Don MacAdam Award in Hockey at the University of New Brunswick

There are a few things in life that are special beyond the normal use of the word. This scholarship is in this ‘special’ category for me.

2011 was the first year for the award and a young defenseman  from Edmonton, Alberta, Bretton Stamler, was the winner. I was at the first game Bretton played for UNB and my thought then watching him play was that he was going to be special. I am happy to say that is exactly what Bretton has become to the program.

Here is part of the award description…The successful recipient must possess a high level of physical fitness, have an outstanding work ethic, be community-minded and a team leader on and off the ice. The recipient must have demonstrated successful academic performance (minimum 2.5 scholarship grade point average)…awarded on the recommendation of the Athletic Director in consultation with the UNB hockey coach.

Donor: Alumni of the 1983-84 UNB men’s hockey team.

The 1983-84 UNB players fall into that same ‘special’ category for me. I have never coached a finer group of players who are even better people.

Below is 2011-12 winner Bretton Stamler.

Making a Coaching Change During the Season

Few can imagine why a coaching change would be made during the season unless those in power felt compelled to do so. Regardless of the reasons, here are some points to consider by those involved-management initiating the change, and the coach coming on board.

  • Do your homework.

Have all avenues to correct the existing situation been explored? Communication is the key here. If all have been explored, it is time to pull the trigger on the change.

Have the players been playing to their ability and is the team framework allowing this

to happen? If not, then a change likely is necessary.

Does the new coach know what the goals of the organization are? He had better!

Has management addressed concerns to the new coach?

Have resources been made available to allow for success?

  • Watch the team play with an analytical eye.

Management should know the level the team and individual players are capable of.

The new coach should take the opportunity to watch his new team as an objective observer.

  • Plan for a smooth transition.

Be sure all the right people have been contacted in advance and there are no surprises after an official announcement has been made.

Have a plan to move the old coach along in an expedient and dignified way. This can be done in a professional and classy way, with planning.

  • Get up to speed quickly.

Know exactly what needs to be changed and immediately start making changes. Players will want to see things happening in a new and improved way.

  • Define roles.

Meet with each player and staff member as soon as possible and have all very clear

on their role with the team.

Don’t assume that people know what you want and expect from them. You need to

clearly communicate what you want to each person individually.

Expectations need to be established and shared throughout the team.

  • Build a new culture.

Start with respect for each other. Demand basic things like common courtesy to each other and saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. This might sound corny, but it works.

Lines of communication should always be clearly defined and free flow of information will follow. Lots of little meetings and informal chats work well.

I took over a team two weeks ago. There were 22 games left in a 68 game schedule. The team was not in a playoff spot and sliding in the opposite direction.

We have two wins and a tie in our first four games and we followed the plan laid out here. Hopefully it will continue to work.