Monday, October 28, 2013

End of the 1st Period

At the crossroads and still smiling at 4 and 3...
After a tough weekend in Dayton, it was nice to get home and take a couple of more wins against Memphis last weekend. With Ball State at home and Eastern Illinois the week after, I am also adding the presenting of research at the NASSS conference in Quebec City on "Athlete Aggression" into my schedule. There is no doubt by time I reach the weekend of November 15th and looking at some potential hockey recruits in Columbus, Ohio (catching my injury riddled Habs on that Friday night), we could be sitting on the top of something special or struggling to survive. It's a fun challenge.

With the plans of EKU playing a 23-game schedule we have reached the 1/3 mark of the season. The 25-minute drives, the late nigths (3:30 AM this weekend), and non-stop thoughts about the team's progress, this is the closest things I have had to parenthood in my lifetime. For the fatigue alone, it was nice to deliver a home victory and perform an overhead "Sir Alex" clap to our crazy fans on both nights... and I would say more parents deserve this type of moment that I clearly have not had the chance to understand. This time last year I was at the Lexington Food Show hanging out with my favorite celebrity chef, Tyler Florence. This year, with the same Lexington Food Show on, I was simply too tired to do anything social. Yesterday's trip to Joseph Beth bookstore was the closest thing to a "social moment". It's all about sacrifice.

Still loving the battle... and now for Ball State. The last time I saw them live in any sport, a young Bonzi Wells was getting upset by my CMU Chippewas in MAC basketball regular season action in 1998. They did beat us in football in overtime that year. Ah, glory days. I will talk about these days the same in about 15 years.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ready for Another Hockey Weekend

After the excitement of winning our first game last Friday, it was a coaching challenge to get the boys up for Saturday. Toughest parts of blowouts is preparing the next day. While 6-3 was much closer, I was beyond happy to get the result. Of course, the best part for the players was it being club hockey, my job as a coach pretty well ended at the buzzer. I hit the hot tub and they hit Beale Street.

After midterms, it was Fall break and for me a little Canadian Thankgving. I was quite happy to back in the city where the coaching dream once fell short in 2001 but that on a cold night in 2012 on a Tuesday night in West Ottawa that I remembered (in the middle of an evening community skate) the joys of giving back to my community in my favorite way. The weekend featured family time and a look at a potential recruit playing some Junior B hockey in the EOJHL.

Getting two wins under our belt was huge for the team and I am hopeful for that little spark of a sign of things to come. I am not going to lie: I certainly sent out many emails on Monday and Tuesday after our Memphis weekend to potential recruits. With the latest story coming out last week talking about how schools with high tuition rates use sports as a method to attract students willing to pay good money for “the experience of playing college hockey”, I think we are doing just that. Between practices, dry land training, and access to the many of the same facilties as our NCAA D-I athletes, I am quite proud of the things we are doing in a very unique sporting situation.

My other favorite part of taking two on the weekend is the congratulatory moments you have with other coaches, some of who make a lot more money than I do doing this. The professor job certainly pays more… but nothing beats the passion from coaching.

My repeated mantra has been “we area work in progress”. Our practice last night indicated we still have a lot of work to do… the first and sweep in the history of the program isn’t the reason why I took the job. Looking for more of the same things to come in Dayton this weekend.

And finally... in the category of "things that stay off the blog" and will continue to do so in recognizing Eric Cantona's famous words, I wanted to mention that I made it six straight yesterday as in "Six. Straight. Positive. WRITTEN. Performance. Evaluations." Regardless... Thank you for that paid trip to New York between 4 and 5.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Night of Firsts...

Biting into the game puck...

On a night that featured many firsts (i.e. guys with their first goal of the season/career, first points, etc.), on a personal level, I think my Facebook post described it best: ... the last time EKU won a hockey game, I was living in New York. The last time I won a hockey game, Memphis, tonight's opponents still loved their (former and now the current UK) basketball coach. Time for me to open a steakhouse?

First win, hopefully of many, in a new era. New adjustment is the whole new media. Between tweeting out the results, posting to Facebook, I still have to call my mother in the morning.

Hoping for a sweep.
Today's plan is a light jog, stretch, lunch, rest and head back to the rink. With our captain back on the ice with us tonight, hoping for more of the same.

Note: completed the Sweep on Saturday with a 6-3 win. Drive back through the rain and a busy Monday morning... more on the "Sweep" later. Happy Monday!! - JC 10/7/2013