A Recap of TCS Live 2023: Day 2

TCS Live - Glen Gulutzan
"Don't be scared of failure, instead be curious and creative about the possibilities of what can be accomplished."

Try to find a more energizing start to your day than Matt Smaby presenting about aggression and old-school hockey at TCS Live.

Matt Smaby: A Modern Interpretation of Old School Hockey

TCS Live - Matt Smaby

To kick off Day 2 of TCS Live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Smaby, the Head Coach of the Waterloo Black Hawks, presented on his commitment to combining a physical style of play with the modern, skilled aspect of hockey. By teaching his forwards to pressure hard and encouraging defensemen to pinch often, opposing teams often feel suffocated and uncomfortable playing against Smaby’s group, and that’s exactly what he wants. Smaby teaches his players to “go right at guys,” to not take any angles when pressuring, and to not worry about getting beat. Smaby describes his team’s play as “aggressive, unrelenting, and annoyingly competitive.” The system is fun for players and can translate to any level of hockey, making Smaby an expert on player development along with being beloved by his team.

Kori Cheverie: How to Turn Off Auto-Pilot and Develop High-Performing Players and Staff

TCS Live - Kori Cheverie

Kori Cheverie continued the day with a powerful presentation about her mindset shift as a coach. Cheverie’s coaching path has been anything but linear, going back and forth between World Championships, Olympics, NHL camps, and U-18 hockey. Early in her career, Cheverie was hyper-focused on doing everything perfectly and was terrified of failure. Prior to her coaching assignment for Team Canada at the 2022 Olympics, Cheverie tested positive for COVID and was unable to make the trip with the team. Instead of being down on herself, Cheverie changed her mindset. She altered her sleep schedule and continued to coach the team virtually, ultimately leading to a gold medal victory. Following the Olympics, Cheverie led the Nova Scotia U18s at the Canada Winter Games to a silver medal and a generational upset over Team Ontario. Reflecting on her experiences, Cheverie encouraged the audience not to be scared of failure, but to be curious and creative about the possibilities of what can be accomplished.

Brandon Naurato: Burning Issues Faced by Coaches

TCS Live 2023 - Brandon Naurato

Head Coach of the University of Michigan men’s hockey team, Brandon Naurato, participated in a 1-on-1 interview with Dr. Kathy Babiak to conclude the first part of day two at TCS Live. In the interview, Naurato and Babiak discussed positive coaching, a philosophy of leadership meant to instill confidence in players and allow them to reach their full potential. Naurato discussed his first season behind the bench for Michigan and how he aims to build a long-lasting culture within the program. Coaches can learn a lot from Naurato’s focus and care for his players both on and off the ice and the unique perspective he brings to the table.

Emily Engel-Natzke: How to Scale Up Your Career as a Video Coach

TCS Live - Emily Engel-Natzke_

Emily Engel-Natzke, the Video Coordinator for the Washington Capitals, began the second half of the day with a presentation on how to scale up in an organization as a video coach. As a video coordinator, it is required to have hockey knowledge to know a team’s system inside and out as well as computer knowledge to be able to run different software and handle technological issues. Video coordinators are experts at implementing analytics and using video in pre-scouts to help expose weaknesses of opposing teams. Video coordinators also need to be creative, switching up video styles to avoid repetitive presentations. Engel-Natzke’s three keys to scaling up the job are listening during meetings, asking questions, and watching as much hockey as possible. Conveniently, these habits are helpful for any hockey coach and can also help to build relationships. Engel-Natzke stresses that it can take time to rise up in an organization and that the best thing you can do is to have fun and take pride in your work. “I get paid to watch hockey,” she says, and she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Glen Gulutzan: The Emergence of 3 Types of D-Zone Coverage in the NHL

TCS Live - Glen Gulutzan

Next up was Glen Gulutzan, an Assistant Coach for the Edmonton Oilers. Gulutzan is best known for leading Edmonton’s prolific record-breaking power play and coaching the team’s forwards. Today, in a demonstration of his coaching versatility, he presented on defensive zone coverage. Similar to Carla MacLeod’s presentation from day one, Gulutzan noted that there is no set way to run defensive zone coverage and that none of the X’s and O’s are earth-shattering. A team’s system should depend on player personnel and what everyone feels most comfortable in. Gulutzan also referenced Pete DeBoer’s presentation on offensive zone concepts, and how DeBoer highlighted the importance of using the entire ice to spread out the defense. To combat this, Gulutzan teaches players to cut off certain areas of the ice (especially below the goal line and around the blueline). Gulutzan ended his presentation by encouraging coaches to poach concepts from around the hockey world, joking that he hasn’t had an original idea as a coach in 20 years.

Brian Wiseman: Fuel Your Transition Game Through Tracking

TCS Live - Brian Wiseman

Tracking, or backchecking as some may call it, is one of the more basic yet important things a team can do to help them succeed. Brian Wiseman, Assistant Coach for the San Jose Sharks, stressed that tracking is entirely effort based. Tracking is so crucial because it helps eliminate chances against and can also lead to transition offence. Tracking from forwards also allows defensemen to be more confident and play aggressive, knowing that they have reinforcements on the way. The more aggressive defensemen are able to play, the more chances there are to get in transition and generate offence. Wiseman went over a few key habits for tracking such as having a good stick and playing the body, but none more important than the effort and passion players need to possess to support their teams on defence.

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Andrew Leary

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