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The Coaches Site

The Coaches Site is a community of like-minded coaches that are focused on sharing innovative tools and resources to build better programs, practice plans, and team dynamics.

Hockey Alberta has partnered with The Coaches Site to connect Members with the abundance of coach resources the organization has to offer and provide Hockey Alberta Members access to The Coaches Site for a reduced fee. Each month Hockey Alberta will feature (below) new resources from top coaches in the game.

The Coaches Site is a platform where the best hockey leaders in the world share their expertise and experience with a global hockey network.

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Being Comfortable with Chaos in Practice, with Bob Mancini

"Do your players know what to do when hockey breaks out?"

During a 3-on-2 drill in practice, what are the odds you or another coach from your team would randomly knock the stick out of a player’s hands?

What about during a 5-on-5 scrimmage, would you hand out a bad penalty to an undeserving player, just because?

Well, chaos is the name of the game, according to Bob Mancini, Assistant Executive Director of Hockey Development with USA Hockey. Although practice seems like the time to run drills that build up your teams’ confidence and make everyone feel good about themselves, Mancini urges for the opposite.

During his 23-minute presentation from TCS Live last June in Ann Arbor, Mancini depicted why it’s crucial to cause chaos during practice. Knock sticks out of hands, assign random penalties, make lopsided teams and run drills that are messy because in a game, all those situations occur. If players train for those situations, they’ll know what to do when they arise in a game, much to the benefit of your team.

Practice makes perfect? No thanks. 

“Practice should be all about failure, or they’re not going to learn. It’s failure from practice that will make your team better.”

Mancini, who was promoted to his current role in September 2021, oversees USA Hockey’s American Development Model, coaching education, officiating education and player safety. With more than 35 years of experience, Mancini’s resume includes being the Director of Player Development for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, Director of Player Personnel for the U.S. National Junior Team and Assistant Coach at the IIHF Men’s World Championships, IIHF World Junior Championships and IIHF Men’s World Under-18 Championships.

Mancini’s vast experience speaks for itself and his presentation hopefully leaves you questioning everything you thought you knew about how to structure your practices. Everything you do should be transferable to a game – “No more random activities” – and chaos should reign. It does in a game, so there’s no better way to prepare your team for it than causing it every practice.

Become a member of The Coaches Site to watch Mancini’s entire presentation, along with 500+ hours of video from hockey’s top coaches, leaders and performance experts.

Brandon Naurato is a University of Michigan legend.

The 37-year-old Michigan product played four seasons for the Wolverines and was the Assistant Coach of their men’s hockey team when he presented on ice at TCS Live 2022. A few months later he was named Interim Head Coach, a position he currently holds.

Naurato’s hockey background is vast and includes three years as a Player Development Consultant with the Detroit Red Wings, before returning to his alma mater. Prior to that Naurato specialized in on-ice skill-based player development; his clients included NHLers Zach Werenski, Jack and Quinn Hughes, Dylan Larkin, Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp, and Josh Norris.

All this to say Naurato is a big name in hockey. If you’re unfamiliar with why, watching his TCS Live presentation will change that.

In it, Naurato, who played four years in the pros making stops at Stockton (ECHL), Toledo (ECHL), Port Huron (IHL), Fort Wayne (CHL), and Dayton (CHL), introduces the decision zone, an offensive area of the ice to the left and right of the face-off circles.

“The biggest thing about why I believe the decision zone is important is because of the following plays: you’ve got options to the high ice, options to bumper support and rim release options low. That’s tough for a defence trying to keep you in a quadrant.”

Naurato’s 46-minute on-ice presentation begins and ends with numerous examples from NHL play, in-between he introduces a Problem-Solution-Action plan, discusses the three moments in a game (you have it, they have it, 50/50 race), pressure vs. containment, when to attack vs. possess, and why it’s important to stay out of the cemetery.

Become a member of The Coaches Site to watch the entire presentation, along with 500+ hours of video from hockey’s top coaches, leaders and performance experts.

