Ridiculous, moronic, ignorant, immature and maybe criminal. Those are some of the words describing minor hockey coach, Martin Tremblay's actions in the above video.
This happened about a month ago in a University of British Columbia-sponsored three-team recreational spring league for 11 and 12 year olds. The handshake was the formality at the end of the final game in which Coach Tremblay's team won the game!
The pathetic excuse for a man used an equally pathetic excuse. The old "I slipped..." was the best he could offer. The RCMP didn't buy it and arrested the coach and charged him with assault as one of the players that ended up on the ice because of the trip broke his wrist.
I think we can all agree the coach is an idiot and the video is disturbing. However the reaction of the coach’s team is equally bothersome. At the end of the video, what you don't see is the class act of the coach who gives the middle finger to the fans and parents who were voicing their displeasure.
Following close behind were his 11- and 12-year-old players. One player throws a water bottle at the glass and a few others offer up a middle finger of their own. An instant to view how important and influential a coach is to kids.
I was listening to a radio interview with former NBA player and now an accomplished physiologist, educator and speaker, John Amaechi. He was debunking some myths about the benefits of sports.
One of the hosts challenged him on his opinion that there is no proof that sports provides any team building or life lessons. Dr. Amaechi stated that the only team building and life lessons learned have to be pointed out and discussed by a strong leader and coach. They don't just happen and aren't instantly understood by the young athletes.
So put two and two together as we work back to the video. Coach Tremblay's players were mimicking his bad sportsmanship and idiotic behavior. Why? Because they are influenced by the strongest personalities in their young lives.
It is a great lesson for coaches. Coaches are teachers, both teachers of the game and teachers of life. A coach should be able to see those opportunities to teach more than the game and take advantage of the influence and respect he has with his players.
A coach can teach team building by setting a foundation of equal expectations of performance, behavior and sportsmanship. Coaches can ensure messages will resonate by being clear, consistent and equal.
However like the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. A coach’s actions -- on and off the ice -- after wins and losses or in games and practices will stay with the players more than any words ever will.