Less is more.

Showing video and powerpoint presentations until your players fall asleep is easy. But according to long-time Portland Winterhawks coach Mike Johnston, more is not always better.

In his presentation at this summer’s TeamSnap Hockey Coaches Conference in Toronto, Johnston shared his typical plan for training camp. It included the systems he teaches each year, as well as the rules he sets out for his team.

“Early in my career I had too many rules. I believed I needed to control everything, but all it led to was players catching me in loopholes. So now we only have two rules.”

Johnston is best-known for his time in Portland, but we forget that he, along with coaches like Ken Hitchcock and Wayne Fleming, set the stage for coaching conferences back in the early 90’s when he was coaching at Augustana University in Camrose, Alberta.


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  • Hi,
    Is it possible to download these videos? I would love to use this to educate my players and peer coaches.

  • Hi Mikko. Thanks for reaching out. It isn’t possible to download the drills but you are able to share the link with people so that they may also view the presentation. I hope this helps.

Mike Johnston

Johnston’s coaching career includes over 30 years of experience at various levels. After starting his career at the University/College level, Johnston would get involved with Hockey Canada as a General Manager, Associate Coach, and Head Coach. He was also an Assistant Coach at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano. His NHL career includes stops in Vancouver and LA as an Assistant, and Pittsburgh as a Head Coach. He began his tenure with the Portland Winterhawks in 2008 as Head Coach and GM, and has served since. He has won 3 World Championship Golds, a Spengler Cup and a WHL Championship.

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