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March's Coach of the Month Has Been Revealed

By The Coaches Site, 03/26/21, 3:00PM EDT


Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site

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, Graham Baird of Essa was selected as the Coach of the Month for March.

Here's his story as told by his nomination:

I can honestly say in the last few months he has worked as many hours as anyone in minor hockey. He has met with coaches of existing teams developing practice plans, audited practices, provided feedback and imparted his knowledge on all involved.

With the help of a local body builder he has developed a twice a week off ice training ;program that he has opened to a common bubble of kids. They have become better athletes not only on the ice but overall. These kids are well conditioned and well trained. In six weeks the practice plans have become increasingly more difficult and he is bringing more out of the kids in six weeks than I can honestly say anyone has expected.

Listening to the kids come off the ice tired but at the same time excited is incredible. He has the perfect fit mentality to be tough on the kids but at the same time garner their respect. I have never seen a coach run the drills with the kids. No matter if it's the warm ups, cool downs or through the practice. He is constantly encouraging kids and providing corrections hitting home with each of the kids.

Coach Graham played minor hockey in Innisfil and Cookstown and still plays in a men's league. He has been a coach for nine seasons, starting when his son's team needed volunteers. He quickly realized he could share his passion for hockey this way.


You’ve incorporated dryland training for your players. Why is that important to you for this season?

Dryland training is especially important right now more than ever. Ice time has been limited, but we have been striving to provide the structure of the game and physical exertion for the kids - they desperately need it for their growing minds and bodies. We want them “ready to go” for game situations next year, and “no man (woman) left behind” in their personal development. I’m a huge believer in using dryland training to support on-ice training in that it teaches hard work, develops strategic thinking, and requires effort, which culminates in kids that can work under pressure, and make smart decisions – fast.

You’re also a volunteer administrator with Essa Minor Hockey. Why is volunteering so important to you?

Volunteering is important to me because I put a high value on community involvement. If no one volunteered these programs could fall apart, which would be a shame. It is important to me that all kids have the opportunity to be part of a team that builds them up and makes them feel good. I really appreciated my hockey experience growing up and this is a way that I could give back in a tangible way.

You’ve collaborated with other coaches to develop practice plans. How have you found this to be beneficial?

Coaches that are prepared with a practice plan have way more success than coaches that are unprepared. I believe that communicating with other coaches in a collaborative way creates a stronger organization as a whole. As the director of development for EMHA I am constantly in contact with our coaches and they know that support is always available. It’s not just about the kid’s development, it’s also about developing our coaches.

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The Coaches Site is comprised of individuals who have first hand experience in hockey as players, coaches, managers and parents from minor hockey, to junior hockey, international competition and all the way to the NHL. The Coaches Site offers a platform that supports coaches and a positive competitive culture at rinks around the world.

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