Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Secrets Coaches Share

I know there's always talk of the bond or fraternity among those who hold the same positions, but I was always under the impression that these people never really crossed over too often into other leagues. Jon Rempel, head coach of the Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team, is a well-respected coach among his peers in Canada West and certainly at the national level after winning the U SPORTS Coach of the Year award this spring. I wasn't aware, however, that he and Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice had been chatting over the last few weeks with the Jets getting ready for the playoffs. Apparently, though, they have!

As Paul Maurice took to the podium yesterday to address the media prior to Game Four in the Jets-Wild series, he was asked a very specific question. What surprised was that Paul Maurice gave a very specific response, and it was pretty incredible to think that he mentioned Jon Rempel and something Jon had mentioned about his Bisons women's hockey team this year. Have a watch of the press conference as Maurice singles out what Jon told him.

The transcript of what Maurice said is posted here.
It's funny that Paul Maurice would bring this up because it's something that Jon Rempel said he's really worked on this season with the ladies. He stated that he used to go into the room and yell and scream and rant and rave, hoping that the message he was sending would sink in with the players. Where Jon made a revelation is that while that style of coaching may work for some, it does more harm than good for others. Instead, Jon has been a lot more positive in his messages, worked on getting to know the players a lot better, and encouraged the players to get to know one another so that he can get the best out of them day-in and day-out. You can see real friendships had formed on the Bisons squad this year, and they had themselves a record-setting year in almost all aspects of their season.

Sounds kinda like how the Jets season went, right?

With the Bisons winning the U SPORTS National Championship this season, I'd say that approach has worked pretty well for Jon. The women on the Bisons team literally bled for one another at times this season. They worked doggedly at times to try and pick a teammate up who was in a slump or having an "off game". There wasn't a time this season, having been around the team, where you wondered if they weren't willing to leave it all out on the ice because if someone's night was going poorly, three other women usually rallied that player back to her usual self.

Aren't we seeing that from the Jets right now in these playoffs?

I truly believe in what Paul Maurice said about a close-knit group sacrificing more for one another than a group who may not have those tight relationships. Team-building exercises are one of those things that some players may roll their eyes at, but those exercises aren't done to fill time. They're put in place so teammates get to know one another, chat with one another, and build those friendships with one another. If everyone looks out for everyone else, a team is stronger together.

The Bisons are living proof of that, and I tip my cap to Paul Maurice for giving some credit to Jon Rempel. He didn't have to drop Jon's name in the press conference, but Paul is a coach and he's giving credit to his brother in the coaching fraternity who has had some success. It takes some courage and humility to publicly recognize someone else whose name may not be familiar to NHL reporters, but Paul Maurice did a classy thing for a classy guy in Jon Rempel who may have found the top secret to any team's success.

Well done, Paul.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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