MONTREAL – Good coaching makes for better players.
That’s why hundreds of coaches – both young and old – spent Sunday morning together at the 11th edition of the Tim Horton’s Coach’s Day.
Over 600 teachers of the game woke up bright and early on what would normally be a day of rest, making their way down to the Bell Centre to catch up with fellow members of the tight-knit coaching community and exchange ideas and tips with those providing instruction at the highest levels of the game.
To ensure the continued success of the event, guests were joined by coaches from the Canadiens, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and other AAA-level teams across Quebec.
Coaches as well as young athletes representing the Mirabel Concordes Atom BB, Lanaudiere Pionniers Pee-Wee AAA and École De Mortagne Pee-Wee teams had the rare opportunity to attend seminars and watch the Habs hone their skills during a morning practice session. While head coach Michel Therrien didn’t take to the ice during the optional workout, he was still on hand to share his story with those present.
“To get to a higher level, there’s a lot of sacrifices that needs to be made,” revealed the current Canadiens head coach when detailing his coaching progression from the Quebec Major Junior League, to the American Hockey League and finally to the NHL.
“Coaching was a passion and a part-time hobby when I first started out, so I didn’t take a single day off in the first five years I was behind a bench,” confessed the 18-year veteran of the coaching profession, who held down a day job as a technician at Bell Canada before moving behind the bench full-time.
Experienced instructors covered various aspects of technical development, including breakout patterns and puck control and goaltending skills. Even Canadiens video coach, Mario Leblanc, and strength and conditioning coach, Pierre Allard, stopped by to share their insight with an audience eager to learn from the best in the business.
“Be proud to be here,” Michel Therrien added. “You play a very important role in the lives of your young athletes. The attitude you display to them will not only shape their present, but also their future. You have to have passion. If you don’t, then you don’t belong behind the bench. You have to be passionate about sharing your experience.”
The knowledge acquired by the coaches during the course of the day will undoubtedly be passed down to thousands of eager young hockey players across the province. Putting theory into practice will help these budding athletes take their individual games to the next level and might someday afford them the opportunity to sport the bleu-blanc-rouge as a member of the Canadiens.
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Jack Han.