About me, hockey, and writing

Email me: richard(at)richardbercuson dot ca (no spaces)

This is called a very secure, really foolproof email connection.

My careers as a writer, hockey coach and teacher have co-existed for over 40 years. (No matter how old I get, I will to continue to use the number 40. Anything more sounds ancient.) The best of all worlds. I’m still not sure what I want to do when I grow up.

My writings have bounced back and forth from non-fiction to fiction, with large dollops in between of editing and doing the other marvellous tasks we did at small newspapers and magazines. In fact, I still do some of them. From my hometown of Montreal to Ottawa, France and now in Brooklin, Ontario, I’ve been immersed in and written about a myriad of topics related to coaching and hockey. There have been newspaper and magazine columns, feature stories, media spots, and provocative essays, or so I thought. (See Writings & Media.)

When fiction first bit into me, I wound up having a few successes with short stories and plays. (Good editors helped, too). Some ideas continue to be reworked and will find new homes shortly. I garnered a national award, Canada’s Arthur Ellis for best mystery short story, and won a couple of regional humour awards. I performed literary alchemy on other stories by transposing a few to the stage. Except for one play’s opening night when a lead actor blanked out on the first five pages of the script, they’ve gone fairly well.

Hockey. I’ve coached various levels of junior as well as college, pro in Europe, and with Canada’s Program of Excellence, not to mention dozens of minor and high school teams. For over 40 (there it is again) years, I’ve taught Canada’s national coaching certification program and have given presentations to coaches, officials, hockey boards and parents. I’ve authored or co-authored various manuals, including Hockey Canada’s Initiation Program and the Play Right offensive play program. I’ve also served as the mentor coach for a number of organizations in addition to directing Hockey Eastern Ontario’s (HEO) coaching program for 30 years. I was Technical Director for Oshawa Minor Hockey, assisting coaches in bettering themselves and their kids by creating and supervising an extensive and unique development program. There, I ran a successful weekend-long coaching conference, exposing Oshawa coaches to the ideas and approaches used by like-minded coaching instructors.

If you spend enough time in the game, you’re likely to have successful teams and be thanked with awards. I’ve had a few of those.

(Hockey resumé: https://grassrootsminorhockey.com/about-richard-bercuson/)

For five years, I co-hosted a radio show on TSN 1200 – “Grassroots: the minor hockey show” with Gregg Kennedy. We were knocked off the air in August, 2018, by Bell Media budget cutbacks. You can listen to the old podcasts here: http://autopod.ca/chum/206/podcasts/

Its successor is now a podcast by the same name: Grassroots: the minor hockey show which I co-host with Dean Holden, a good friend in Calgary who’s coached pro and amateur hockey and provides the show a healthy dose of intellectual credibility. It can be found on Spotify, Apple, Amazon music, Deezer, Buzzsprout and a few other podcast homes.

As a teacher, I spent 36 years in gymnasia and classrooms teaching physical education, cooperative education, English and mathematics. There were stints heading departments and doing admin roles. It’s gratifying to see the education system carries on swimmingly without me.

These days, I’m the editor of the Brooklin Town Crier in Brooklin. On the hockey front, I’ve worked with the Ontario Hockey Federation and Ontario Minor Hockey Association as a national coaching program instructor and coach evaluator. Most recently, I was Technical Director for the Whitby Girls Hockey Association which presented new challenges in program and coach development. In June of 2022, I hosted another two-day conference for the association’s coaches with the expressed purpose of making them aware of the latest in coaching development and culture improvement. By all accounts, it was eminently successful with 30 in attendance, all participating of their own accord, the costs having been absorbed by the WGHA.

In my spare time, I’ve been learning to play with beautiful grandchildren.