To be a good coach, sometimes you have to travel.

Gjoa Haven coaches Stanley Porter, Scott Porter and Craig Aglukkaq tacked on some miles too join coaches from the NWT for Hockey North’s second annual Coaches Forum in Yellowknife, which wrapped up on Sept. 24.

Stanley Porter of Gjoa Haven tries to control the puck as he battles with Warren McLeod of Yellowknife during a drill as part of Hockey North’s Coaches Forum in Yellowknife on Sept. 24. James McCarthy/NNSL photo

Stanley Porter said doing something like this has been on his list for quite some time.

“I’ve been looking into this kind of forum for a while and I got an email from Hockey Nunavut saying that the forum was happening in Yellowknife,” he said. “I jumped on it right away.”
The forum kicked off on Sept. 22 with a discussion on age-appropriate skill development from initiation to midget level. The next day saw coaches join in with peers from other sports as part of a coach-development conference at the Chateau Nova Hotel organized by Movement, a Yellowknife-based sports consultancy firm.

The final day was a mixture of on-ice and off-ice instruction with a focus on small-area games and skills, and drills instruction.

“We got ourselves a certificate after it was done and hopefully, this is one of the first steps to allow me to maybe coach Team Nunavut in the future,” said Porter. “Right now, I want to just go back and start teaching what I learned.”

Corey McNabb, Hockey Canada’s manager of player development, was the special guest coach for the forum and he said the forum was a chance for the coaches to see what the best practices are when it comes to delivering instruction and advice.

“We put all the coaches through the drills so they can feel what it’s like at each station, going from one to the other,” he said. “It was all about giving them the chance to feel what it’s like and I feel like it was good to get them to buy into it and teach it to their kids.”
Small-area games have picked up in popularity around the country, especially in the North, and McNabb said Canada is behind other countries in developing them but the gap is closing.

“We have a mentality about being passionate about hockey in Canada and we’ve always thought that the little guys need to be playing on a large ice surface, just like the NHL players,” he said. “Several studies across many sports have shown that if you reduce the space, they get more involved and that’s true in hockey.

“They’re touching the puck more, they’re stopping and starting more, all of the benefits are there – some people may look at it and say it isn’t real hockey but to a five-year-old kid, it’s as real as it can be.”

Teaching to young hockey players in Gjoa Haven is exactly what Porter wants to start doing.

“I want to take this back and start working with minor hockey players and even the parents,” he said. “Anyone who wants to get involved with our minor hockey association can be a part of it. I’ve been involved with minor hockey since my younger days and I always like seeing the young boys and girls happy and playing hockey. They love being part of it, they have big smiles on their faces and they want to come back the next day and do it again. That puts a smile on my face as well.”

James McCarthy

I've been hanging around the office as the sports editor for the better part of the last 16 years. In August 2022, NNSL Media decided to promote me to the managing editor's position, which I accepted after...

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