skip navigation

The Tale of the Undersized Defenceman

By Aaron Wilbur, The Coaches Site, 11/18/20, 9:30AM EST


Becoming a solution-based player

Mike Weaver never stopped working. At 5’8” and 185 lbs, many touted him as being undersized, especially for a defenceman. Weaver learned what he excelled at and what he knew his skillset offered, turning it into 11 NHL seasons manning the blueline. Now retired, the Brampton native has taken on his next challenge as co-founder and CEO of CoachThem.

CoachThem is the ultimate digital asset for coaches at every level of the game. By making practice planning and drill creation more efficient and effective, their platform enhances how coaches lead their teams. Their tools make it simple to collaborate and share with your fellow coaches, and streamline the communication with your players so everyone’s in the know before hitting the ice. With CoachThem, you’ll spend less time preparing and more time teaching, connecting with your group and providing the best possible hockey experience.

“I figured out at an early age what I was very good at. Sure, I evolved my skills but I didn’t play outside of my skillset. I didn’t go and try and score goals. I knew that I was very good at passing the puck out, that was my best asset was getting that puck away from somebody and passing it clean right on the tape every single time,” said Weaver. “I played within my means. With every problem that I had, I found a solution. I was a solution-based player.”

Growing up, Weaver would often skate at a family friend’s backyard rink. He credits this as to where he learned his balance, navigating the inconsistent ice surface and the tree that often got in the way. It was here he perfected his passing and never stopped working on the skill.

“Everyone has to understand that there are not 20 goal scorers on a team. There’s not 20 playmakers on a team. There’s a little bit of everything. You have your coach that has to put this puzzle together and it’s not the same shapes.”

The last year has given everyone time to reflect on what’s is really important in life. Now that we have hockey back and kids have returned to the rink, providing a positive distraction and an outlet to a sense of normalcy should be the main focus for coaches and parents.

“As long as you’re creating a fun environment for the kids to just be themselves. You’ve got to remember that kids come from households that some of them are strict, some of them are not, you’ve got them going to school, they’re tired. It’s their one hour of getting to the rink and just be a kid and have fun and enjoy it. It’s something that a lot of coaches get so caught up in to winning and not realizing that’s not the objective.”

Working under the OHF Return to Hockey Framework, we are reminded that safety remains the top priority for all participants.

“I know the kids really want to play in games. At the end of the day the kids just want to have fun. The parents get really annoyed, they’re the ones pushing for games… who really wants to play – is it you or your kid?”

Like this article?

Share with your friends on Facebook and join the largest network of hockey parents.


Aaron is the Founder and CEO of The Coaches Site, the #1 online resource for hockey coaches, and also the host of the Glass & Out podcast. He is married with two boys, believes Major League is the best sports movie of all-time, is scared of heights and is mildly obsessed with the Alabama Crimson Tide football program.

you may also like