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Update from Hockey Director - Chris Wickersham

By Chris Wickersham, 12/10/21, 2:45PM CST


Random Thoughts

Hello Warrior families,

I wanted to touch base on a few topics.

First, I want to give a little insight to how our skill development is coming along. In my last email, I said we would begin working on a very difficult skill which involves the kids finding and utilizing the “flat of their blades”.  As expected, some players learned how to use/utilize “the flat” faster than others. We have continued to practice this, and each week the kids get more and more comfortable with it.  I would classify this last Monday as a “breakthrough week”, where we saw a high number of our players be able to effectively use this skill in a drill or game.

As someone who takes great pride in developing skill acquisition, I am absolutely thrilled to see these skills deployed in a game like setting!!! The next step is for our kids to transfer this from practice to games. We keep getting closer to this!! Please continue to encourage your kid(s) to:

a) continue to work hard to learn this skill, or;

b) work to transfer this skill into their game play.

Once they are able to use this in a game, they will have more fun, and it’s a skill that will help them have success for the rest of their hockey careers.  I may have mentioned it, but this is the #1 skill that I wish I knew about or learned back in my playing days.  It simply was not taught back then…

As a reminder, I encourage the kids skates to be sharpened at 3/4 inch.  

Also, please tell your kids to wear their mouth guards for all practices and games.  If that means getting a mouth guard that attaches to the helmet/cage, let’s go that route.  Our coaches energy and focus should go towards our dedication to improvement, and the less they have to worry about the basics, the more time they have for this important priority.

While watching our teams play games, I often stand in a corner (at Winnetka main). I do this so I can easily observe/hear the coaches while also getting a good view point of the action.  Recently I have sat in the stands next to many of you, and I must say, that I’m thrilled with the positivity amongst the parents. Win or lose, I am hearing the right things.  That makes me extremely happy, as I view that as something that transfers into the car rides home (positivity).

Please continue to be “the support system” for your kids, and the coaches will make sure to tell them what they did wrong, or what they can do better.   I played hockey with a player whose dad won 5 Stanley Cups with the Islanders in the ‘80’s. My friend was an average hockey player, and dreaded the rides to and from the rink.  I guarantee that his dad had all the best intentions, however, it completely backfired and likely hindered his son’s love for the game.

Since joining the club, I have talked a lot about our “mentality”. From the mentality that our kids step on the ice with, to the mentality that our coaches set with practice and game plans. Similar to skill acquisition, tweaking the mentality or culture of our club won’t happen over night.  However, I can say with confidence that we are headed in the right direction!  I see it on Monday nights with the improved focus of the majority of our players, to the desire to learn and improve amongst the majority of our coaches.   

Continuing to improve from a skill and cultural standpoint will be ongoing.

I am grateful to all of you, and for the role you’ve played in making this season a positive and productive one thus far, and I look forward to continuous improvement.

See you at the rink,