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You never stop learning

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL – Students usually get the weekend off, but this Sunday, hockey coaches from all around Quebec were more than happy to dust off their pads, sharpen their pencils and get ready to do a little learning.

For the 10th consecutive year, the Montreal Canadiens in collaboration with Hockey Quebec and Hockey Canada proudly presented Tim Hortons Coaching Day. Coaches from across la Belle Province descended on the Bell Centre to broaden and fine-tune their knowledge of the country’s favorite sport in hopes of passing on what they learned to their own students the next time they pick up the whistle.

Michel Therrien took the time to address the coaches in attendance at the Bell Centre Sunday morning.

While he may not immediately be getting the chance to lead his players on the ice, Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien took the time to address the coaches in attendance.

“As coaches, we have all kinds of ‘customers’. They can be Pee-Wees, Bantams or Midgets; mine have been guys in Junior, the AHL and the NHL. You have to know how to adapt,” explained Therrien, who counts 18 years of head coaching experience on his resume. “It’s the same as when we talk to our own children; you’re not going to have the same discussion with them when they’re seven as you will when they’re 16.”

Members of Therrien’s coaching staff were also on hand to help out at the event, most notably Pierre Groulx, Jean-Jacques Daigneault and Clement Jodoin. The group not only offered seminars to the coaches at the Bell Centre, but also held demonstrations outlining drills and exercises designed to hone the skills of forwards, defensemen and goaltenders. The presentations were created with the goal of giving the coaches new tools to help shape on-ice sessions with each of their respective teams.

“When I was playing in the QMJHL with the Longueuil Chevaliers, our coach was Jacques Lemaire,” shared Therrien. “I’ve been close with Jacques throughout my coaching career and he’s been a big help for me from a tactical standpoint.

“To this day, he’s still a great mentor and resource for me,” added the Habs bench boss. “You can’t be afraid to ask questions and work on constantly improving and adjusting your approach.”

Sunday’s event also offered a handful of young skaters the opportunity to live out a childhood dream, as members of the QMJHL’s Victoriaville Tigers got the chance to take to the Canadiens’ home ice for a practice session of their own.

Coaches and players alike capped the day by jumping on the ice for a period of free skating at the Bell Centre before heading down for a tour of the Canadiens Hall of Fame.

Hugo Fontaine is a writer for Translated by Justin Fragapane.

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