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A new generation of hockey coaches

Posted 11/25/09 (Wed)

By Leann Erickson

How do you measure success? Is it by money, possessions, or position? Or is success measured by starting a program, watching it grow, and then seeing players come back to pass on the skills you taught them to others?
For this hockey season, Dave Hansen and Arden Berg have the privilege of seeing eight of their former players, as well as one South Dakota transplant, come back to coach Oilers hockey.
Beginning in 1985, on an outdoor rink, Hansen and Berg started a hockey program with 12 to 15 players. During the 1989-1990 season, a hockey club was  formed and joined the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (AHAUS). Currently, over 100 players participate in the program.
The second generation coaches include Ryan Hansen, Stu McDaniel, Kyle Thorson, Wyatt Voll, Josh Brew, Jarrett Wold, Corey Samuelson, Scott Samuelson, and Matthew Beard. Along with their coaching duties, these young men continue to play hockey on a men’s league.
The oldest group of players is the  Junior Gold team, which is coached by Dave Hansen, Berg, Thorson and Wold.
Thorson played eight years for the Oilers and started at the age of 10. During his years as a player, he learned that things don’t always go as you plan. One of the important things he learned from his coaches was how to play the game. Although Thorson didn’t always have discipline, he would like to teach the importance of it to his players.
“I became a coach because I wanted to keep skating, stay involved, and help out,” stated Thorson.
Thorson was also inspired because his coaches taught him the importance of keeping your head up even after a tough loss.
Coaching alongside Hansen and Thorson, Wold started skating at the age of nine. He played eight years for the Watford City Oilers, a year in Spokane, Wash., and in a league in Rapid City. He is currently playing in the men’s league.
Like Thorson, Wold wanted to stay involved with hockey, develop young players, and teach the young men the lessons he learned.
“It is important to have fun, never take a shift for granted or you’ll be done playing before you know it,” added Wold.
Coaching Bantams, which is ages 13 to 15, are Ryan Hansen and McDaniel.
Hansen began skating almost as soon as he could walk. He remembers starting about three. He has been playing for 15 years. From hockey, Hansen learned it is important to set goals and work as hard as you can until you reach them, never give up and give 100 percent. Not only is he coaching, Hansen is playing on a men’s league.
Commenting on why he decided to coach, Hansen stated, “My love for the game, and wanting younger levels in the program to learn the game and have fun doing so.”
McDaniel spent 13 years playing hockey, starting at the age of four. He was inspired to do his best on and off the ice. In the sport of hockey, he learned  to work hard and have fun.
“I wanted to share the passion for the sport,” commented McDaniel when asked what he’d like to pass on to his players.
The PeeWees, ages 11-13, are coached by Corey Samuelson and Scott Samuelson. 
Corey began playing at age seven and played for 12 years. He continues to play on the men’s league. An important lesson he learned is teamwork.  He hopes to instill a good work ethic in his players. Corey decided to coach because he loves the game.
Corey was inspired by his coaches to enjoy the game of hockey.
Scott began hockey at the age of four. During his years with the Oilers, he learned the importance of teamwork and how to be competitive. He became a coach because he loves the game.
When asked about what he learned in hockey, Scott answered, “Just to have fun and enjoy the greatest sport on earth.”
The next group, ages 10 to 11, are the Squirts, who are coached by Wyatt Voll and Matthew Beard.
Voll began his hockey career at age 11 and played for eight years. He learned to keep playing hard no matter what the score was.
“I became the coach,” added Voll, “because I wanted to continue to be involved in the greatest game, and pass it on to the next generation.”
Voll’s coaches inspired him by their willingness to spend their free time teaching hockey, even when it was at an outdoor rink in 20-below weather.
Beginning at the age of 10 and continuing for eight years, Beard decided to coach. He feels coaching is challenging, and he is learning a lot. He thinks it’s great to watch his players learn and have fun. 
Commenting on what he learned from hockey Beard replied, “Go faster, work hard for what you want and defend your goal – good defense.”
Finally the last group to take the ice is the Girls’ 19U team coached by Brew. He began hockey at age five and played for 13 years. He learned to keep his head up, and always give it his all. As a player, Brew learned to have fun, never give up, and the dedication and skills of the game.
“I became a coach because I love the game, and wanted to teach players the skills I learned over the years,” stated Brew. “I want my players to learn if you put in the effort, you will be able to achieve.”
Not only is coaching important to the program, but Brew, Wold and both Hansens have taken the training to referee games.
Without coaches, young hockey players would not be able to learn the skills, compete against others, and learn important lessons for on and off the ice. It is time to thank this new generation, along with those coaches who have participated over the years.