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ROOKIE CAMP: Woodcroft's teaching innovation on display

"It's a screen generation, right? We're just trying to get creative with how we get our point across," said Condors Head Coach Jay Woodcroft of his decision to use a television monitor on the bench at Rookie Camp

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - The Information Age is making its presence felt on National Hockey League ice.

Video monitors are already embedded in NHL benches, IPads appear in the palms of a coach's hands every game and puck tracking is a work in progress, so it wasn't exactly novel when Condors Head Coach Jay Woodcroft decided to wheel out a large television monitor on the bench to help explain some new concepts at Oilers Rookie Camp. 

"It's a screen generation, right? We're just trying to get creative with how we get our point across," said Woodcroft at Day 5 of Camp.

The bench boss knows that to resonate with players, there can't be too much information to process at a time. Visual teaching methods can assist in packaging information and Woodcroft felt his players got the grasp of his new theme immediately.

"I believe you have to really be careful as a coach not to dump too much information on people," Woodcroft continued.

Video: ROOKIE CAMP | Woodcroft 09.09.19

"As a result, our meetings are brief, succinct and to the point. That day that you saw us implement the monitor on the bench, the reason we did that is we introduced a new theme. We had a theme before practice, we went out and executed it, and then we introduced something new. I thought the players responded really well and executed right after. They did it all while having a little bit of a water break."

Most of the prospects attending Rookie Camp haven't been accustomed to the instructional methods Woodcroft used, and that was something he was quick to point out.

"Really, where that happens is in the NHL," he said. "Most of the guys here, that would be the first time they would be shown those types of things on monitors and what not. I think it makes it a little easier if they get into an NHL exhibition game and one of the assistant coaches is showing something on an iPad or the screens down below, they can do that."

"But for me, more than anything, it was a teaching tool to make sure that we introduced a theme. We didn't want to go off the ice, we didn't want to flood the ice. We wanted to use our time as wisely as possible while introducing a new theme. I think the players responded to it."

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