Calling all hockey moms.
Have you ever wanted to take on a bigger role in your son or daughter’s hockey life?
Now, with the help of Hockey Canada and the Coaching Association of Canada, there’s an opportunity for you to get more involved.
‘We Are Coaches’ is a new pilot project designed to increase the number of trained women coaches in Canada in order to provide additional female mentors and role models for young participants.
“We’re targeting a very specific group of females to get into the game,” said Julie Healy, Hockey Canada’s director of female hockey. “We’re trying to create a very comfortable learning environment so that getting involved in coaching isn’t intimidating for the moms who perhaps have never played and would like to coach their son or daughter.”
While moms are the target group, sisters, aunts and friends are also encouraged to get involved as well.
Last season a pair of coaching clinics for beginners were held in Antigonish, N.S., and Summerland, B.C. This year, the goal is to have each of Hockey Canada’s 13 branches host at least one clinic for interested women.
“The primary target is mothers,” said Dean McIntosh, Hockey Canada’s senior manager of coaching. “The idea is to get more female role models involved in coaching minor hockey.”
The clinics will be designed to provide women with the skills, support and sense of community they need to make a difference in a child’s life. They will provide participants with training in a comfortable, open and friendly forum to make their coaching experience as fun, easy and rewarding as possible.
“It’s a homogeneous learning environment,” noted Healy, “so it’s all women, making it less intimidating to start with because you’re not in there with a variety of different levels of experience and knowledge as you would be in a mixed coaching clinic.”
For those women who might not be as knowledgeable about the game as they’d like to be, instructors will help ease them into the clinics.
“There’s a segment of the course that’s called Hockey 101 and it’s the rules, the equipment and putting on the equipment,” Healy said. “It’s geared at the person who, perhaps, is new to the game.”
So far the feedback to the new initiative had been extremely positive, McIntosh said.
“We’re trying to make it as available and accessible as possible,” he said, noting that every effort will be made to provide daycare during the clinics if need be.
In just the second year of the pilot project, McIntosh realizes that it won’t produce a large influx of new coaches right off the bat.
“The women may not coach this year,” he said, noting that the goal is to give them guidance and confidence heading into upcoming seasons when they may start out as assistant coaches.
In the coming years, many of the women being trained now will most likely step to the forefront to help provide the instruction.
“Our hope is that the group now will be leaders down the road,” McIntosh said.
For further details from the Coaching Association of Canada, visit www.coach.ca/wearecoaches or call 1-866-414-COACH.
Also check out the female hockey section of the Hockey Canada website at www.hockeycanada.ca or contact your governing minor hockey branch for information on upcoming clinics in your area.