This season marks the third year of the OMHA Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site. We asked for nominations of deserving coaches and after much deliberation, Mike Kipp of the Paris Wolfpack Atom Rep team was selected as the Coach of the Month for December.
Here's his story as told by his nomination:
Mike has been involved in coaching in Paris minor hockey for 30 years. He gave his time and experience to the organization before his kids were involved and after his kids were finished he is still involved. Mike coached me when I was in Bantam and he was my assistant coach 25 years later when I coached the Bantam team myself. This year he is on the bench for the Atom rep team. Not only does he coach in the winter but he also helps run non-profit skating and drill sessions with over 100 kids all summer long.
Mike treats all of his players fairly and with a tremendous amount of respect and in return they all love and respect him for it. He's coached at every age level and has the same approach with each group he coaches, show the kids a love of the game. He's been a very valuable asset to Paris minor hockey and the kids always gravitate towards his positive coaching values. He is the first one at the rink every game and practice and the last one to leave. He's always made sure his players best interest in every aspect of life come first.
Coach Mike started playing at the age of 4 and continued playing minor hockey right up to junior. He still wanted to be involved in the game after playing and became an assistant coach where he learned that there is more to hockey than what happens on the ice. Since then he has been on the bench in some capacity throughout his son’s time in minor hockey as both a trainer and assistant coach. No matter what role he takes he enjoys how they respect the coaches and work hard to be the best they can be individually and as a team, on and off the ice. He now coaches alongside his son as well as one of his former players and their kid. On top of that, Mike has also been a referee.
Last year I coached a Bantam team and this year an Atom team so I definitely have to adjust the styles of coaching a bit. The team and game aspect is the same but I find we work more on personal skills at a young age group. We try to get their speed and agility level up ready for the next level of hockey.
Being from a small town, giving back to my community is important because if it is only my time I have to give up to help some kids enjoy this great game it is well worth the effort. Something else that is great in a small community is the help and volunteering that you receive from parents. This year one of the parents from our team organized an equipment drive to get equipment flown into Northern communities which don’t have the resources. It is a neat feeling when you can coach a kid then years later see them behind the bench giving back in the same way. Having your son ask if he can help on the bench too means you did something right!
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I think developing a love for the game comes from within but if we can show them how much fun the game can be and the lifelong friendships we make along the way they will realize how much more you can get out of hockey than just a game. Sometimes you focus on the effort, not the outcome, and no matter what the age or caliber it is a great way to spend time with others. When coaching the younger kids you have to ensure development with drills and systems but you also have to make sure you are making it fun or they look at it as work. As the kids get older you work them harder but continue to have fun with them to keep them interested and enjoying themselves.
Please note that all previous submissions are still eligible for upcoming Coach of the Month awards and do not need to be resubmitted.