Aiden came to us in early August and asked when hockey was starting which was surprising since he had spent most of of April and may telling us that he did not want to play hockey anymore. So, we gave him a week to think about it and when he was still eager to play, we signed him up to play with Port Credit. In early September he went for his evaluation skate and was assigned to Minor Novice Green. About a week after his evaluation skate, I received a call from Tom F telling me that they needed a coach for his team. Now, while I was a little hesitant for a moment, Tom convinced me. It was also hard to turn down a man who had been giving back to the community for more than 20 years by running the Paperweight program in Port Credit. Needless to say I accepted the job.
I had an amazing year coaching Aiden and his team. I had 4 great coaches to help me throughout the year on the bench and during practices. Their names were Kevin, Ravi, Claudio and Pascal. It was just incredible to see the growth of the players from the beginning of the year to the end. In particular there was one player who reminded me a lot Aiden who had been trying to learn how to stop for 2 years. His Dad came to talk to me at the start of the year. And through all of the practices, he was finally able to get a an 1 and 2 foots top down by the end of the year. I was also really impressed when Aiden, who had had struggles maintaining attention during his shifts (often tracing the letters on the ice ore being in the opposite zone of play), suddenly, with 3 games left on the season, went out one shift and stopped dead twice on the blue line waiting for the puck carrier to cross so that they would not go offside. He was the first member of the team to do this all year.
I am personally grateful for the support that I received from Aiden’s coach from his first two years, Gerald P and the manager, Karen S. Gerald was great, giving me all of the notes from his years of coaching paperweights, which helped me create practices for my players. His former manager helped guide me through the off-ice responsibilities of the coach. I also had support from Abby’s former coach, Chris S who was the convenor for Aiden’s league this year.
I had an amazing regular season finishing 2nd overall.
In the middle of the regular season, our regular goalie was on vacation so we had to have some replacement goalies. One of the replacements was Aiden who had waited for 2 1/2 years for the chance to lay goalie. He had a great game playing the best team in the league. Early in the game, he let in some goals, but as the game progressed, he made a few stops and by the third period we employed a lay across the goal line tactic that was quite successful. Despite this strategy we lost the game 6-4. Even though we lost, Aiden had a blast playing net and he was just as excited at the fact that Mom and Abby were able to come to the game.
The playoffs were quite intense with a 5 game round robin. We finished with a 3-1-1 record with all but 1 game coming down to the final few min of each game to help decide the winner. Unfortunately we lost both games in the finals weekend by one goal and finished 4th overall this year. While losing our final 2 games was a disappointment, it was a great ride and the players gave their all in both of the final games!!!