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On the evolution of the modern NHL coach

The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek penned a fascinating article regarding the evolution of coaching in the NHL over the past 50 years:

There was a time, just before the dawn of expansion, when the NHL coaching fraternity consisted of just six men, all of whom wore the same essential uniform: jacket, tie, fedora and dour facial expression.

Back then, the game of hockey was played in straight lines – up and down the ice, no veering out of your lane. Shifts could last two minutes or more, with players catching their breath on the ice when the play went the other way.

Strictly speaking, coaching really meant bench coaching – changing lines, directing traffic, trading pleasantries with officials. Any teaching that went on during practices often came from the players themselves, with older players instructing younger ones in the whys and wherefores of life in the NHL.

It was a small, staid, insular world – and it didn’t start to change until the league went from six to 12, 16 and then 21 teams in a 14-year span, at which point the demand for qualified coaches and players had become so great that innovation, out of necessity, flowed into the sport.

Now, 50 years later, consider what coaching has become. Instead of one coach, there can be four to eight. Fred Shero – the mercurial Freddie the Fog – hired the first official full-time assistant coach, Mike Nykoluk, in 1972. Roger Neilson – a.k.a. Captain Video – is credited with introducing video as a teaching tool. And skating expert Dawn Braid became the NHL’s first full-time female coach when she was hired by the Arizona Coyotes last summer.

Duhatschek continues, and there's a LOT of Scotty Bowman sharing the tricks and tools of the trade in this article...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: roger+neilson, scotty+bowman

Comments

DocF's avatar

All the people who come to KK should read this article very carefully.  I think I see what needs to be done to make the Red Wings great again.  And, of all people, the model is John Tortorella.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 03/11/17 at 12:06 PM ET

Iggy_Rules's avatar

Fascinating is absolutely the right word to describe that article. Great read on something that is often covered as an after thought. Thank you for sharing it, Mr. Malik!

Posted by Iggy_Rules from Calgary, Canada on 03/11/17 at 06:00 PM ET

Chet's avatar

read it all last night, was great.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/11/17 at 06:42 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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