Our Mission is to provide the youth of the City of Long Beach and surrounding communities an affordableplace to play ice hockey while maintaining afocus on having fun, quality coaching andcontinual skill development throughout all levels.
There was an article on SI.com (in 2010) written by Darren Elliott that I think can apply to some of the dynamics that occur in youth hockey outside of the elite levels. Elliott, a former NHL goalie who played his college hockey at Cornell wrote a story based on the observations and assessments of Claude Loiselle. At the time he was the Assistant GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Loiselle is now a colleague of mine with the Toronto Maple Leafs in a similar position and had a long and successful career as a role player in the NHL (Detroit, Quebec, NJ, NYI among his stops). Some of you parents might remember his tremendous contributions defensively and on special teams with the 1993 Islanders that went all the way to the Wales Conference Finals (after upsets of the Caps and defending champion Penguins).
The major gist of his presentation dealt with older AAA players in a southern based youth hockey organization but his message is one that could be a theme for our organization as we move forward and continue to grow. Our goal is to build an organization from the bottom up that will eventually move from Tier III to Teir II and hopefully beyond. We hope to have more teams, more coaches, and more players be a part of what becomes a model youth hockey organization on Long Island.
Loiselle’s message was that as you grow roles can and will change. While that is a fact, your importance does not change despite a new role or set of responsibilities.
As you get older you might go from the best player on your team to a team of players that were the best on theirs. Some players (or in most cases their parents) think that they were the best on their last team and build a false sense of what they really are as a player. I see it all the time at the NCAA, USHL, and even the Eastern Junior Hockey League level.
Role changes also apply for coaches and administrators. Head Coaches become Assistant Coaches or specialty coaches. Coaches become administrators. New challenges arise that need people to give up what they really love to do to play a role that the organization really needs. Noel Henck is an example, going from Mite Coach to one of our key administrators in an off ice capacity. Joe Brand has done similar. I was a coach my whole post playing career but learned how to become a good scout to help my career and hold a job in that capacity with an NHL organization.
Role player sometimes gets a negative connotation. People think of role players as third or fourth line grinders, guys who just bang and chips pucks in. Role players can be at times the glue that makes your teams stick together. Think of “The Crash Line” of the 1998 Red Wings, a line of Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby, and Kris Draper. While Yzerman, Federov, Shanahan, Lidstrom, Larionov, Holmstrom and Rafalski did the high profile work, the Crash Line scored huge goals, killed penalties, set the tone physically and played a huge role. Loiselle had s similar role on that 1993 team with guys like Tom Fitzgerald, Brian Mullen, and Mick Vukota. They made important things happen and facilitated the stars being able to do their job.
Elliott and Loiselle hammered home the message in the piece and it is one that every coach will preach to his team and every GM will drill home to his hockey operations staff as the season starts.
“Those that continue to put the time and effort will come to understand the importance of the collective when it comes to successful hockey.”
For us on and off the ice at LBAC our goal is simple. Work hard, work smart, and never mistake effort for execution.