Hockey associations craft long term coaching plan

While people take golf clubs out of storage and tune up mountain bikes, Yukon hockey associations are already planning for next hockey season - and the one after that.

While people take golf clubs out of storage and tune up mountain bikes, Yukon hockey associations are already planning for next hockey season – and the one after that.

Hockey Yukon and the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association have developed a coaching strategy for the next two hockey seasons leading up to the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C.

“We want to get a healthy number of volunteer coaches in and then we’ll build our coaching teams towards two years of Mustangs play, the Arctic Winter Games cycle as well as the Canada Winter Games cycle,” said Whitehorse Minor Hockey president Carl Burgess. “Right now, it’s just a call-out. We want to show how much opportunity there is for folks interested in coaching and how much need there is for all the minor players.”

The two organizations are collecting applications for coaches, assistant coaches and managers for Whitehorse’s eight rep teams – the Mustangs.

Of the eight coaching staffs, three carry extra weight.

Coaching staff for the Midget A, the Bantam A and Female Mustangs would work with teams for the regular season, the 2014 Arctic Games and then the 2015 Canada Games.

Though the Mustangs teams and the Games teams don’t tend to be identical, there is usually a large amount of overlap between them. So having a coach familiar with the Mustang players can aid in coaching the Games team, said Burgess.

“The reason why we’re putting two years of coaching opportunities together in advance is to show what our goals are,” said Burgess. “Committing to those tournaments as organizations is also committing to those players who are going to compete.”

All the coaching positions are up for grabs. So even Louis Bouchard, for example, will go through the selection process, even though he has helped Yukon teams win medals at the last two Arctic Games and coached for Team Yukon at the Canada Winter Games.

“Louis has a long history and is one of our premier coaches and has a long track record of success as a coach,” said Burgess. “Every player has to try out for the team every year (and) we try to put the best coaching team together as well. They all go through it and they all welcome it. They’re competitive teams and competitive coaching teams as well.”

“Those 30-odd manager and coach positions are all volunteer,” he added. “We try to cover as much training cost as we can for coaches to move through the ranks. At the coaches’ level, their only compensation is that we try to reduce their travel burden when they have to travel with the team to tournaments.”

Whitehorse Minor recently announced it is also in the market to recruit a head coach for the entire league. The paid position has been made possible by an injection of $78,400 by the Community Development Fund at the start of the month.

“We’re looking for someone with a fair bit of experience … to help all of our coaches,” said Burgess. “Someone who has the time and all the dedicated resources to put together a development strategy for the entire league for the next three years.”

The application form for Mustangs/Games coaching positions can be found on Whitehorse Minor’s website. Applicants are asked to drop off the filled-out form at the Sport Yukon building with a coaching resume before the May 31 deadline.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com