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article imageOp-Ed: Why Coaches Should Get Paid Special

By Chace Elliott     Sep 20, 2012 in Sports
Innisfail - We all say that we care so much about our children and what they are learning on the ice. If we are so worried about this and the experience they have, why are we not paying our minor hockey coaches in order to attract the best ones for the job?
When you are paying over one thousand dollars just in minor hockey fees to have your child play for one year, would you not want to get the very best you could for your money? Coaches play one of the largest roles in the development of a young athlete so therefore an experienced coach means more development from your child.
By paying even a small fee of one thousand to five thousand dollars plus travel expenses, you could attract a much more qualified coach, who may not otherwise want to volunteer. Sometimes this is the case but in others, the more experience coach just may not be able to leave his job for all those hours at the rink and you are forced to have an unqualified dad on the ice with your child.
Some people argue that, the unqualified dad is actually qualified because he took a weekend course held at the local arena. Is the game of hockey something you can learn to coach in only one weekend? Hockey is a game that takes many years of playing and learning to master, so therefore why not start our children off with the best opportunities we can.
Bob Taggart, Chairman of the Front Range Amateur Hockey Association, said in an email, “I believe that paying high level coaches is important. You will always be able to attract the right person based on his philosophy and experience. We have always had a full time hockey director in our club who created and ran the philosophy of the association. He was a full time paid position. Coaches were usually paid 5 to 6 k per year which went into the fees that the club charged its players. Spread out over 16 players it was easily manageable. We also had travel stipends and all those coaches reported to the hockey director.” This is coming from a very successful businessman who is able to oversee an entire association and do the right thing for the development of your child.
If they are able to make things like this happen in Toronto, Vancouver and across the United States, why can we not start to do it here? Why can we not pay our coaches for their time? In almost every other sport you have to pay for a coach to be there but in hockey there seems to be this cultural roadblock for Canadians. We seem to believe that just because we have had volunteer coaches for the last one hundred years that we should stick with that method for another one hundred years. Unfortunately though times are changing and minor hockey needs to change with the times so that they are not left behind.
Director of Victoria Minor Hockey Rob Richardson agrees that it's about time hockey was on par with other sports, where payment for coaches is the norm. In a CBC article he states "My son was nine and figure skating, we had to pay his coach, we had to pay for his coach to go to a figure skating competition, pay her wages, expenses, everything," Richardson says. "Why shouldn't the same be applied to minor hockey?"
While people that experience to run minor hockey more like a business (because they are paying the coaches) is proven to be successful at-least in my experience as I, myself have had the opportunities to travel to Denver not once but twice to compete in exhibition games. When I was a player, the teams from Denver and the surrounding area have won the games between us, not on talent but on coaching alone.
Coming from Canada we are blessed with being able to grow up around the game of hockey and we are able to embrace it. Many of us who are able to afford it are put in skating lessons as soon as we can walk whether we end up playing hockey or not. This of course gives us an advantage over the Americans who have many sports to chose to enroll in due to a different climate, culture, life style, etc. If they are able to beat us at our own game, not because they have more talent but because they have better coaching then why not pay our own coaches to bring the best out of our kids?
You are on this board because you want to see Innisfail Minor Hockey represent itself as an organization who is committed to the development of young athletes and we all know that you would like nothing more than to see the young athletes succeed. Because of this why not give the athletes the best chance they have? Why not take the time and take the chance to try this out? Minor hockey is changing and we have to be willing and able to change with it. This is the perfect opportunity to take charge and be the flagship association for all of Hockey Alberta; to set and example and be the people that led the way today and not tomorrow.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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