Earlier in the month we asked for nominations of deserving coaches for the OMHA Coach of the Month presented by The Coaches Site. After much deliberation of over 60 entries, Dan Curtis of the Halton Hills Thunder Minor Atom AA was selected as the Coach of the Month for November.
Here's his story as told by his nomination:
Coach Dan is an amazing coach. He exemplifies everything a coach should be by first and foremost being a positive influence in these boys’ lives. He is able to get his point across in a positive yet meaningful way. He has recently had to overcome his own personal battle with cancer yet he still managed to maintain a positive attitude with not only the boys on the bench but the entire coaching staff as well as the parents. ‘Win or lose, the games mean nothing’ is his motto and they move on to the next challenge. His pre-game prep talks are so motivational that even us parents want to go and conquer the world. I couldn’t have picked a better coach for my son.
We spoke to Coach Dan about what being a coach means to him. He has coached in the Halton area in various age groups since he was 17 and now coaches some of the kids of his former players from years ago.
If you have an opportunity to mould a young boy or girl and let them know the more important things in life such as teamwork, respect for your town, respect for your players and friends and parents and stuff like that that I think has kind of gone away over the last 10 years because of the internet. I think it’s important that we have the opportunities to do that, that parents and volunteers have to step up to make our area a better area or our world a better world. To me, there’s so much going on and I think I can make a difference, even if it’s only 17 nine year olds.
Hockey’s a great sport. We all know that, we all love it. I love it, I still play. I want these boys to be able to play with their buddies their whole life. If they make something out of the sport, great. If they enjoy being with their friends and understand it’s a team thing and you take that team thing into work and into school, we’ve done a good job as coaches. I think that’s what coaches don’t get credit for.
We have rules. Simple rules such as you dress appropriately, you tuck your shirt in, you make sure your shoes are tied up and you wear your baseball cap forward. Those are the rules as far as you’re representing your town. What I do is I instill to them that there’s nobody more important than the guys sitting in this dressing room because they’re part of a different family that you have. You’re all leaders in your community so when you go to school, just like you do here at the rink, whatever you’ve got going on at school, whether that’s bullying, you guys are the ones that have to step up because you guys are athletes.
I think as a coach you really need to understand who your players are. At the end of the day, I’m a very competitive guy, I would love to win every single game. But the outcome of that game really is meaningless if the child doesn’t come along. I think if you coach well from the standpoint of teaching them the good things and teaching them how to compete and telling them all the important things that the games and the scores will take care of themselves. I think if you coach as a coach to win, you lose out on what your actual job is as a coach.
The team, they taped their sticks with the tape of the cancer, everything’s Coach Dan and they put stickers on their helmets. To see that kind of stuff, they probably really don’t know what your sickness is, they just know that you’re sick and you got to try to get better. To see them every day makes you get better because you want to be part of that. You want to be part of the good things, so you fight through all your adversities because of those kids and the parents too. The parents were unbelievable as well. It’s the support that you get and you need that.
At the end of the day, you’ve got to count on people and lean on people when things don’t go your way. That’s really important. I come to the rink and those kids make me laugh. I tell the parents all the time, some of the stuff you hear in the dressing room will just make you laugh, like a real bad gut laugh because they’re so funny, some of the things that they say. It’s the kids just being themselves and wanting to be there and wanting to do what’s right for everybody.
Know a coach who deserves to be recognized as Coach of the Month? Use the form below and tell us all about them!
Please note that all previous submissions are still eligible for upcoming Coach of the Month awards and do not need to be resubmitted.
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