This season marks the fourth year of the OMHA Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site. We asked for nominations of deserving coaches and after much deliberation, AJ Wheaton of the Parry Sound U13 team was selected as the Coach of the Month for January.
Here's his story as told by his nomination:
I can’t think of a more difficult year to be involved in minor hockey than this year, especially for our coaches who must not only know all the protocols and new rules, but they must enforce them with players. Coach Wheaton loves the game of hockey and coaching so much, that despite the fact he does not have any players on our team, he still volunteers his time to coach our team.
My son describes Coach Wheaton as always being very positive! He gives them feedback when the make mistakes in a positive way that helps them makes corrections, and always makes hockey fun despite the changes that they are playing and practicing through. My son also shares that he believes Coach Wheaton understands that this is not an easy time for kids and brings humor and jokes to practice and the bench to keep it fun.
As a parent, I see player development and constructive coaching, and acceptance among players. We have our rep players intermixed with our local league players, and we have goalies with little to no experience, and Coach Wheaton encourages all players on an individual basis as well as bringing his team together collectively. This is no easy job! Coach Wheaton creates a weekly video message for players, debriefing their game from the previous week and items they need to work on.
My son also realizes how fortunate he is to still be playing hockey, and that is largely in part because of volunteers like Coach Wheaton, and his dedication to the game of hockey. Coach Wheaton continues to create a safe, welcoming, and productive player experience despite the challenges of the pandemic, which is why he is so deserving of the OMHA Coach of the Month!