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Get to Know March's Coach of the Month

By The Coaches Site, 03/14/24, 10:15AM EDT


Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site

This season marks the sixth year of the OMHA Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site. We asked for nominations of deserving coaches and after much deliberation, Trevor Cook of the South Muskoka Bears U13 D team was selected as the Coach of the Month for March and the final one of the season.

Here's his story as told by his nomination:

The U13 D South Muskoka Bears team is so very fortunate to have Assistant Coach Trevor on our bench. His enthusiasm, knowledge of the game, passion for teaching and ability to connect with the players has helped the players grow tremendously through the season, but what truly sets him apart is he does this for our team as a non-parent (his son is on the U15 B team and he could’ve been on their bench). He chooses to be on our team’s bench because he knows how important this age group is for development.

From creating a play and skills resources the kids can easily understand to playing street hockey with the kids in the parking lot of the hotel in -30 degree weather during a snow storm - he does this for the love of the game!

Balancing our schedule with that of his child is not an easy feat - at times driving more than 2 hours in between games. His commitment to our team has been unwavering.

As a parent of an 11 year old kid on the team, I couldn’t be more grateful to have Coach Trevor on the bench as he tirelessly works to help the individuals develop in skill, learn the game and grow their love for the sport. Thank you, Coach!

What is your background in hockey and coaching this team?

I grew up playing hockey in Orillia. Hockey was everything when I was a kid. We played hockey wherever we could. Even my favorite player and team on my soccer card was Gretzky and the Florida panthers. I never had the opportunity to play Rep level but I had the opportunity to represent on select teams throughout the years while playing house league. Although I have coached in other sports this is my second year as a coach in hockey. I started as a head coach and this year the opportunity to Assist came up and I jumped on it. I am very appreciative to be a part of an amazing bench that has lead this team to compete at OMHA's this year. We are all very excited for what the future holds.

What are your responsibilities as an Assistant Coach as a part of the coaching staff?

Being a part of a bench staff means that you are part of a team behind the players. I was once told that being an Assistant is actually the most fun you can have on the bench. You get to focus on player relationships and fun without the pressure of being a Head Coach. There is a lot truth to that. As a previous head coach, I tried to emulate the support I had from my Assistant coach. He was amazing to work with and had set the bar high for me. My role on this team is to support, energize, and communicate with the players during practices and games. During games I am usually found with a board in my hand talking to the players and showing them visually what we need to accomplish and why. Practices are my favorite though. Being on skates and being active in the drills with the players allows time to break down movements to better understand how to teach them. Also, as an assistant I enjoy having the time create a fun competitive atmosphere allowing the players to push themselves and each other. This includes occasionally challenging me to a drill or a race. I still hold the team record for the fastest lap!

What are some keys to development at the U13 age group?

From my perspective the main element to development is fun. As a coach you have to find ways to make hard work and dedication more fun than just skating laps or goalies facing a thousand shots in practice. We started at the basic fundamentals of edge work, skating, passing, and shooting. This really helped structure our practices to incorporate easy drills to start where we could add in some technical difficulty. I think that is key in developing a wide range of talent. U13 has players that move up the next year so it is important to teach the game and positioning to prepare for the next level with body checking. My philosophy has always been that the focus should not be just on this year, but having the ability and confidence to know they are ready for the next level, as it is a big step for many.

Positive motivation is also big at this level. It is always important to recognize the positives in any situation while being able to discuss corrective actions as well. To help aid in teaching the game I utilized Youtube instructional videos and a playbook to explain terminology, systems, positioning, and strategic play. Kids learn in a variety of ways so it helps them to understand the concepts. There is just not enough ice time to teach it all.

Why do you volunteer as a non-parent coach?

As a seasonal business owner I have the ability to slow down in the winter. Coaching allows me to stay active, have fun, and share my passion for hockey and the lessons it teaches us. Coaching in itself is a very rewarding experience. My team this year is a blast to hang out at the rink with, we all get along really well and have fun.  It really does not matter who you coach as long as you have a positive impact in their lives. This is why I stepped up and was involved in the majority of the association tryouts (U9-U18), pre season skates, first shift program, and helping with other teams practices or benches during games. All minor hockey associations are run by volunteers and there are just not enough of them.

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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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