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Hitchcock Conducts Free Coaches Clinic

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

Who wouldn't want an opportunity to learn from the best?

Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock, the reigning Jack Adams Award Winner as the NHL's Coach of the Year, is conducting a free Coaches Clinic this week at the Ice Zone at St. Louis Mills, the team's official practice facility.

Online registration to attend the clinic opened to youth hockey coaches in mid-September. More than 180 coaches registered to attend the sessions, which began Tuesday night and will continue through Thursday.

Each session is tailored to a different level, as the clinics feature a curriculum geared towards high school, travel and house league coaches.

"As coaches in the NHL all we do is take, and now this is our chance to give back, so you might as well stay active in it," Hitchcock told's Dan Rosen. "Let's start looking at the future...we figure, let's start helping other people reach their goals."

Hitchcock was joined in the seminars by Assistant Coach Ray Bennett, Video Coach Danny Brooks, Strength & Conditioning Coach Nelson Ayotte and Head Medical Trainer Ray Barile. Each gave presentations loaded with good advice and tricks of the trade to help the youth coaches better develop their players.

Topics included how to coach today's players and specifically focused on special teams, defensive strategy, goaltending and health and nutrition tips.

Hitchcock was hired by the Blues in November to guide a club that started the season below expectations with a 6-7-0 record. He led the team to their second-best season in franchise history (49-22-11, 109 points).

In 15 seasons behind the bench in Dallas, Philadelphia, Columbus and now St. Louis, Hitchcock has led his teams to 10 Stanley Cup Playoff appearances and seven division titles. He won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999.

Hitchcock originally came up with the idea of coaching clinics when working for the Flyers.

"Hey, we have to do this stuff," Hitchcock told "You've got to give back, and we've got to do it now."
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