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Deflections: Welcome to spinning class


If you’re a hockey coach in Canada this season at any amateur level, you will notice we are welcoming you with some new features. First, I will take questions from the room.

“Richard, I’ve coached kids for 22 years. Will these affect me? I’m tired of spinning.”

“Yes, they will. I understand your wish to not spin any more. But now you’ll spin differently.”

“I’m a new coach, Richard. You’re scaring me. How much spinning will there be?”

“Not to worry, rookie. Once you get past the initial spins, it’s downhill. Until 5 years from now…”

“What happens in 5 years?”

“You get to re-spin. I’ll explain later.”

“Hey man, I’m coaching junior A. I played minor pro and CIS and this is sort of my job, along with some reno work I do. I have no interest in spinning classes or any kind of classes.”

“I guess trying to sell you on the worth of learning the art of coaching won’t really go anywhere. In that case, Hockey Canada made the rules. Sorry.”

To begin, all head coaches at all levels will need to be certified. Your certification level will depend on the age group and level you coach. Naturally, the more competitive level you’re at, the higher the clinic level you’ll need. There is no more “grandfathering” due to playing or other coaching experience. Even if you have, um, a very friendly relationship with a board member, you can’t escape needing to attend a Development 1 or High Performance 1 clinic. Good news is, you’ll leave smarter.

Now if you’re an assistant coach, you could be entirely off the hook. Hockey Canada has only made it a “strong recommendation” that assistants be certified. Some branches are making it compulsory or easing people into it by having, say, one assistant per team with accreditation. This spin cycle won’t be too taxing, especially if you feel strongly that kids shouldn’t need qualified coaching staffs.

Next, every coach—every coach!—will need to spin through a checking clinic. It will include both off-ice and on-ice portions and will instruct everyone on how to progressively teach checking either with or without the body checking part, depending on the age group. This won’t stop Cro-Magnon-style coaches from counting hits in games as a tool to, well, I dunno what. But now at least they’ll have a clue about how to teach it, even if they can’t be bothered. Legal advice for such people is not included in the clinic.

The final spin is about certification maintenance points. Every coach dealing with competitive level teams will need to accumulate points over a five-year period to re-cycle themselves as qualified coaches. They’ll be able to do it in a number of ways. However it will mean a bit of new spinning from time to time.

Any further questions…?

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