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Hockey Canada Coaching Mentorship Program: Something ‘Special' for The New Season
Alan Adams
April 16, 2007

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 your feet.

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 special teams.

“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 community.”

“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 to find the Branch in your province.

» Minor Hockey

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
[email protected]


Spencer Sharkey
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]


Katie Macleod
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-284-6427
Mobile: 403-612-2893
[email protected]


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