Q: What inspired you to come over to the Hoffman Estates Park District?
Stan: A great facility with all the on and off ice tools to enable hockey players and skaters to thrive and enjoy the great ice rink activities. Very dedicated people wanting to do whatever it takes to make the customer experience as good as possible. It is one of the best training centers for individual and team development. Coaching with the Chicago Wolves also enables our youth program much more access and involvement with the Wolves management and players than in the past. Adding a powerful opportunity for our players to learn the game.
Q: What do you see in the future of the hockey program?
Stan: No program grew to prominence faster than Wolf Pack. As with most organizations, there are challenges and learning curves. With these challenges comes a renewed and determined focus to be the very best program in Illinois. We have a very good coaching staff and with Randy Jordan and I now being able to get involved with actual on and off ice training throughout the season we expect our players to develop quicker and our teams to be more standardized in team approaches and training consistency. Players committing to the training plan in September will be much improved and enjoying the game more in March.
Q: What level should my child play, house travel or travel?
Stan: Always a good question. Working at the pro level…our coaches still relate to how the important it is to continually work on and improve all areas of skills…starting with Sumo and the 7 elements of skating. Youth players if they want to enjoy and maximize performance in the long run, must continually be working on skills, on and off ice. It is also very important that players are playing at a level that they are handling the puck and are engaged. The only way to improve in hockey is by being involved in all skills in practice and games, doing things over and over so they become unconscious and automated activities. It is much better to be a “go to” player than one that touches the puck only a few times a game never getting a chance to be creative or experience specialty situations. Master the skills and gain confidence so you can be an impact player wherever you play.
Q: What will be different this season?
Stan: Hockey is different than many other sports. You will not enjoy it nor will you survive if you do not have passion and a great work ethic. It takes special fortitude and desire to be a capable hockey player no matter what level.
Scott Kelley, Randy Jordan, Mite leader Jeff Muffitt, our great staff, and myself are committed to making sure every house travel Wolf Pack, Coyote and Wolverine player gets the highest level of training available. With an even greater commitment to perfect the skating ability of every player, those that dedicate to the progressive process will be much more capable of performing all skills in game situations. We have the best platform, if they work hard, to improve far beyond any other program. We will be relentless on or off the ice to help our players excel in all areas of the game…and LOVE IT!
Q: Does the off-ice Performance Shelf training center really make a difference to our players?
Stan: The Wolves players cannot believe what the “shelf” offers for training opportunities. Not only everything that relates to hockey… stick work, shooting, skating skills (on synthetic ice) it is ideally set up to train the “total athlete.” Ask any great hockey player what they did for activity as kids and they will say they played all sports. Our summer Saturday Overspeed sessions empower our young athletes to self-motivate and challenge themselves to do any number of exercises in their own time to become stronger, faster and healthier….and have a great time doing it. While a group is playing a small game with skates on the synthetic ice, others are on the stride machine, doing power testing, fast feet drills, boxing technique for mental and physical toughness (not hitting each other), lacrosse for hand eye and great hands, stick skills, shooting contests and on and on. The beauty is that after 1 ½ hours on the ice the players move from area to area at their own will (coaches helping correct when needed) and never stopping for another hour. This effort coming out of their heart, no coach having to push them to work hard. The improvement on and off the ice has been amazing.
Q: Why is the “total athlete” important if we already play hockey?
Stan: With iPhones and social media it has become very challenging for many parents to get their children doing more than their hands working a device from the couch as they search for quick gratification. The performance shelf offers so many ways for children to challenge themselves athletically individually or with friends. Whether it is mini games or individual testing our players will see tangible results as they would in a video game only now by being active and learning about healthy ways to live for the rest of their life.
Q: What other things are you doing that will differentiate your programs?
Stan: Goaltending. The opportunity to be a goalie coach with the Chicago Wolves and being mentored by Wendell Young has laid a foundation for teaching all levels from the starter goalie to professionals. With my pro experience, it is more obvious than ever that the best skaters make the best goalies. I’m blessed with a great staff, and it is our Academy’s goal to develop confident and skilled goaltenders that have a full understanding of the position.
Also, a greater focus on teaching and the mastering of the details in all skills that differentiate players over time, goalsetting testing on key speed and skill components on ice will give players instant rewards for their extra effort. With visualization being one of the most powerful tools in perfecting athletic skills, the use of video on our portable monitor now gives our keen athletes individual and game training that is second to none.
Hockey is a game of organized chaos. Road and pond hockey are where every great player really improves stick skills, game vision, creativity and. Unique to our program, the training shelf has been designed not only to enhance all hockey skills, it is set up for small area games with skates on the synthetic ice and also road hockey games on the cement area. The in line outdoor Pine Park rink enables teams to practice team systems/situations and play road hockey in a regulation sized rink.
Finally, being able to share our facility with year round training of professional players gives our young players and coaches a great opportunity to obverse what it takes to excel at the game.
Q: What about winning and losing?
Stan: Hockey is a competitive sport. We all enjoy winning when everyone is contributing. My first goal is we want young players to love the game and hopefully play it forever. We know if a player commits to our long-term development plan, they will have success on and off the ice. We are dedicated to direct parents and players down the best path.
Q: How do you feel about the future?
Stan: With the good people we have, additions we are looking to make, a new connection with the Wolves and all the tools we have at our disposal, Randy, myself and our leaders are going to make this the place for players to start the game and develop the very best foundation for success…in the country!
And we are all going to have a great time doing it!