Building Resiliency in your Players & Program, with Cara Morey

Cara Morey is in her sixth year leading the Princeton women’s hockey program. Since the Ontario product was announced as head coach in June of 2017, the program has won its first ECAC tournament title, won an Ivy League championship, qualified for two NCAA quarterfinals, set the program wins record, and established itself as a weekly inclusion in the national top-10 rankings.

In the words of Rubeus Hagrid – Morey, yer a wizard! 

Harry Potter humour aside, the turnaround the Tigers have made under Morey has been nothing short of magical. In 19 seasons before her arrival, Princeton advanced past the quarterfinals in their conference tournament just three times. The Tigers already have moved past the quarterfinals in three of four seasons with Morey, including a memorable ECAC tournament title in overtime over number one ranked Cornell in 2019-20.

How is such a turnaround possible? At TCS Live in Ann Arbor this past June, Morey shared some insights in her presentation titled Developing Resiliency and Grit in the Modern Player.

“When I was first hired to coach at Princeton 11 years ago, the head coach said to me: “Cara, I remember you as a player. You were always the toughest kid on the ice and your teams were so hard to play against. I need you to bring that mentality here. We’re soft. I need you to make the Tigers tougher.”

Mission accepted.

Morey, who was an assistant at Princeton from 2012 to 2017, says one word early and often in her 23-minute presentation: grit. What is grit? Why does it matter? How can you develop it in your athletes? Watch Morey’s talk to learn about grit, how she created a championship culture and the secrets for developing an environment that inspires excellence.

More on Morey, from her Princeton Tigers bio: 

In addition to her coaching at Princeton, Morey has coached with Team Canada at the 2016-17 U-18 World Championships, helping the Canadians to a silver medal. Her international experience includes a gold medal as a player with Team Canada at the 2000 Nations Cup, two years experience as a player in the national program and gold as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Women’s Development Team at the 2015 Nations Cup in Germany. Morey was also a coach at the National Development Team Camps in 2012, 2014, 2019, at the 2014 National Women’s Team Fall Festival and at the 2016 National Women’s Under 18 three-game series with the U.S.

A 2001 graduate of Brown University, Morey (nee Gardner) was a two-sport athlete playing, both hockey and field hockey. An All-ECAC and All-Ivy League defender, she helped the Bears to three AWCHA National Championship tournament appearances, including two runner-up finishes.

Become a member of The Coaches Site to watch Morey’s entire presentation, along with 500+ hours of video from hockey’s top coaches, leaders and performance experts.

“The drills you’ll see here today are a few we’ll do in a battle day with our team and our guys like it a lot.”

When Nathaniel Brooks presented at TCS Live in Ann Arbor this past June, he was an associate coach with the Ryerson University Rams. In July, Brooks was hired as Skill Development Coach with the Arizona Coyotes.

We can’t confirm his involvement with TCS Live showcased his vast coaching knowledge to the world and led to his NHL promotion, but we can definitely speculate that’s the case! Just kidding. The timing is purely coincidental.

Back in September 2021, Brooks participated in the first year of the Coyotes’ coaching internship program that provides young diverse hockey coaches with opportunities to learn and develop by working directly with the Coyotes coaching staff during Development Camp. 

He turned heads at Coyotes camp, as he did at TCS Live.

Brooks, who was previously an assistant coach for Ryerson from 2014-2019 and was also a development coach for the Rams in 2019, has been a skill development coach for 15 years. His drills are tight, progressive and do just as intended: improve the quality and skill of players doing them.

During TCS Live, Brooks took to the ice for a 20-minute presentation all about creating space to optimise puck possession in the offensive zone. 

“At Ryerson with our team, we talked a lot about winning second man races,” Brooks explains. “If we’re going to do that to be able to make plays, it’s vital that the first puck touch we come out with possession and the opportunity to make a play.”

It’s all about creating opportunities, and learning how to do it in a way players enjoy. 

“The drills you’ll see here today are a few we’ll do in a battle day with our team and our guys like it a lot.”

More on Brooks:

He started his junior hockey playing career with the Markham Waxers in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) where he played two seasons. After being drafted by the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Chicago Steel in 2004 as their 101st overall selection, Brooks played a season with the Steel before returning to Canada to play with the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Oshawa Generals in 2005-06. The following season, he split time between the Generals, Aurora Tigers and Vaughan Vipers.

