Reflecting on Championship Season and Working with NHL Draft Prospect

When Mike Babcock was hired to be the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he said he didn’t want to just make the playoffs – he wanted to be involved in establishing a Stanley Cup Process. In short, organizational culture greatly influences the environment that the team operates in. Creating a “Cup Process” means everything and everyone, from ownership, hockey operations, coaching staff, management, right down through the player development team, and on to the medical team and scouting staff, would be on the same page and held accountable for living out the team culture. Creating a Culture of Success This is what it has been like for me for the past four years as a member of the Carleton Place Jr. A Canadians in the Central Canada Hockey League. The expectation of winning is there, but the organization’s culture, how it treats the community of Carleton Place, staff members, and volunteers are in place to ensure the club has what it takes to win.

For the third straight year, the team won the CCHL Bogart Cup championship and Fred Page Cup, and earned an appearance at the RBC Cup. We also fell short of winning the RBC Cup for the third straight year. It’s tough. It’s the big prize. But, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be proud of. There are 131 Junior ‘A’ teams in Canada and to achieve the level of success we have is truly special. The list is long, but here are just a few of the reasons why the Canadians have been so successful:

  • Accountability: Every player has a role and knows what their job is on and off the ice. There aren’t any secrets or surprises when players receive feedback on their performance. All that’s asked is that players perform to their potential. It’s not about how many goals are scored or saves are made, it’s about playing to your potential. That’s it. And each and every individual is held accountable for their performance.

  • Coaching and feedback: Players and coaching staff have weekly one on one meetings. During this time, feedback and coaching is delivered on player performance. Every player is given specific feedback on how they performed at practices and games during the week. I can tell you that not every meeting is about hockey. Conversations about life happen, too. Part of our culture is to develop people first, and hockey players second. Our culture coaching and feedback is all designed to help players grow and develop as people.

  • Video: Video is the key to our success, in my opinion. Hands down. Thanks to the great work by our video coaches (I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jamie Rintoul for three years, and Chris Cram this year), our coaching staff and players are prepared for games and have the ability to specifically address areas of personal development. Without our video coaches, and the work our head coach Jason Clarke pours into video, we don’t even come close to being as good as we have been in the past four years.


Working with NHL Prospect Colton Point

Canadians goalies Colton Point (left) and James Edwardson (right) pose with goalie coach Eli Rassi.