BERLIN, Germany -- Don Nachbaur and Rob Cookson have gained much knowledge during their careers in the NHL. Now the former coaches are sharing some of what they've learned in three coaching clinics as part of the 2019 NHL Global Series.
"The game's really changed in the last few years as far as the techniques and the styles, and any time you can help grow the game, whether it's in North America or Europe, I love that part," said Nachbaur, most recently an assistant with the Los Angeles Kings in 2017-18.
"I played hockey over in [Austria] for four years, so it's enjoyable to come back and see some of the old players that are now coaches that I played against in the past. That's been unique and fun."
Cookson, who was an assistant with the Ottawa Senators last season, said the overseas clinics are important because hockey is a global sport.
"It's an opportunity to come over and immerse ourselves in these countries and learn what we can about what they're doing. That helps us, but I think it helps these countries to recognize that we're not isolating where our development roots are," Cookson said.
"We're providing an opportunity for the coaches to get better, and I think that's really important for the image of the game at the National Hockey League level and for the Coaches Association about growing the game from a coaching perspective."
The first of three conferences, organized by the ice hockey federation in each country in partnership with the NHL and the NHL Coaches Association, was in Berlin on Sunday before the Chicago Blackhawks played Eisbaren Berlin in the 2019 NHL Global Series Challenge at Mercedes-Benz Arena (1:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSCH+, NHL.TV). The second clinic will be in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday; the Philadelphia Flyers play Lausanne HC later that day (2 p.m. ET, NHLN, NBCSP+, NHL.TV).
The third session is in Prague, Czech Republic on Thursday; the Blackhawks and Flyers play their regular-season opener at O2 Arena in Prague on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, NBCSP, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).
Sunday's clinic began with Nachbaur's session, Improving Offensive Zone Scoring. Cookson followed with Playing Without the Puck -- Defensive Zone Coverage. Approximately 25 coaches attended the sessions, which ran about 45 minutes.
"I know at my presentation, a lot of guys asked me if they could get copies of it and had all kinds of questions," Nachbaur said. "Really that's what coaching seminars are about. It's getting new ideas, new concepts, finding out things and seeing things you've never thought of or heard before. Some of the things that are happening in the National Hockey League the European coaches aren't privy to. So, I think they're taking it all in, which is why we're here."
The game of hockey has changed a lot in recent years. Nachbaur and Cookson are happy to help European coaches evolve with it.
"You put a lot of time and work into getting better as an individual or getting better as a coach, and this is one opportunity to do that," Cookson said. "Ultimately, it's about making the game better overall, not only at the national hockey level through the Coaches Association, but across the world."