USA Hockey Magazine

November 2019

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JOHN BEAULIEU Age: 53 San Jose, Calif. As head coach of the San Jose Jr. Sharks 15 AAA team, John Beaulieu spends three to four nights a week at the rink. Not that he's complaining. Coaching has been a lifelong passion that he got from his father. "I was always impressed with the dedication and respect he had for the job and the relationships he developed with his players," Beaulieu recalled. "He best exemplified what play- ers are looking for in a coach. I try to emulate that as best I can." The USA Hockey Level 4 certified coach understands that he has as much to teach his players about the real world as he does about hockey. Beaulieu preaches that education comes first, leads by example and encourages players to spend time away from the rink in the summer. His self-described "extended family" was the first team in the organization to go to Nationals, but Beaulieu doesn't think the focus should be on winning. "A lot of coaches focus on winning, but they should be focusing on team building," he said. "That family aspect of it, that's important." COACH OF THE MONTH ILLUSTRATION BY Darren Gygi BEH I N D T HE G L A SS NOVEMBER 2019 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 15 BEST KNOWN FOR HIS POEM, "The Road Not Taken," famed poet Robert Frost also proclaimed, "In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on." Learning to appreciate what's in front of us can be tricky while wearing the blinders of a hockey season. A school trip to Gettysburg, Pa., posed a conflict to a season kickoff tournament for our son Joe, who happens to be a history buff. He was eager to walk the hallowed battlegrounds of the Civil War site, but didn't think missing games for travel hockey was an option. His coach, an even bigger history aficionado, insisted he make the trip. By his thinking, there would be plenty of tournaments to be played in his young life. Life happened again. When our daugh- ter's class trip to the nation's capital fell the same week as her team's qualifier for states. Does she miss the trip? Miss the tour- n a ment ? O r do w e do t he c r a z y ho c k- ey pa rent t h i ng , a nd h ave her sk ip t he bus r ide home, travel f rom Sy racuse to Washing ton D.C., to ma ke it in time for Saturday's game in Buffalo? Yup, we did the crazy hockey parent thing. We made it work. My daughter has fond memories of her class trip, the state qualifier, and remembers very little about that very long car ride, having slept the whole way home. Maybe not so crazy, especially after hearing the story hockey dad Chris Mathes shares about a goalie parent, desperate to keep her son on the ice, made him wear a diaper so he could tend the net with a stomach bug. "It was an 'elite showcase' tourney, but the kid was 9 years old," he said. "Parents needed to understand that there are no scouts in the stands." The Liverpool, N.Y., dad and his wife agree that it's important to keep your commitments to the team, but there are times—like family life cycle events or an illness—when you need to bow out. Coach Mike Bonelli, USA Hockey associate coach-in- chief for New York's east district, creates an environ- ment where families know commitment to the team is important, but it's still a game and opportunities in life should not be missed. "If I am as organized as I would like to be with sharing my schedule and season plan, then I hope I am giving families the chance to work around that schedule," Bonelli says. As a parent, Bonelli seeks programs that support his boys' diverse interests. "I believe that family experiences and building friendships outside of a sport is crucial to overall development," he says. "If one practice, training session, or game is going to make or break a player's position on the team, then maybe it's the wrong team for our family." Families and teams will always have conflicts. It's mitigating those conflicts by having good, clear lines of commu- nication between coach and family that will make life a little less crazy. Don't let taking the road less traveled distract from what's most important. That can make all the difference. P I believe that family experiences and building friendships outside of a sport is crucial to overall development. Life Goes On Outside Of The Hockey Rink THE HOCKEY MOM By Christie Casciano Burns

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