Following his junior career, Brooks joined the York University Lions where he majored in English. He played three seasons from 2007-10, playing in all 28 games each season and totalling 80 points. An assistant captain for the Lions, he made the OUA West all-rookie team in his first season.

Become a member of The Coaches Site to watch the entire presentation, along with 500+ hours of video from hockey’s top coaches, leaders and performance experts.

"Every leadership organization has to have a value driven mission statement in order to accomplish anything."

In the season two opener of the Directors Club with Mike Bonelli, coaching legend Wally Kozak presents his Mission Statement Workshop, as he takes you through an exercise to provide a sense of direction and purpose for your hockey program.

Effective and successful teams have a common understanding of what they want to gain from every season. It’s about getting everyone involved, the coaches, parents, and players, on the same page. As Wally explains, having a mission statement is a critical way to build a foundation for success.

“Every leadership organization has to have a value driven mission statement in order to accomplish anything.”

With over 1,800 games behind an NHL bench under his belt, Barry Trotz has likely forgotten more about hockey and leadership than most people will learn in a lifetime. His longevity and success can be credited to staying in touch with his players. Even when that requires him, as a leader, to consistently adjust and re-examine his approach. 

Great coaches are lifelong learners. They are humble and have a beginner’s mind. A beginner’s mind is a concept from Zen Buddhism called Shoshin: "Having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would." 
Anyone who has been around Barry and observed his career closely would agree that definition aligns well with his coaching philosophy. Being a great coach is a constant work in progress. Great leaders welcome the challenge of continuous self-improvement. 
In this excerpt from Barry’s presentation on Leading the Modern Player at our 2014 Hockey Coaches Conference (the summer before he took over in Washington), he shares an overview of what he believes is required to lead today’s athlete. As he puts it: 

“The more the game and attitudes evolve, the more coaches have to stay in tune to the changing times.” 
This presentation provides direction for coaches, and leaders in all walks of life, on how to bring people (commonly referred to as millennials) together in the spirit of achieving a common goal.  
Barry’s full presentation is available at The Coaches Site, along with hundreds of other presentations from hockey’s top coaches and leaders.  

Travis Green is an insightful bench boss who has a wealth of knowledge from his time as an NHL ead coach, as well as 970 games of experience during his 14-year pro playing career. The native of Castlegar, BC, has eight years of pro coaching on his resume, as well as a WHL Championship.

Coach Green has worked hard to prove himself as a coach at every opportunity. In the AHL he proved he can work with young players and get them ready for the next level. Green’s confidence and influence on the grassroots level of the Vancouver Canucks organization were qualities the franchise didn’t want to lose and he was promoted to Canucks head coach in 2017.

With the success Green had developing a core of young talent in Vancouver, it won’t be long until he’s back behind the bench. The Coaches Site has talked with Green a lot over the years, including in 2015 when he discussed developing young players, then again in 2020, when he spoke to coaches on the difficulties of coaching through a pandemic. Every time we have the opportunity to speak to Green, he has shown that he builds his philosophy around the players.

"I really promised myself when I got into coaching that I wouldn’t forget what it’s like to be a player."

Coach Green also sat down with us at our Hockey Coaches Conference in 2016 to talk about how he approaches coaching and his Evolution as a Hockey Coach. In this excerpt, Green talks about being accountable and building trust with players. 

Green’s full presentation is available at The Coaches Site, along with hundreds of other presentations from hockey’s top coaches and leaders. 

To unlock the full library of content, start your free 10 day trial to experience the benefit of learning from the best and brightest minds in the sport.

Todd Woodcroft is currently the Head Coach for the University of Vermont Men’s Hockey team. A frequent guest of The Coaches Site, Woodcroft has over 20 years experience in the NHL and internationally. Todd began his career with the Minnesota Wild in 2000 and has worked for the Washington Capitals, LA Kings, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. He also spent a year in the KHL as the Assistant General Manager/Director of Player Personnel for Dynamo Minsk.


