Sunday, April 8, 2018

Reflections from a Coach

This past weekend the hockey world was shaken due to the tragedy of the Humboldt Broncos. It really hit hard for me as a coach at this level and the amount of times we are on the bus.  My heart breaks for all those affected by this. I grew up an hour away and went to my first SJHL game in Humboldt to see my moms cousin play when I was 5 years old.  I have friends who played for the Broncos. People say the hockey world is small and it is.  We have current players, recruits and alumni who played with and against some of these players who were injured and who passed away. We have alumni who played for Coach Haugan who was a good coach and an even better person.  I got to meet and talk with him over the years about players and I cannot believe he is gone. All weekend as a coach you cannot stop thinking about all the players who have played for you and have gotten on that bus with you. You cannot stop thinking about the families affected.  For all the people that are in that community who are in mourning. It is just so sad and heart breaking.

I have had the opportunity to ride buses for 3 years in juniors, 4 years in college and all my years of coaching.  As most players you ask, the bus is a place where you bond as a team.  It is where you watch movies, especially Slap Shot (over and over again).  The vets rule the back of the bus.  You get to know one another, get to learn about their goals, their dreams, and their families.  This is the place where my teammates became my best friends.   As a coach I might not get that as much but I still learn about players and their goals, their struggles, their triumphs, and their families. I love looking back and seeing guys together and becoming closer. It is a joy of coaching and seeing these kids turn into young men. It is where you get to see different parts of the country, or another country. The bus is a bond that all junior and college players have and one that most cherish.

This tragedy has really hit me hard and it has brought much reflection on my career in hockey:
Thank you to all my former coaches:
            I learned so much from you not only about hockey but about life. I am grateful for our paths crossing.
Thank you to all my teammates:
           So many good people and good times. I always gave my best and wanted to be a good teammate. I loved hitting the ice with you. It is great keeping in touch with a lot of you today.
Thank you to all my billets:
          You took me in to your home and I consider you family. I appreciate everything you did for me and the friendships made. 
Thank you to all the support people:
           All the people behind the scenes, the bus drivers, parents, faculty, staff, administration, management, scouts, trainers, rink personnel, referees, etc. Too many to mention but Thank you.
Thank you to all my Assistant Coaches:
           Words cannot do justice on what you mean to me.  I am truly blessed.  We have been through the good and not so good. I love all of you and thank you for being apart of what we are about here at Lumberjack Hockey.
Thank you to the Hockey Community:
            All the camps, clinics, coaches met, players met, people met through hockey, I am truly blessed. Lets keep promoting this game in a positive matter.
Thank you to the Bottineau Comunity and Lumberjack Alumni:
            Lumberjack Hockey and Bottineau have a special bond and that is because we care about the community and the community cares about us. Your support is very special. To the Alumni we want you to be proud of our teams and be proud you wore the Lumberjack jersey. 
Thank you to my family:
          The sacrifices made by them to do something I love is amazing. It breaks my heart when I miss concerts, games, and family time but thank you for understanding and for the support. Codi you are my best friend and all I can say is thank you and I love you. To my children Riley, Emma, and Ellee I am proud of who you are becoming and cannot wait to see you make a difference in the world. My parents for all the things you sacrificed so I could play the game I love.  All the driving, money spent, and the support throughout the years.  Also thank you to my siblings, their families and in laws as you have helped me become who I am.
Thank you to all my players who have worn the Lumberjack jersey:
          I consider you guys my children. Thank you for all that you have done for me growing as a coach and a person.  I need to say it more but I am so proud of you on the people you have become and are becoming.  You hold a special place in my heart and I love you all.  Thank you for coming to Bottineau and becoming a Lumberjack.

God Bless.

Long Live Those Lumberjacks!           

