NHL coaches panel with Boudreau, Cassidy, and Reirden (VIDEO)

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“Sometimes you learn from others’ mistakes. Who sticks with you? Do you have any active mentors?”

That was Tara Slone’s first question to Bruce Boudreau, Bruce Cassidy, and Todd Reirden at the 2019 NHL Coaches’ Association panel prior to the NHL Draft™ in Vancouver.

For Reirden, a Stanley Cup winning coach as an assistant with the Washington Capitals, it’s an easy question to answer, save for the small fact he didn’t have all day to provide a complete list of his mentors. “If you don’t go into things expecting to try and improve every day then you’re cheating yourself and your development,” he said.

For Cassidy, mentors like Darryl Sutter helped teach the small details of the game, the defensive details that might not seem like they’re worth it until you win a championship. It’s an imperfect science, perhaps more of an art form, and there are always ups and downs. And we all go through them.

Boudreau has been lucky, too. “George Armstrong treated us so well that we wanted to go through a wall for him,” he said. “Roger Nielsen was also a great person, and he knew every aspect of the game. He told me I’d never play unless I learned the defensive side of the game.”

It doesn’t matter what level you’re coaching. Your message counts. It might not always seem like you’re getting through, and you might never get so much as a thank you. But is that why you do it? For a pat on the back?

Probably not.

Wherever you’re coaching, whoever you’re working with, bring your best every day. Your players deserve it, and you owe it to yourself. As players, you get out of the game what you put in, and it’s no different for coaches.

But for what it’s worth, from everyone here at The Coaches Site, thank you. Thank you for your long hours, your dedication, and your commitment to improvement. Stick with it. Even if they haven’t got around to saying it yet, your players will thank you.

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The NHL Coaches’ Association is a professional organization that provides support and assistance to the head, associate, assistant, goalie and video coaches of the 31 teams in the National Hockey League. See All Posts By NHLCA


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