Home » Excerpt (from “Inside Coaching Hockey”)

Excerpt (from “Inside Coaching Hockey”)

ICH cover

    Chapters include: How skills are learned – Teaching hockey for Understanding – Drill design for the mind –  Being Creative – KTPs, F.I.T., SAGs and LOGs – Shrinking the rink – Control/Intervention/Feedback – Technical problem solving – Practice preparation – The not-so-special specialty teams – Half-ice ideas – Improvising from auto-pilot – Orchestrating the bench – Play or compete – and much more…                                                  


From Chapter 27: Orchestrating the bench 

Would Hall of Fame NHL coach Scotty Bowman, who has a helmet full of Stanley Cup rings, have been able to handle an atom hockey team bench? 

Let’s consider what he contended with in the pros. Teams with four lines (and maybe a 13th forward), six or seven defensemen, and the authority to play whomever in whatever situation warranted it. He could bench anyone he wanted for any length of time. He could create lines or units designed for offence, defense, traps, intimidation, faceoffs, certain moments in a period or anything else that came to mind. He could manipulate line changes to deal with penalties. He could talk to players before games, between periods, during time outs and TV commercial breaks. When injuries struck, he had a deep farm system to draw from. 

But if he coached his local atom competitive team, none of these would exist. If everyone showed up, he might have three lines and five or six defense. Many defensemen played the position under protest. By November, at least one parent would have fired off a missive to the association executive complaining about his child having to play out of position. Scotty would have perhaps a minute between periods and no time outs to talk to the kids. When they’d change lines, they’d scramble through the door, causing traffic and sometimes confusion. He’d have to yell at lines to come off because they’d forget or wouldn’t hear him, this after two minutes in a 15-minute period. If there was a penalty, he’d have to juggle the lines so that no one, heaven forbid, got short-changed a shift. And there very well might be another parent with a stopwatch questioning why the association’s equal ice time policy was not being applied on Scotty’s team. If he talked too much, he’d be accused of over-coaching. Too little and he wasn’t giving the kids enough feedback. 

If he survived the season, Scotty would then retire from coaching minor hockey.