Coaching the next generation of hockey players

Players from Timmins’ Junior “A” Hockey Club are behind the bench coaching youngsters in a 3-on-3 tournament. Drew McMillin reports.

Drew McMillin – CTV News Northern Ontario
Published Wednesday, January 2, 2019 6:22PM EST 
Last Updated Wednesday, January 2, 2019 7:18PM EST

In Timmins, players in the local junior “A” hockey club, the Timmins Rock, are still on their Christmas break, but they were back at the rink Wednesday to try their luck at coaching youngsters in a hockey tournament.

It was a different view of the ice for the Timmins Rock playersbehind the bench for the first-ever Novice and Atom three-on-three tournament.

“Any time you get to talk to and be with our kid fans, any fans that we have in this organization, it’s always a privilege. I thought this was a great idea and it’s been lots of fun so far.” said Will Caston, Timmins Rock defenceman.

Last season, the Rock players hosted a clinic for minor players.

This year they decided to make things a bit more competitive.

“There’s certainly a good rivalry between the players themselves, which really helps with the team bonding. And they’re super excited to challenge each other, and of course try to walk away with a win.” said Ted Gooch, Timmins Rock Team President.

More than 50 local minor hockey players will get the chance to share the bench with some of their idols over the two day tournament.

The coaches say they know exactly what that can mean to a young player.

“When I was younger, I looked up to the Abitibi Eskimos. I was a huge fan of them. Like, I thought they were in the NHL, so it’s good to know they look up to us like that.” said Riley Brousseau, Timmins Rock forward.

When asked about his experience, some young participants told CTV News:

“Oh, it’s awesome!”

“Very good!”

“A one-time experience for me.”

“Whenever they score goals or they make a good pass or just a great play, when they come back to the bench, just to see their face lit up with a smile and everything, it’s just really rewarding. And to be able to give them a pat on the back and say ‘great job’, it’s just unbelievable.” said A.J. Campbell, Timmins Rock forward.

“All day today I’ve seen them all with smiles from ear to ear, so that’s really all that counts.” said Gooch.

The tournament wraps up Thursday, followed by a free skate with the Rock players themselves.

All proceeds will support the local junior “A” club.