Coaches tip their hats

TIMMINS – Winning hockey games is a team effort.

For Timmins Eagles’ head coach James Daschuk, (Abitibi Eskimos 1999-2000) being named the Northern Ontario ‘AAA’ Bantam Hockey League coach of the year was also a team effort.

The humble coach was quick to deflect the attention off of himself and on to the coaching staff.

“We’re five guys on our staff, plus our trainers and manager,” said Daschuk. “All of us our pretty much at 99% of all the practices and guys are spreading the same message. If the kids keep hearing the same message in practice, it gets relayed into the games.”

Dashuck was at the helm, while Pat Durepos and Eric Paquette (Abitibi Eskimos 1999-2001) assisted. Marc Bisson was the goalie coach, Dr. Michael Popovic the team doctor, Paul Fecteau the assistant trainer and equipment manager and Marg Fecteau managed the team.

Coaching a hockey team is a thankless job, with the staff frequently working more than 40 hours per week to get the club ready for game time.

However, coaches from the four other teams in the league all had a hand in the voting.

“It tells me that the teams we’re playing against know the team has improved,” said Daschuk. “They noticed where we were at the beginning and at the end. It talks about how our team has improved.”

The team saw a major improvement this season, posting five wins compared to zero in 2011-12 campaign.

“We’re coaches and we’re all good buddies off the ice,” said Daschuk. “There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t talking about hockey or the game plan, what we should be doing or what changes need to be made. We’re good buddies and maybe the kids see that, maybe it brings them closer together.”

It was the first year this staff were tasked with coaching a ‘AAA’ squad.

“I saw James grow as a person in his decision making ability,” said Durepos. “As a staff, everyone throws out suggestions, but you need one person to make the final decision.

“You get to points when you butt heads, but not in a bad way. We’re not a separated coaching staff, we’re a unit. Everybody brings something to the table. We’re a coaching staff with the ability to teach.”

The Eagles announced this week that the coaching staff will stay intact for the 2013-12 season and that can only mean good things for club moving forward.