2007-08 was a season to remember. Before we even stepped on the ice, it was safe to say that the expectations for this edition of the Bantam team at the North Shore Winter Club in North Vancouver weren’t exactly through the roof. Our team was quite “vertically challenged” - so much so that we were often mistaken for a Pee Wee team. They also had a head coach without any hockey experience - whose athletic background was in football.
The season began as most predicted - a little bumpy, but this group of young men quickly came together as a team. When all was and done, they played like giants, proving that it truly is “not the size of the dog in the fight - but the size of the fight in the dog.”
They won a banner in their division playing against a team that was bigger, faster, and more skilled - but not better on this day. They were also awarded the League Achievement and Sportsmanship Banner for their division. To cap off the season they went undefeated in an exhibition tournament on Vancouver Island. They out-scored their opponents 25-3 over the course of the 4 games. These young men proved game-in and game-out that your body’s biggest muscle truly is your heart.
Part of the credit goes to a group of dedicated parents who made up the rest of the coaching staff but what was most helpful was the Hockey Canada Bantam Manual.
To use football terminology it was our “Playbook”. The basic principles for success in athletics are the same no matter what sport you play, or at what level you play - whether it is Pro football or Bantam hockey. However, the Skills and Development Manual is an excellent teaching aid - especially for a rookie head coach. Each week I would design our practice schedule around drills that were offered in the manual. No matter what area of concern there was from our previous game – there was always a drill that would sharpen our skills.
I have been fortunate enough in my athletic career to be part of a Grey Cup Championship team and I can honestly say, without doubt, the 2007-08 season with the North Shore Winter Club’s Bantam Hawks was a season I will never forget. Thanks to Hockey Canada!
North Shore Winter Club Bantam Hawks
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