockey Association.
He failed to tell me that the games were at 6am.
So I asked a friend of mine to join me, and together we would go out Saturday nights, come home at 3am or 4am, then get up at 5am and head to the rink. It was way more fun than it seemed.
After doing that for 3-years, my “Uncle” asked me to help coach his oldest son all the way up in Richmond Hill, Ontario, for the Richmond Hill Hockey Association, and again I would drive up there and open and close the doors for that team. I went on the ice as little as possible, but I was there, and I learned.
I decided I wanted to be a real coach, so I started the process of getting certified by Hockey Canada, and I took courses towards my National Canadian Coaching Certification, but stopped when I had to pick a sport to specialize in. I didn’t want to specialize in baseball, for example, only to find my future children would never play that sport.
All this time, I was playing and coaching my ball hockey team. From the age of 19 up to 45-years-old, I played in a the North West Toronto Ball Hockey League and the York Central / North Central Ball Hockey League, until I tore my calf muscle in a game.
I was awarded the Coach / Manager of the year award 6 or 7 times, and we won the championships somewhere around 7-10 times, and it’s funny how many hockey players tried out ball hockey but couldn’t play because there is no coasting in ball hockey like you can do in ice hockey.
With all that being said, when asked if I wanted to coach my 11-year-old son this season in his house league in the Forest Hill Hockey Association, I jumped at the opportunity. We had moved from that horrible experience last season back to the league where he played his first 2 seasons and in this league, when you make the select team, you have to play house league too.
With coaches in place, the league was then looking for a convener or two to run their division this season and I must not have said no quick enough because that’s now part of my role. I’m actually really happy about it, and really excited to see how the season is going to play out. The other convener that I’m working with is absolutely fantastic. He’s been around the game much longer than I have and his personality and thoughts about how teams should run themselves are a perfect match with mine.
So this season, while my oldest continues to swim competitively, and my youngest dances and trains in synchronized swimming, I get to spend time with my middle son at his select hockey practices, and his house league hockey games, and taking him to basketball games because why play only one or 2 sports when you can play them all and make your parents drive you around every evening and weekend.
I wish I had these opportunities as a kid…
I’m happy to do this for the fitness component, and so that my kids have an opportunity to work in a team, to have responsibilities to their team and their coaches, and because it’s proven that exercise helps kids focus and sleep better.
It’s a win-win-win-win-win… Scenario.
I prefer being called “Coach”. I’m not sure what people call conveners other than really nasty words. lol.
Thank goodness I have a brand new Canada Goose jacket to keep me warm!