Watching the rise of the Jets over the past few seasons has been a treat for hockey fans and coaches in Manitoba’s capital. Woodcroft, a former Jets assistant coach, is one of the people responsible for flying the team in the right direction. For him, it all comes down to playing the game with pace and execution.

“It’s a game that has to be played fast,” he says. “You have to move the puck fast, make decisions fast, and play fast as a team.”

How do the Jets incorporate that philosophy? After all, everyone wants to play fast.

For Woodcroft, it starts by moving the puck north immediately. Winnipeg’s defencemen are encouraged to give the puck to the forwards as quickly as possible. After that, it’s up to their forwards to enter the zone with speed.

“From a coach’s perspective, hockey can’t be about scoring. It’s about creating offensive zone time and sustaining it.”

Woodcorft got on the ice with us at our Hockey Coaches Conference in 2018 to teach our audience how to create offence from zone entries. In this excerpt, Woodcroft explains how to use the middle lane to open up options at the offensive blueline.

Woodcroft’s full presentation is available at The Coaches Site, along with hundreds of other presentations from hockey’s top coaches and leaders. 

To unlock the full library of content, start your free 10 day trial to experience the benefit of learning from the best and brightest minds in the sport.

About The Coaches Site 

Founded in 2011, The Coaches Site is the #1 online resource for hockey coaches, serving a global audience. Members of The Coaches Site comprise a like-minded community of coaches committed to being great teachers, mentors and leaders. The Coaches Site provides them with the insights, inspiration, and fuel to offer their athletes with an enhanced development opportunity, on and off the ice. For more information, visit

One thing we know about the coaching fraternity is that unless you’re fortunate to be an ex-pro who transitions right into a well paying coaching gig, your career trajectory is likely going to involve little pay, relocating every few years, lack of job security, and stiff competition for employment.

At our 2016 Hockey Coaches Conference in Toronto, Dallas Eakins joined our MC Ryan Pinder onstage to share his Coaching Journey in an intimate and candid interview. While Eakins does come from a playing background, his rise to becoming the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers was not an easy one. His departure from the Oilers was likely even more challenging, although he points out in his interview that it was also a blessing in some ways.

“This isn’t for everyone, nor should it be. This is my process, this is what I believe.”

Since his departure from Edmonton, Eakins worked hard to earn a spot back in the NHL head coaching ranks. He coached Anaheim’s AHL affiliate, the San Diego Gulls, while waiting for his opportunity to elevate to the big club. During that time we also had the opportunity for Eakins to share what he believes comes first character or leadership, where the bench boss explains his process on building the foundations of a team in his dressing room.

“Players are never going to care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Find out what has worked for Eakins, who has over a decade of head coaching experience in the NHL. 

Eakin’s full presentation is available at The Coaches Site, along with hundreds of other presentations from hockey’s top coaches and leaders. 

To unlock the full library of content, start your free 10 day trial to experience the benefit of learning from the best and brightest minds in the sport.

Over the past 10 years, few coaches have climbed the coaching ladder as efficiently as Reid Cashman. His noted work ethic and overall attention to detail, along with experience gained under several established coaches, have led him to his current situation: head coach with Dartmouth Big Green.

Cashman’s fast-tracked coaching journey began at the young age of 29 with his alma mater Quinnipiac University, where he spent five years as an assistant under the mentorship of his former coach Rand Pecknold. He then made the jump to the AHL with the Hershey Bears and, after just two seasons, joined the Washington Capitals as an assistant under Todd Reirden.

During his time with the Capitals, Cashman was in charge of handling defencemen and played a key role in the development of players like 2020 Norris Trophy candidate John Carlson.

“Create time and space for yourself and for your teammates by using deception with your eyes, feet, stick, inside shoulder, and the net.”

Cashman shared his thoughts on defence development at the 2019 TeamSnap Hockey Coaches Conference, where he presented on building deception into your defence’s game. To him, simplicity and a focus on building fundamental habits can empower players to make world class plays on a consistent basis. It struck a chord with the audience and was voted the top presentation at the event by coaches in attendance. It was clear then that Cashman had an effective process for developing individual players and that it would only be a matter of time before he got the opportunity to apply that process in leading his own team.

