As we approach the final week of November it’s an exciting time to see all of our teams on the ice and exciting Minor Hockey regular season action underway. By now, every team has games under their belt, whether at the recreational or representative level, or at the U11 or U18 ages.
After the Development and Evaluation phases, we are now in the thick of the Regular Season phase. Since the new seasonal structure moves the end of meaningful games to March 1, it means teams typically would have already been gearing up for Playdowns at this time – now they are only at the quarter mark of the calendar.
This extension of time in the regular season means teams have more opportunities for skill building and events like tournaments.
“Now you have some more time, you can develop those areas, and then you can really settle in to how you’re playing, what’s working for you, and tweaking that around the holiday season, the middle of your season,” said Michael Dundas, Manager of Hockey Development.
How this is all scheduled goes back to the coach’s seasonal plan which should’ve been outlined to their teams before the start of the season. It will indicate what the team will be working on at what points of the season.
“It’s like Grade 4 math. You’re not moving on if only two kids are understanding the lesson plan. That’s the approach we need to take,” said co-host Ian Taylor. “What’s the measurement of success – it’s not the wins and losses or the number of goals. What we’re looking to do is provide that programming that supports where we’re trying to get to.”
Through Taylor’s experience as a coach, he’s focused on maximizing everyone’s time at the rink. At the start of the season, he’d used off-ice activities for team building exercises. This let his players naturally work together, learning how to communicate as a group without ever stepping foot on the ice. Coaches can take advantage of outdoor space or using their time pre-game to practice workouts or whiteboard, so players already know what to do when they get on the ice.
In summary, here are the quick Breakaway Takeaways:
- Create experiences that go beyond the whistle: tournaments, off-ice workouts.
- Let’s not make extra trips to the rink if we don’t have to.
- Set your goals with a better understanding of your team once the season is underway.
- It’s all about planning. Continually check in on the seasonal plan and how things are laid out.
- Standings aren’t only barometer of success. Are your players having fun? Are they learning new skills?
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