Daniel LaFontaine, son of Long Island Royals Under-16 Midget National team head coach and five-time NHL All-Star Pat LaFontaine, currently leads the team in scoring with 17 points. The younger LaFontaine, a junior in high school, provided his analysis in this week's player blog for NHL.com.
So far the season has been great; we've been playing good against good competition, so that's good. We were really happy with the results of the College Cup. We beat a good team from Connecticut in the final, and we all had a lot of fun playing the games.
|Daniel LaFontaine, Pat's son, currently leads the Long Island Royals in scoring with 17 points.
Right now, we only have three centers and four sets of wings, but my linemates are Justin Bailey and Dylan Holze. Bailey can put the puck in the net so I try to give him a lot of good passes. He always seems to find a way to score; all three of us work well together.
Practices for us usually start out just skating around before getting into some 1-on-0's and just breakouts against the goalies. Then we'll get together for a group practice, with breakouts, 3-on-2's, power-play and penalty-kill stuff.
I talk to my dad a lot about easy stuff like what to do in the corners, but I talk to (coach Steve) Webb more about the mental part of the game. He gives me good talks and lessons. You have to keep striving for your dream for when you get older … and it starts now with nutrition and the physical work. Coach Webb started up the Y Tool for all of us, so I'm always setting my performance goals and I talk to him about attitude and work ethic, so it's good.
The Y Tool is great. You write down stuff you want to do when you’re older, in juniors or in college. Then, after every practice or game, you just go on your phone and evaluate yourself on a scale of 1-to-10 for a few of the things. It keeps you sharp.
Really, I think I'm a playmaking forward. I think I'm good on defense, but can score when I have to and I like to move the puck first and try and find good openings and lanes. I like to move the puck where I could bury it or try to create plays. I watched my dad a little bit on YouTube, but right now I don't know how I'm either similar or different than dad. Later on, I might know but now I'm not so sure.
People always ask if I can view my dad as a coach or do I always just see him as my dad. I can and can't. I can because he talks to all of us, and not just me and that's a good part … he doesn't have to single out anyone or single out me so that's good. Sometimes I forget a drill when we're doing it and I'll ask him and that's all good too.
My dad and Coach Webb always stress how you don't get enough time practicing so when you do, after a long school day, you have to give it all you’re got when you're on the ice. You've got to work hard and emulate what you're going to do in the game.