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Posted On Monday, 02.06.2012 / 9:00 AM

By Steve Webb -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Making of a Royal

Webb discusses his role as assistant coach with L.I.

Technology helps Webb spread message

Steve Webb has used technology to help the kids that he coaches improve. Find out all about his Y Athlete website and what it does to help kids chase their hockey dreams.
Steve Webb was the recipient of the Bob Nystrom Award in 2002 for the Islander that best exemplified hard work, leadership, and dedication on and off the ice. He currently serves as assistant coach to Pat LaFontaine for the Under-16 Long Island Royals Midget National Team.
 
My experiences in coaching go back to when I took over the Junior Islanders for Bobby Nystrom -- a program he had started 15 years earlier. It allowed kids from Long Island an opportunity to go to the Quebec Peewee Tournament every year and get that experience. Nystrom would run fundraisers to help these kids go on that trip. I'd help out and travel and two years after taking over, Pat (LaFontaine's) son was coming through the system. That was the first time I really started working with this select group of kids -- they were about 12-years-old.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 11:12 AM

By Steve Webb -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Making of a Royal

Webb explains merits of a top player

I've known Brandon Fortunato for a few years now -- I actually started coaching him when he was 12. You see a kid with a lot of hockey sense. He really understands the game and the flow of the game for a defenseman. He really has the wits and the knowledge and he sees the ice very well out there. He knows how to make things happen, especially in the transition game.

Brandon really came in with a lot of intangibles that a lot of young athletes or young kids don't have these days. It's his headsy play, his smarts and his understanding that separates him from a lot of kids. He controls the game very well. If anything, he's really improved in his ability to defend against bigger guys. He's very intelligent and he plays the angle game well. He continues to improve in a lot of areas consistently.

Brandon is more of a leader in the way he performs on the ice. He's a quiet kid. He loves just being a part of the guys. He's one of the guys when he comes into the room. You really don't have to say much to him. He brings it pretty consistently the majority of the nights. I don't see too many nights that he's taken off. He's one of those guys who is very easy to coach. You don't have to spend a lot of time trying to motivate him. He wants to do well every night. It's fun to watch him play with the puck. 
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Posted On Monday, 01.09.2012 / 11:52 AM

By Steve Webb -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Making of a Royal

Midseason review, importance of leadership

In this week's "Making of a Royal" blog, assistant coach Steve Webb offers his midseason review of the team and also discusses the importance of leadership and how he and head coach Pat LaFontaine help groom players into becoming effective leaders.
 
Well, we're about halfway through the season and when I look at the team, as a whole, I think that we're in a spot where we can definitely improve. There's work we have to do. When we're playing high-caliber teams, we must be more consistent on the back end. When you play against smarter players, it's interesting to see how some players handle that. The thing is, once we get going, we're fine, but sometimes we're just waiting for something to happen first. The start of the game is very important ... the preparation, mindset and how you go out on your first shift. We'll continue to work on breakouts and coming out of our own zone; we're looking forward to getting ready for the competition down the stretch and at the end of the season.
 

During the second half of the season, we'll have more time to prep for the year-end tournaments.
 
On the challenges of teaching leadership:
 
One of the hardest things to learn is leadership. A lot of times, you leave that up to the more vocal guys in the room or the more skilled players because, let's face it, everyone expects the good players to know how to lead. But for a 15-year-old, that's a tough thing, responsibility wise.
 
I think we need a lot of room to improve on that in that aspect. I don't want to say leadership is such an easy thing to come by. We try to give these guys a lot of rope, and lot of responsibility is put in their hands. You want to teach them how to learn how to be leaders versus showing them how to be leaders. We can help them and guide them, but, most importantly, we want them to take more control of their own leadership traits. 
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Posted On Monday, 11.28.2011 / 12:31 PM

By Steve Webb -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Making of a Royal

Webb recalls his minor hockey traveling days

In this week's "Making of a Royal" blog, head coach Pat LaFontaine and assistant coach Steve Webb discuss the team's travel habits for regular season and major national tournaments. Additionally, the parents of all the players for the Long Island Royals Under-16 Team must also log plenty of miles and hours driving their sons to games, practices and, most times, weekend tournaments. The team is currently 33-3 and ranked No. 2 in the nation.
 

Webb, born and raised in Peterborough (Ont.), recalled his traveling days in the minor hockey system in Peterborough and how different it is for those parents of the minor clubs in the United States.
 
I grew up in the Peterborough minor hockey system where it was mandatory every road game in the Peterborough Petes AAA system that you had to take a bus. The only thing parents needed to do was bring their kids to the bus stop. On the way back, we just needed to find a ride home, so it was less of a burden on the parents.
 