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Final Countdown - Thank you NJCAA Hockey

February 23, 2017

Well today we are on the eve of the final NJCAA National Tournament. After this tournament NJCAA Hockey will no longer be a sport through the National Junior College Athletic Association. It is bittersweet as this is a good place for many kids to start their hockey and schooling and there is so many good people involved at our level through the years and currently. I was a player in 1996-1998 when we had many teams at the National level. I got a great start, met some great people, and saw some great places. In 1998 I played on a Championship team that we won in Buffalo, NY. I still keep in touch with many guys. I also got a great start on my education by some great instructors and coaches. In 2001 I got hired at MSU-Bottineau and was ready for my 5 year plan. Well I am in year 16 and still get that feeling in my stomach before play-offs or National Tournaments.  There are so many good guys who have been involved since I started coaching at the Juco level. We had a great group of coaches with Earl Utter, Pat Martin, Shom Datta, Matt Alvey, Garry Rost and Craig Chamberlain to name a few over the years. Great memories of being fortunate to win championships with young men who worked there tails off for me.  Winning one at home was very special but I can honestly say every one that we won had special memories and I remember them like it was yesterday.  We had great games and tournaments at Morrisville. I still can't believe we lost to them, two years in a row, in overtime, scored by the same player, on the same spot on the ice. Even though we spent a lot of money having to come out for the tournament, it was worth it and  I am very proud because we kept Juco hockey alive at the National Level. Unfortunately we have run out of time and teams. We have made many good memories on these trips, and I know we will continue in the future but it won't be the same.  I hope we can win #10 this weekend and bring back the final one to Bottineau.  It was a good run for NJCAA Hockey and we were happy to be a part of it.  I want to thank all our players past and present for all we have done at our NJCAA level, all the success of Lumberjack Hockey is because of the people we have had wearing the Jersey.  Thank you to all the coaches, we have gone against over the years. We have had some good battles and that respect was always there, as I know how hard you worked for your programs. It was a pleasure playing you and your teams at the National Tournaments over the years.  Thank you to all the Administration at the NJCAA level. You guys were always fair and tried to help expand our sport the past 7 years or so to keep it alive. Thanks to Tom LaPuma, Mick McDaniel, Jeff Wiley, Buster Gilliss, Kevin Salisbury, Michael Teague, Brian Beck, Mary Ellen Leicht, and I am sure I am missing a few.  Thank you to Broome CC for hosting this last championship and Brett, Michael, and John do a fantastic job and we are happy to be here. Hopefully one day we will have NJCAA Hockey again.  Let's have a great final weekend of Hockey and as always.....LONG LIVE THOSE LUMBERJACKS

Monday, December 12, 2016

End of First Semester

Well we did not finish on how we wanted too last Thursday. We the loss against WSC we finished with a record of 7-2-1. We had a lot of positives the first semester now we have to finish hard in the classroom. We will take this break to recharge the batteries and make sure we are ready for a  very difficult second semester. We have been lead thus far by our two main leaders are Captain Nial Mills and Assistant Captain Goaltender Kenny Fitzgerald. We now have to pick it up a notch and accept roles. 2017 will be a good year for the Lumberjacks.

Long Live Those Lumberjacks!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Well the first quarter of the season as gone well for us thus far. We have had a good start and our record sits at 7-1-1.  We will have one more game before the end of the semester as we travel to Williston to face the Tetons.  They are currently ranked #1 in the West of the ACHA so it will be a good test for the Jacks.

23Nial MillsSoF9910198+21200010
21Zach GarrettFrF957128+21000000
8Reed LinkFrD966128+02000010
15Matt MiniaciSoF757122-10000010
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94Charles JolySoF91786-10000000
7Wesley CallensSoD92460+10000000
44Tyler LarsonFrD93254+00000000
89Cody LongieSoD90558+10000000
77Austyn LorenzFrF62352+10000000
14Adrian MaassFrD81458+10000000
16Austin BissonnetteSoF931410+00000000
74David BuresSoD91344+10000000
91Noah GrantSoF94044+03000000
55Kyler MooreFrF62134-10000000
20Jonathan SundellFrD80330+10000000
33Garrett RasmussonSoD90226+00000000
2Jimmy AndersonSoD40110+00000000
6Jesse MendelSoD90118+00000000
17Parker SharpFrF11010+00000000
9Harrison AideFrF---0---------
29Dillon BeaudoinFrG10000+00000000
11Josh ColleauxFrF---0---------
35Kenny FitzgeraldSoG70000+00000000
5Braden PeweFrD50002+00000000
31Jay PringleFrG20000+00000000
42Alex StrehleFrF---0---------