Hockey Canada’s Paul Carson on developing the next generation

Paul Carson

Paul Carson has worked with Hockey Canada since 2002, first serving as Director, Development, where he supervised the national programming for players, coaches, officials, and safety personnel. In 2010, he became Vice-President of Hockey Development. Prior to Hockey Canada, Carson also worked for 21 years in the education profession, and seven years as an Assistant Coach with the UBC Thunderbirds.

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The following article was written by Paul Carson, the Vice President of Hockey Development with Hockey Canada.

Paul Carson’s roles, duties and accomplishments are many. Published children’s book author, educator, coach, hockey dad, Hockey Canada executive, board member of the Coaching Association of Canada are just a few. He understands hockey from pee wee to pro, and as Vice President of Development at Hockey Canada, he understands the need to be progressive in order for the game to grow and thrive.

In this edition of From Behind the Bench, Carson talks about how to move the game of hockey forward, and how to get on board with the sport’s evolution.


Some people think that what makes a good coach is experience in the game—somebody who played at a high level whether it’s junior, college, professional or on the National team. Does this make a good coach? Not necessarily.

The first thing is practical experience. If you want to be a coach, you can’t just go out and study and then show up at a minor hockey association saying I’ve got this NCCP level and I’m ready to coach without having been on the ice yet. So, you want the practical experience along with the education. The next steps in a coach’s development could be mentorship, sharing of best practices, and finally professional development.

If you look at the first two levels—practical experience and education—as being the foundation, that’s where you’re going to meet people that would be good mentors. If you’re coaching female or minor hockey, you need to look to people in that environment and find someone that you look up to, that has something to share with you. Through Hockey Canada, we created skill instruction programs, like learning how to teach skating or developing defensemen or goaltending skills. These clinics are offered by resource people that I believe can serve as very good mentors at the minor hockey association level.

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