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, Adam Syring of the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs Minor Bantam AAA team was selected as the Coach of the Month for February.
Here's his story as told by his nomination:
“Coach Adam is 33 years old and has been our head coach for the past three seasons. He not only coaches my AAA team which take a huge amount of his personal time - always organizing the best development practices, attending all games and tournaments but he also coaches the high school girl’s team. Coach Adam is also a Halton Police Officer. In my opinion he dedicates his whole life to giving back - both professional and personally as a dedicated coach. Just when you think he is busy enough, he is a member of the board of directors for the Hamilton Bulldogs because he wanted to help off the ice as well.
For the past three years he has spearhead the Hockey Fights Cancer Fundraiser which is run during the Bulldogs tournament. Just this past tournament (Dec 1-3) we raised over $5000 for the McMaster Children’s Hospital Cancer Ward. This was all Coach Adam’s idea which started off the first year selling laces to the teams to wear during the tourney tournament. It has grown to not only laces but hats and t-shirts, each year getting bigger and bigger with 100% going to the kids of the Cancer unit. Coach Adam has taught us that hockey is more than a game. It is about giving back. Our team also did the Neon Run for Cancer for the last two years.
Coach Adam is the most unselfish, kind, dedicated person who is always thinking about others before himself. What other 33 year old guy who has a stressful job as it is loves hockey so much he coaches two teams? These are just some of the reasons Coach Adam derseves to be Coach of the Month.”
Coach Adam grew up playing minor hockey in Hamilton and later became an the OMHA referee. After several years, he turned to the coaching to give back to the game. He started coaching his nephew in 2002 and from there progressed up through the ages and levels, coaching everything from house league to AAA.
When I began the 2015-16 season I learned that one of my player's brothers, who was also a former Jr. Bulldog, had been diagnosed with cancer. I started to ask questions surrounding the experience. From there, I learned just how many kids are affected at such young ages and the impact it has on families. I decided to see how hockey could do something to give back and support these kids/families who were fighting cancer.
Sandra Buch was a mom on my team who’s son was fighting cancer. Her and I came up with the red lace idea. Since 2015, we have been able to raise over $15,000 with great support from local businesses and minor hockey teams who participate in the Jr. Bulldogs tournament in December. The last couple of years at the tournament we have had minor hockey players that are also cancer survivors join us for the first puck drop. Thanks to everyone who has supported this initiative over the past three years.
Over the three seasons we have seen some players go and some new faces arrive, but the majority of our players have remained the same. Over the years I’ve seen these players grow and mature not only on the ice but off the ice as well. Seeing the players assist with our Hockey Fights Cancer initiative and listening to them speak during television/radio interviews about the initiative makes me proud to see how mature and professional the players have become.
I think my job has allowed me to help these players with some key life lessons. In my work respect, honesty, team goals and visions are key values spoken about. I continue to preach these to my team and speak about the importance of these values not only in the game, but in different aspects of life. Each season we do team building activities away from the rink to teach the players about working together for a common goal and how communication is such a key component to life.
While hockey is a primary focus, all athletes should be well rounded and understand what teamwork is about. I also believe that community service is an important element for youth to be taught and hopefully this is something that my players will take with them well beyond their minor hockey years.
As a coach I always think back to what I liked and didn’t like about my coaches playing hockey and I try to continue the positive things that made me love the game so much. I try to teach these kids about hockey and life while reminding them that this is a game we should love and want to play. In today’s society kids have a lot of pressure and we try to take pressure away from the kids and tell them to have fun and enjoy these moments as the working world will be here before they know it.
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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