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He’s spoken with Hockey Hall of Famers from across the globe. Some of the best players to ever lace up skates. All to find out what makes each’s country’s development system so unique – and taking the best practices from them all to create a hockey factory.
Matt Dumouchelle is the Assistant General Manager with the Leamington Flyers of the GOJHL and the author of The Coaches Site’s Hockey Factories, a unique look behind the curtain of some of the globe’s top hockey development programs. The series allows hockey fans to step into the rooms where Sidney Crosby, Leon Draisaitl, Rasmus Dahlin and hundreds of others who got their starts and developed into some of the brightest stars in the NHL.
It dives into how these programs set their players up for success throughout their development, what coaching strategies they use to get the best out of their kids and how they work on not just creating great players, but also great people. They travel to Minnesota, British Columbia, Germany, Finland and Sweden to see how these programs are doing it right.
Download your FREE copy of the Hockey Factories E-Book.
Dumouchelle has found that associations are very open to sharing information to help improve the game across the globe. The best organizations, he says, have an open book attitude when it comes to development.
“This is as much about developing coaches as it is players. When you really get down to it, the coaches are what makes this work. You can have a brilliant philosophy, reinvent the game of hockey, but if the people communicating that message aren’t the right people or believe something differently, it isn’t going to work.”
The single biggest influence on a child’s experience in hockey is their coach. He’s broken down the three main pillars of a ‘hockey factory’ and how coaches and associations can apply them right away. And they are all free.
- Communication: how we communicate as an Association to each other and the players, providing support, the verbiage that we use, how we explain drills
- Defining Success: how much do you want to focus on development vs. winning, having kids and coaches return every year
- Instilling the Love of the Game: players love hockey but shouldn’t have to view it as work, creating lessons and memories along the way
For continuity, Dumouchelle suggests that Associations hold meetings with all of their coaches at the same time to create a brainstorm session. They can discuss what’s been working and what hasn’t, and how to ensure the growth from one age group to the next year over year.
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Ian Taylor talks about the desirability of openness and sharing and the virtue of that mindset, but he runs an organization which supports the ownership of youth. That restricts movement. Ian, why do you oppose kids being free to play where they want to play?