As a wrap-up to the 2020-21 season, Hockey Alberta is featuring four outstanding coaches as recipients of the Coach of the Month recognition - sponsored by Players Bench Team Apparel. These coaches were nominated by parents, players, and fellow coaches due to their exceptional leadership, initiative, and innovation during the difficult season.
Today Hockey Alberta is pleased to recognize Derek McEwan of St. Albert.
ST. ALBERT - Derek McEwan (known as Coach Tug) spent the 2020-21 season as the head coach of the U13 Tier 1 SA503 Chargers. He has been coaching with St. Albert Minor Hockey for the last four seasons, with this being his first as a head coach.
Derek has been involved with hockey since he was five years old, both as a player and a coach. His love for the game is one of the main reasons why he stepped up when a friend asked him to coach. Through his passion for hockey, he has really enjoyed watching the young players on his teams develop as players, athletes, and human beings. Derek has been instrumental in helping build the identity and confidence of the players he works with and ensures that everyone on the team feels valued. During the pause of the season, he kept the team engaged by organizing Zoom calls, online workouts, digital hockey watch parties, and bringing in guest speakers.
"Coach Tug takes a vested interest in helping each athlete on the team be not only the best hockey players they can be, but to be the best people they can be as well," said the parent who submitted the nomination. "He does all of this through positive encouragement, personal relationships, and high expectations."
Coming from a family with four younger brothers, Derek has always found himself in a leadership role while supporting them in their lives and athletic pursuits. That experience as a mentor has helped him connect with the players in a positive way, since he does not have a child of his own on the team. Away from the arena, Derek describes himself as a big sports fan overall. He loves to spend time at the golf course during the summertime and also opens up some ice sessions for former players to help keep them sharp.
"I can take a great number of aspects from playing hockey and relate that to life experiences and for me that’s my number one goal," said Derek. "I want my players each season to look back and remember it a one of their favorite seasons in minor hockey and how it impacted their young lives."