For anyone involved with minor hockey, early mornings are a weekly staple. Last Saturday was no exception as upwards of 300 minor hockey coaches throughout the Lower Mainland descended on Rogers Arena bright and early for Coaching Day in BC, presented by Tim Hortons.
Coaching Day in BC is an annual event that the Vancouver Canucks, in partnership with BC Hockey and Hockey Canada, offer for free to minor hockey coaches throughout the province. In addition to a well-stocked Coaching Day manual, replete with in-depth drill diagrams and resources, each participant had the opportunity to hear from qualified speakers in the grassroots sports community on how to best develop BC’s minor hockey players on and off the ice.
With coaches starting to trickle into the arena well before 8 am, representatives from Tim Hortons were on hand in the concourse to provide much-needed coffee, as well as donuts and muffins. Emceeing the day’s proceedings was broadcasting personality Craig MacEwan, who welcomed the 300 coaches into the Rogers Arena lower bowl.
From their seats at centre ice, attendees watched as course conductors from BC Hockey (Brad Rihela and Craig Sherbaty) and Elite Goalies (Pasco Valana) led in-depth demonstrations on the ice with a host of minor and amateur hockey player volunteers. Following the morning’s on-ice portion, representatives from both Canadian Sport for Life (Drew Mitchell) and PGA of BC (Chris Lutes) spoke to the group, stressing the importance of a fun-centric and multi-sport approach in the development of our minor hockey players.
By noon, coaches were treated to an exclusive viewing of a full Canucks practice ahead of their Sunday game against the Colorado Avalanche. What better way to illustrate the skills needed to develop BC’s hockey players than by watching first hand from the Canucks coaching staff themselves? Shortly after skating onto the ice, John Tortorella and Mike Sullivan spoke to their own experiences with minor hockey as both players, coaches and parents, stressing the need to develop morals and character, in addition to skill.
As if the opportunity to hear from Tortorella and Sullivan wasn’t enough incentive to come to Rogers Arena last Saturday, Craig MacEwan ended the night with a series of grand prize raffle draws. While several lucky winners walked away with suite tickets to upcoming Canucks home games, the entire Coaching Day in BC experience ensured that nobody left Rogers Arena empty handed.
To see photos from Coaching Day in BC, please click here.
For more information on other minor hockey programs and events put on by the Canucks Centre for BC Hockey, please visit www.canucks.com/grassroots.