On March 1st, 2022, Cam Abbott and his team Rögle BK clung to a narrow 2-1 lead over Finnish club Tappara, late in the 3rd period in the championship game of the Champions League.
The home crowd watched nervously. A victory would crown Rögle BK the top team in European hockey and mark an outstanding turn-around for a club that had been relegated to Sweden’s second division during the 2014-2015 season.
As a coach there isn’t a more exciting and stressful situation than the one Abbott found himself in that night. This is where the game truly becomes a chess match.
Do you encourage your team to sit back or do you apply pressure? Under what circumstances do they ice the puck? What is the strategy when you have a face-off in the D-zone and the other team has pulled their goalie?
These aren’t minor decisions. These are decisions that decide championships.
Fortunately for Abbott, his coaching staff, his twin brother Chris (the club’s General Manager), their players, and all their loyal fans in Ängelholm, Sweden, Rögle had a strategy in place long before a championship was on the line. They hung on to win the game, and the Champions League title in the process.
Tickets to TCS Live 2023, taking place June 22-24 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor are ON SALE NOW! Click below for details.
It wasn’t one thing that led to Rögle’s victory that night, it was a combination of many. At TCS Live 2022, Abbott shared those secrets during his brilliant 31-minute presentation, in which he compares building a championship team to building an airplane.
Both are about being organized and knowing what comes next. In hockey, that means communicating with your team about situations it may be in, long before they arise.
“Do you want to go for the empty net regardless of what the score is or if you’re up in the game by two or three or one goal? What’s your plan? What about if there’s 30 seconds left? Have you addressed these things with your team?”
Abbott’s presentation will challenge whether you and your team are actually prepared to go all the way.
More on Abbott:
- Following a playing career at Cornell University, a season in the Central and East Coast Hockey Leagues, and seven seasons in Norway and Sweden, Abbott found his calling in coaching.
- Without any prior coaching experience, Abbott was hired as the Head Coach of the Vekwa Lakers U20 squad and in one season, completely turned around the program.
- That success resulted in him and his brother being recruited to Rogle in Sweden’s premier league. Along with his twin brother Chris, who is currently the GM of Rogle, the pair has revived a franchise on the brink of relegation, to one of the top teams in the SHL – in just four seasons.
- Abbott was named SHL Coach of the Year for the 2021-2022 season
To learn more about Abbott and his coaching journey, check out his interview with TCS Founder Aaron Wilbur on The Glass & Out Podcast.
- More content on The Coaches Site:
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