“Deception is a byproduct of really good habits and a really strong foundation of getting your eyes up and getting that puck on your hip.”

Learn from Cashman, one of hockey’s fastest rising coaches, in this great presentation, which is available at The Coaches Site, along with hundreds of other presentations from hockey’s top coaches and leaders. 

To unlock the full library of content, start your free 10 day trial to experience the benefit of learning from the best and brightest minds in the sport.

Frantz Jean has been with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization since 2010 when he started as a goaltending consultant. For the past 12 seasons Jean has been helping all teams in the Tampa Bay system develop their goaltenders and bring success to now household names, such as Andrei Vasilevskiy and Ben Bishop. Jean’s work with the team has gotten his name on the Stanley Cup twice and he is now recognized as one of the best goaltending coaches in the game. 

Goaltenders have some of the most interesting stories of all. And yeah, it might be because they’re a little off. But more likely it’s because they see the game from a perspective that’s just not normal for regular coaches. In fact, they see so much more of the game because every decision made on the ice by a forward or a defenseman could have an impact on the goalie. So really, if there’s a coach who knows more about the game than anyone, it’s the coach who sees it from the most stressful possible angles.

“How can we objectively have arguments that this goaltender is doing good or this goaltender is not doing good?”

That’s the man Frantz Jean himself in a talk he presented at our 2014 conference when he presented on How to Evaluate Goaltenders. While goaltending is a unique position in our game, it still depends heavily on the team to produce results. That said, forwards and defensemen rely on advanced statistics to measure their contribution, so shouldn’t goalies too? Save percentage and goals against average are important, but how do you know if you have a game changer on your hands?

“When you just look at the straight save percentage, it could lead to misevaluation.”

Learn from Jean, one of the best goaltending coaches in the game, along with hundreds of other presentations from hockey’s top coaches and leaders on The Coaches Site

To unlock the full library of content, start your free 10 day trial to experience the benefit of learning from the best and brightest minds in the sport.

Dr. Jody Carrington, Alberta’s own renowned psychologist, hockey Mom and coach joined The Coaches Site podcast, Glass and Out, to discuss how to connect with today’s players. Dr. Carrington’s work focuses on reconnection as the key to healthy relationships and productive teams and the importance of acknowledging each other as a starting point. 

Listen on hudl >

Listen on Apple Podcasts >

Listen on Spotify >

The Importance of Attacking off the Rush, with Paul McFarland

Today, Paul McFarland is an assistant coach with the Seattle Kraken. This fall, he’ll enter his second season with the team and fifth NHL season overall; McFarland previously spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers and one with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

What many don’t know about McFarland, a 36-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ontario, is that not only did he he play four seasons at Acadia University (captaining three of them), but when his university career ended, the school created – from scratch – the Paul McFarland Captain in the Community Award, to recognize students for the successful combination of academics, athletics and involvement with the community.

If that doesn’t speak to the character and leadership of McFarland, nothing will. 

When McFarland, who also played four seasons in the OHL split between Windsor and Kitchener (where he captured the 2003 Memorial Cup) speaks, he owns the room and commands respect. Anyone in attendance at TCS Live in Ann Arbor this past June can attest to that.

McFarland’s 25-minute presentation on The Importance of Entries and Attacking Off The Rush is a tactical masterpiece that explores why it’s important to attack off the rush, where these plays begin, and key fundamentals, execution and principles that the Kraken work through to get better.

McFarland also provides a life lesson very early in the presentation on why always watching the puck is very important.

“If you take nothing else away from my presentation, I have this first clip that I hope all of us as coaches can learn from,” McFarland laughs. “This is a clip from us playing in December, we’re playing the Edmonton Oilers. I’m on the bench, looking at an iPad. Now, technology does great things as coaches, all this different technology we have allows us to watch the game and see things back, but this is an example where I should have been watching the game. There’s the flip-backhand, there’s myself and I took a puck straight to the head. Not my best day!”

Become a member of The Coaches Site to watch McFarland’s entire presentation, along with 500+ hours of video from hockey’s top coaches, leaders and performance experts.