Don Phelps is one of my coaching heroes.
Don coached in the Alberta Junior Hockey League for parts of four decades, winning 11 championships. But in the early 90's, Phelps decided to take a break from the Junior A battles and head down to the Bantam ranks to coach his son.
So, Don returned to the junior bench and it's a lucky thing he did, as he ledthe Calgary Canucks to a Canadian championship in 1995.
Even in house league hockey, parents can be a problem. In fact, an official in the 8-year-old Novice house league I'm coaching in told me that one season, a hopped-up hockey dad used a stop watch to make sure his boy was getting the same ice as everybody else. Now, as a parent, you always want to make sure your child receives fair treatment, but breaking out a timing device seems a tad extreme.
However, much like a certain Toronto mayor has been giving every politician a bad name, hockey parents too often get painted with the same brush due to the dark strokes of only a few; something that's very unfair.
Of course, a coach's attitude in dealing with parents also plays a huge role in the relationship. At the start of the season, our coaches were very clear about our team philosophy:
So far, so good. After an 0 and 2 start, we've bounced back to win 10 of our last 12 games, officially clinching second spot in the regular season standings. Much more importantly, the kids and coaches have had a ton of fun together and I'm proud to say we haven't had a single complaint from any of our Penguin parents.
Playoffs are just around the corner and emotions are bound to go up a few notches.
But with a great bunch of kids who have obviously been brought up by a fantastic group of parents, something tells me everything will be just fine.
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