CALGARY – As the inaugural Hockey Alberta Coaches Conference wrapped up on Sunday in Calgary, coaches departed with one resonating theme: process over outcome.
More than 80 coaches of all levels from across the province took part in the two-day conference, hearing from 17 of the top minds in the game.
The weekend opened with a keynote address from Dr. Stephen Norris, who challenged coaches to take a hard look at what the future looks like, and to focus that future on the children. Norris also talked about the importance of giving the game back to the players, as it is their game.
Following Dr. Norris on Saturday was Corey McNabb, Director Hockey Development, Hockey Canada (linking practice to games); Jeff Truitt, Associate Coach, Red Deer Rebels (special teams); Dr. Matt Brown, Mental Training Consultant (mental preparation and awareness); Barry Medori, High Performance Coach Mentor, Hockey Alberta (creating a team culture); David Marcoux, Goaltending Coach. Carolina Hurricanes (goalie strategies and goal scoring); and Guy Gadowsky, Head Coach Men’s Hockey, Penn State University (teaching habits over systems).
Saturday’s program wrapped up with a hot stove panel, hosted by Sportsnet 960 The Fan’s Rob Kerr, featuring Hockey Alberta’s Senior Manager, Hockey Development Justin Fesyk, Finnish Ice Hockey Association Regional Coach Kalle Valiaho, NHL officiale Kyle Rehman, and former NHL player and two-time Stanley Cup champion Brad Lukowich.
On Sunday, Tyler Dellow, an Analytics Consultant with the Edmonton Oilers, opened with a presentation on analytics, breaking down what they really mean and how they can be employed by minor hockey coaches.
Sunday’s program also included Steve Hamilton, Head Coach, Edmonton Oil Kings (coaching the ‘right way’); Fran Gow, Provincial Coach Mentor, Hockey Alberta, and Vice President, Hockey Operations of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (game and bench management); Bert Gilling, Head Coach Men’s Hockey, Mount Royal University (the transition game), Shaun Clouston, Head Coach, Medicine Hat Tigers (creating a blueprint for success), and Mel Davidson, General Manager, Hockey Canada National Women’s Team Programs (preparing for short-term competition).
To close out the weekend, Valiaho spoke about international excellence, outlining the similarities and differences in the development of coaches and players in Finland, compared to the process in Alberta.