CONNECT WITH US:            

Richard Bercuson: Deflections


Richard is an award-winning writer and hockey coach/mentor. The former Director of Coaching for Hockey Eastern Ontario, he's a Hockey Canada Master Facilitator/Mentor and coaching evaluator. He's worked with teams from minor to junior to university to Europe and also Canada's Program of Excellence. He's been a newspaper and magazine columnist and has authored two books, one of which is the recently released coaching manual Inside Coaching Hockey. It's available from his web site He spends inordinate amounts of time running to and from rinks and to finish lines as a runner of various ridiculous distances. He likes cheesecake, dry red wine, and long walks on a hot beach. One of those is not readily available where he lives.


Deflections - Talkin’ Like the Big Boys

Whoever says the media or the pros don’t influence us hasn’t spent much time talking with minor hockey coaches. Every now and then, I have to give my head a vigorous shake when I hear a coach talk about his team or approach as if they’re adults being paid a couple of million to play.

Read More

Deflections - For the love of coaching…

Yes, yes, I know, today is Valentine’s Day, so I’m sending some hockey love…However much fun it was as a kid to be in the room with buddies, it’s no different with coaching staffs.

Read More

Deflections - Reps - Reps - Reps

In their exuberance to provide players nearly the entire hockey curriculum in one season, coaches frequently jam a host of drills into a practice.

Read More

Deflections - The Ice Time Conundrum

Minor hockey would effectively eliminate many parental complaints if it created a rule whereby shifts were determined by the clock. One minute or two minutes or whatever – buzzer! – change lines. Novice, bantam, house or AAA. Guaranteed equal ice for everyone. Simple.

Read More

Deflections - Should Mentors Evaluate?

A key component of the field evaluations for Development 1 and High Performance certifications is the discussion the evaluator has with the coach before and after practices or games.

Read More

Deflections - Observing By Watching

When you’re coaching a team in a game, you get caught up in the moments. The shift changes, the missed plays, the whines on the bench, the reactions and overreactions, the uncalled calls…

Read More

Deflections - The Post-Turkey Practice

There are some practice situations that leave coaches scratching their heads. One is the first practice following a long Christmas break. You can bet the kids have done practically nothing from a hockey or conditioning standpoint. 

Read More

Deflections - I wonder…

I wonder…
… why isn’t more time spent training coaches on discipline techniques? Granted, as parents, we pretty much learn as we go.

Read More

Deflections - Where are we going?

We’re approaching the end of 2016, but the hockey season is only midway. In fact, in some competitive locales, the regular season ends in January. Does anyone else have difficulty understanding that?

Read More

Deflections - Other Practice Structures

A practice plan is not the same as practice structure. As a rule, we do a decent job of showing coaches what constitutes a basic practice plan, that there are elements practices must have. We see outlines in coaching clinics, manuals, and online. There shouldn’t be a minor coach in Canada who doesn’t know it.

Read More

Deflections - Adapting Practice Structure

We know practice planning is important. So, too, is practice structure, which is something quite different. Yes, every coach needs to learn to plan what goes into a practice.

Read More

Deflections - How to Rotate Stations

While teaching in hockey schools, I earned a marvelous education in how to/not to conduct teaching sessions using stations. Granted, off-season hockey schools require a different approach than in-season teams. 

Read More

Deflections - Using Coaches in Stations

The use of stations is widely accepted as one of the best ways to cover a lot of ground in a sport teaching environment. Stations are used in varying ways at every age level and calibre. Read More

Deflections - Half, Shared, or Full Ice

The coach looks at the slide of rink diagrams depicting options to divide the rink for practice. Most make sense. One, where the rink is cut diagonally, raises questions. Under what circumstances would a coach run a practice in a triangular piece of rink? I couldn’t think of one. Read More

Deflections - Pick up the Practice Pace

A common refrain among parents and even most coaches used to be that a practice was worthwhile if the kids left the ice sweating. In fact, in all that equipment and even with a modicum of effort, a kid can’t help but sweat. Read More



Most Read:
1) Top 5 CCHL Graduates in the NCAA
2) Georgetown Goalie Josh Astorino Starring In His One And Only OJHL Season
3) Mendel Making Big Strides in NHL Draft Year 
4) Road to the RBC Cup: Casselman Leading National Tournament Hosts in Scoring
5) St. Albert Closing in on Record AMMHL Season

Cumberland Grads netminder making the most of CCHL opportunity

- See more at:

Krebs and Byram making strong case for top-round consideration in 2016 WHL Draft

- See more at: