Czechia's National Women’s Head Coach Carla MacLeod details how she connects with players off the ice to bring out their best on the ice.

Since the Czechia’s National Women’s team began playing in the World Championship in 1999, the team has medaled twice: in 2022 & 2023. Those are the first medals in the history of Czechia’s National Women’s team program. What’s significant about that is those are the first two seasons the team has played under Head Coach Carla MacLeod. What’s the secret to such an impressive turnaround on the world stage? Being authentic.

MacLeod, who is also the Head Coach of both the University of Calgary Women’s program, did not take over the job with Czechia and begin ruling with an iron fist – quite the opposite, in fact. She assessed the team and took time to let her players know what their individual strengths are and reinforced their value to the team. Now some of you are reading this and shaking your head thinking such low hanging communication shouldn’t be necessary at such a high level of hockey, but MacLeod said the respect she earned and buy-in from her players was automatic.

Being authentic, to MacLeod, means asking players straight up what they need from the coaching staff in order to be successful. The response she got from over 80 per cent of her team was honest communication and feeling respected. This gave MacLeod a glimpse into how the team had been run prior to her arrival and reinforced that it wasn’t necessarily going to be about what she was teaching, but how she was teaching it.

The 41-year-old from Spruce Grove, Alberta, who played defence for Canada’s National Women’s team for five seasons capturing two Olympic gold medals and is now a member of the University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, as well as the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, goes on discuss how little things like coaches eating meals with players, or relaxing as peers on off days, can create authentic bonds between players and staff. 

Coaches need both focus and fun to be successful, not just one or the other, as you’ll learn in MacLeod’s fantastic 30-minute TCS Live presentation.

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1 comment

  • This was one of the most inspirational and actionable presentations I’ve watched! Thank you so much for making this available to us coaches, and to Carla, I’m stealing every bit of this for my team!! I coach a U15 competitive team in an all girls league in Ottawa, and was looking for ways to create a tighter connection with each of my players. I jotted down so many great ways for me to do that. Carla, if you actually read this, thank you for everything you do as a coach and mentor.

Carla MacLeod

Carla MacLeod is the head coach of the Czechia Women's National Team and University of Calgary Dinos.She joined the Dinos from Edge School, a private school for Grades 4-12 located just west of Calgary, where she has led the U18 Female Prep Team since 2014. MacLeod's teams excelled both academically and athletically during her time in charge of the Edge program. Student-athletes recorded a team-academic average of 89 per cent — 98 per cent pursued post-secondary degrees and 88 per cent continued their hockey careers. In 2019-20, MacLeod's Edge team captured its first Female U18 Prep Division championship in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.

MacLeod's international playing career was highlighted by a pair of Olympic gold medals with Canada's Women's Hockey team at Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010, where she posted a stellar nine points in 10 contests across those Games. She also competed at four IIHF Women's World Championships — winning gold in 2007 and earning MVP honours in 2009 — as well as five 4 Nations Cups, where she earned an additional three gold medals.

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