Coaches are like players in that they are always looking to improve their skills.
And Hockey Canada has designed a program to help coaches do just that.
Hockey Canada’s Coaching Mentorship program has launched a series of six specialty clinics to help coaches
hone their skills. These new innovative specialty clinics offer coaches a practical session
on teaching various skills, tactics and systems. The proactive approach also opens the doors of communication
and provides a non-threatening environment for coaches to further pursue a mentor.
As an example, let’s say Dan Brown is a minor hockey coach in Campbellton, N.B., and he has gone through
the entry level of the national coach certification program. It’s November and Dan decides he would like to
find out more about skating because, while he runs a good practice, he feels some of his players could use
some work on their skating.
The trouble is, Dan is a little weak when he comes to giving skating tips and he isn’t sure what he should
be looking for when it comes to deficiencies when his players are doing their drills.
All Dan would have to do is get in touch with someone in his local minor hockey association and they would
then contact the provincial association to inquire about the specialty clinic on skating. Arrangements would
be made to have the specialty clinic delivered locally.
The course is a three-hour session divided in half, with 1.5 hours spent in the classroom where coaches
watch video specific to the area they are looking to improve in. They are also provided materials and a
workbook with specific drills and suggestions on how to teach kids to be better skaters, for example. The
final 90 minutes are spent on the ice where they work with an instructor and see first-hand how to apply the
drills and what to look for in certain areas of skating, such as common errors and how to fix them. The goal
of the session is to make Dan better at teaching skating but also to potentially form a bond between Dan and
the mentor delivering the clinic.
The skating clinic would be specific to skating and the puck control clinic would be similar but the goal
there is to work on skills to develop puck control. The minor hockey coach would be shown how to teach unique
skills like a toe drag and taking the puck out wide and bringing it in narrow, or playing up from between
Hockey Canada has designed specialty clinics covering skating, puck control, shooting and scoring,
creating offense, small area games, and developing defensemen.
Hockey Canada went to the provincial Branches and asked what they wanted to see in specialty clinics and
came back with a list that included everything from skating to goaltending to creative thinking to team
systems. Hockey Canada worked with the Branches in prioritizing the list and the six clinics are the result
of that co-operation.
The next round of clinics will be specific to goaltending, creative thinking, teaching checking and
“Where this came from was a recognition that we wanted to get mentors out in the community. We wanted to
get local people who have expertise in specific areas to be out in the community in delivery and
programming,” says Dean McIntosh, who oversees coaching programs for Hockey Canada.
“That was sort of the first step. We wanted to say you have people in your community that have skating
expertise and they are trained in delivering these clinics so it really brings that mentor closer to the
“This is coaching helping coaches and how good is that?”
Good enough for Hockey Canada.
For more information on Hockey Canada’s Coaching Mentorship program, contact your local Hockey Canada
Branch. Check out www.hockeycanada.ca to find the
Branch in your province.
» Minor Hockey