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Hitting the books

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Michel Therrien and Alain Vigneault.

MONTREAL – The passion to coach hockey is alive and well in Quebec. Just ask the 700 minor hockey coaches who participated in the annual Tim Hortons Coaching Day on Saturday.

For a 12th-consecutive year, coaches from all levels of hockey and all four corners of Quebec filled the Bell Centre to share their passion for the game while also learning how to pass it along to their young players on the ice.

In addition to getting front row seats to the Canadiens’ and Rangers’ game day skates, a goaltending workshop was also held, as were clinics focusing on puck protection, power skating, game simulations and more, hosted by current pro coaches, including Dan Lacroix, Jean-Jacques Daigneault, Clement Jodoin, Stephane Waite and Michel Therrien.

Over 700 coaches participated in the Tim Hortons Coaching Day.

Rivals on the ice, meanwhile, Therrien was even joined on stage by his New York counterpart, Alain Vigneault on Saturday, as the two shared some insight into the profession which brought everyone together for the occasion.

“Not every child who plays hockey will one day make it to the NHL, far from it. But hockey can be a good school of life,” offered Therrien. “It’s important to encourage them, and to help them as much as possible. In certain cases, hockey can even keep troubled kids on the right track and help them turn their lives around.”

Vigneault for his part emphasized the core values which embody his ideal minor hockey coach.

“My two daughters played basketball as kids and my first question for them would always be whether they had fun whenever they came home from practice. As a game, hockey should always be fun, first and foremost,” underlined the Rangers head coach who has spent 12 seasons behind the bench in the NHL, including three with the Canadiens. “Like Michel said, not everyone will play in the NHL one day, but everyone can have fun playing, period. That’s the beauty of hockey.”

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Steven Nechay.

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