When it comes to the sport of hockey, even the coaches have a chance to learn something new.

This past weekend, Meadow Lake Minor Hockey vice-president and certified coaching instructor Regan Beck hosted a coaching clinic at the Meadow Lake and District Arena. Seven coaches took part, including six from Meadow Lake and area and one from Glaslyn.

“This was a Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA) Level 2 coaching clinic,” Beck explained. “It is a requirement by the SHA for anyone coaching U11 to U18 hockey in Saskatchewan. As a certified coach through the SHA, we try to put one of these clinics on locally at least once a year or, at the very least, every other year.”

However, Beck went on to say this year’s clinic was somewhat different from others he has been a part of in the past because of COVID-19 restrictions and safety guidelines.

“Usually there is a hefty classroom session before we get on the ice, but that could not happen this year,” he said. “Instead, the coaches completed the classroom portion online before we met on the ice to complete the clinic. We’re all still adapting, but all-in-all it went nicely.”

The coaches to take part in the session included Glaslyn’s Wes Nash, as well as local coaches Kurt East, Alana Brander, Archie Kwasniuk, Jeff Ludwig, Layne Bremner and Les Ellis.

This coming weekend, a Level 1 clinic is scheduled to take place for coaches in charge of U7 to U9 teams.

“When it comes to Level 1 training, it’s like being back to the point where you have to teach kids how to stand up on their skates,” Beck noted. “It’s all about basic fundamentals whereas Level 2 involves more skill diversity, coaching philosophy, game planning and more. I believe the recent clinic was well received. Working with all these coaches was an opportunity for me to learn as well because we all have our own drills and our own outlook on what makes things work for us. It’s also nice to see the SHA put a focus on improving youth hockey in this way, as it is sure to improve the quality of practices and, in turn, provide dividends in the end.”

Meadow Lake Minor Hockey president Jace Andersen agreed, adding it’s ideal to have such clinics offered in Meadow Lake.

“When I took these clinics, they weren’t available here and I had to travel to North Battleford to take them,” Andersen said. “It’s also nice to see so many volunteers once again step forward to support minor hockey. These people take time out of their own lives to coach our kids hockey, and without these volunteers there wouldn’t be a minor hockey program in Meadow Lake.”

by Phil Ambroziak