For years now I have been contemplating a career change. I have a yearning to coach again. I believe coaches are always coaches, no matter how long they are behind the bench or how long they have been away.
I have talked to my family about it and they are very supportive. I have talked to several of my closest friends and allies in hockey and they have all urged me to jump back into the coaching ranks again.
But, here is the conundrum. I really love what I do and the people I work with. Next to playing, coaching is the best, next to coaching you can't beat broadcasting hockey. Especially if its Sharks Hockey and on Comcast Sportsnet California.
I work for two great organizations. I have been with the Sharks for the better part of twenty years. I have had the great fortune of working with a wonderful group of people who I consider gifted professionals and outstanding human beings.
My second group of co-workers are from Comcast. A like-minded gang that may have our quirks but when it's time to put on a first class NHL broadcast, they are as good as it gets.
(Please don't tell either group that I love and respect them as much as I do, it would kill my rep as the Prima Donna Talent).
So what to do? Make big career change into a job that is emotionally tumultuous and offers zero job security or stay with a job that gives a huge boost to one's vanity and offers more stability than the Rock of Gibraltar.
This summer I found a wonderful compromise. First I coached my sons ball hockey team and helped coach Team Saskatchewan at the Western Canadian Championships.
(If you're asking? We came up a couple of goals short from making the Gold Medal Game)
I also joined a few friends who have started Serious Academy of Hockey. They are three very good "Hockey Guys" who are trying to make better hockey players from kids to professionals. I have been blown away by their coaching and teaching ability. They are smart, positive, adaptive and passionate.
This summer at Serious Academy of Hockey I have been on the ice with pro players like James Wright from the Winnipeg Jets and Sean Collins of the Columbus Blue Jackets. New Sharks prospect Lane Scheidel has also been a regular attendee to the morning sessions.
I have had the pleasure of working with top junior, midget and bantam players. From the pros to the bantams all the players have one thing in common, an unquenchable fiery will to get better.
At Serious Academy we also run hockey schools for all ages. In working with all the groups trying to teach this great game, one of the founders of the school mentioned how tough this game is to learn.
Which is the point of this longer than necessary blog.
Strap a pair of thin blades to the bottom of a boot and bind them to your feet.
Next wrap hard plastic protective equipment to every extremity and put a cage over your face. Take a long stick with a blade and take to the playing surface covered in ice.
Learn to skate, forward and backward, make tight turns, pivot, crossover stop and start. At the same time, stick handle, pass backhand, forehand, and don't forget to put a little sauce on the biscuit. Learn to put that little piece of circular vulcanized rubber top shelf, bar down or split the wickets while being checked by another player struggling with the same skills.
It is an incredibly hard game to learn and even harder to perfect as NHL players have.
This summer I have regained respect for these tremendous athletes. I have witnessed up close and personal the dedication and effort of elite level players.
It's just a game and they are just hockey players but they take an incredibly difficult and furious game and turn it into a graceful and unrestrained masterpiece night after night.
As far as getting back into that whirlwind and back into coaching? I'm more than happy being just another observer.