Also, a majority of the parents, from what I remember, were on the bus so that's when we really gelled as a team and came together. You were riding with everyone at that time. With the Long Island Royals, it's a different animal. There is no rule where buses are mandatory. The one time we did take a bus was last year when we flew into Toronto to go to Peterborough. The bus picked us up and drove us into Peterborough. That's the one time, but other than that, it's a lot of driving. Parents must find a way to pile kids into someone's car and get the kids up there for a weekend event or showcase. Parents can hopefully make it up for a Saturday and still see some games in quarters or semifinal rounds if we're still alive.
 
We've traveled to Washington, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Vermont and Connecticut for showcases. We've been to New Hampshire and also flew into Chicago as a group. Not every parent could make it because of the cost; don't forget you also have to arrange a room and that gets costly as well. We want to make sure the kids are being viewed and that they have the best opportunity to go on to the next level and have the scouts look at them.
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Posted On Monday, 11.14.2011 / 12:00 PM

By Steve Webb -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Making of a Royal

Webb: The evolution to 'great'-ness


In this week's 'Making of a Royal' blog, assistant coach Steve Webb discusses the team's play in the Bauer International Invite in Chicago, Ill. After earning victories over the Toronto Eagles (Ont.), Ice Jets Academy (Tex.), Detroit Warriors (Mich.), Indiana Ice and Team Wisconsin, the Royals suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to Detroit Honey Baked (Mich.) in the tournament semifinal round. Webb also talks about the process that's required to becoming a 'great' player.

Our recent tournament in Chicago went well. We went in there and showed what we had. Our games on Sunday [Nov. 6] were our best games against Wisconsin and Honey Baked. You always want to leave on a high note, so I was very impressed with the way our team prepared for the final two games and came out and actually executed all day long.

Making of a Royal feature

When you get into shootout situations, it's pretty exciting for the kids on the bench. It was definitely a roller coaster ride, for every shooter and the kids were up and down. It was a very fun thing to be a part of … to observe these kids and see their reactions. The emotions involved really galvanized our team which was a positive spin at the end of a tournament that you lose.

To tell you the truth, we had a couple tough games at the start. I don't think we really performed that well; we didn't come prepared to play the game. We get these guys to prepare and the first four games we weren't prepared. What we've been stressing since the first tournament of the year in Vermont is that it's each player's responsibility when they get to the rink to prepare for the game. Whatever they have to do, whether a team stretch or something, you have to prepare for each other.

We had conversations about using the 'Y Athlete' website and work on our preparation since we weren't really excited about the way we were preparing for the games. They had to start evaluating themselves on their preparation and we'll do that for about a month and see where that goes; see if they start getting focused a little bit earlier in the dressing room.
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Posted On Monday, 10.31.2011 / 12:01 PM

By Steve Webb -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Making of a Royal

Former Islander Webb discusses assistant coach role



Steve Webb was the recipient of the Bob Nystrom Award in 2002 for the Islander that best exemplified hard work, leadership, and dedication on and off the ice. He currently serves as assistant coach to Pat LaFontaine for the Under-16 Long Island Royals Midget National Team.
 
My experiences in coaching go back to when I took over the Junior Islanders for Bobby Nystrom -- a program he had started 15 years earlier. It allowed kids from Long Island an opportunity to go to the Quebec Peewee Tournament every year and get that experience. Nystrom would run fundraisers to help these kids go on that trip. I'd help out and travel, and two years after taking over Pat (LaFontaine)'s son was coming through the system. That was the first time I really started working with this select group of kids -- they were about 12-years-old.
 
Pat asked if I would like to run a practice or step on the bench to coach the team when he's not able to do it and since I knew the kids, I was able to step in and run a practice or coach a game for him. He then asked me if I wanted to assist him a year ago and help out. He had a game plan in mind in how he wanted to run things ... knowing Pat and his principles and how he handles himself, it's just one of those things that I couldn't turn down.
 
I love the kids, they're hilarious. They always make me laugh when I showed up at the rink. It was just one of those things that made sense to help out, support and assist.
 
I've heard that Pat has labeled me the "softie" when it comes to coaching and I'd have to say that's the case. When I look down the bench just a couple of minutes into a game, he's already got his hands in the air, but I'll always try and settle him down. I'm a typical assistant coach in that regard; but it's what I enjoy doing. This is what I've always wanted ... to help out kids with their futures and make sure they get the best experience possible out of playing the sport.
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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic