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Time to Drop the Puck

New columnist Hal Tearse offers his initial thoughts from the bench

(Photo by Joe Korkowski)

New columnist Hal Tearse offers his initial thoughts from the bench

The leaves are turning red, gold and yellow and a chill is in the air in the mornings and that can only mean one thing: Hockey Season!

Most programs have now completed their tryouts and the season is just getting underway. It is a time of anticipation and excitement for the players. They dream of unexpected success, one timer goals, saves off the knob of the stick, and tap-in goals.

The kids look forward to playing with their friends and spending time together in the locker rooms, on the bench and on the ice.  They look forward to out of town trips, a night or two in a hotel and swimming in the pool after their games.  When the skates have been hung in the garage this is what they remember.

The wins and losses? Just a blur.

YouthHockeyCoaching youth and high school hockey is a special privilege and needs to be taken seriously and understood through the eyes of the players.  Coaches have the power to make a big impact on their players in a world of kids looking for leadership, affiliation, and the chance to be part of something special.

As a coach, spend time to understand and see from the perspective of the players. Help them to get better as players, become good teammates, and teach them to respect the game.  Make sure they have fun and that they play hard everyday.

This column will provide you with helpful ideas each week as the season progresses.

As a starter I want to direct you the skating videos that are available on this link.

These videos were developed for youth coaches to use with their kids. Spend 15 minutes of each practice in the first half of the season working on just skating. Mid season every other practice and late season ten minutes to each practice to stay fresh.  If you do just this one thing your players will skate much better and as a result they will play better also.

Have fun helping the youngsters on your team get better and learn to play the great game of hockey.


(Illustration by Leigh Luna ©2014)


Hal Tearse has spent the past 40 years coaching youth, high school, junior and college hockey. His teams have won four state titles in Minnesota and participated in four National Championship tournaments. Tearse also served as Minnesota Hockey Coach-In-Chief for eight years and as Chair of the Safety Committee for the past five, successfully working to significantly reduce player and coach injuries in Minnesota and nationally. He has produced 15 skills videos to help coaches develop their players while writing hundreds of articles about coaching that have appeared in several print and web publications throughout North America. Hal is a Senior VP. Branch Director at RBC Wealth Management in Minnetonka, Minn., who also enjoys photography, fly fishing, skiing and spending time with his family.

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