With the Coach is a weekly series featuring a conversation with a local coach.
Coach: Pat Haney, a Kirkland resident with a background in education management
Team: Lakeshore bantam CC Panthers
Years coached: 36 years
Playing experience: House league
Best coaching tip: Ensure players have fun while learning.
Pat Haney has coached for many years within the Lakeshore Minor Hockey Federation but also with the defunct North Shore organization and Deux Rives. He said having some great coaches, like Charlie Hayward, when he was a youngster inspired him to keep playing hockey.
How did you get into coaching?
Haney: My brother used to umpire and referee hockey, it looked interesting and I started to get involved. Then, I started coaching hockey. The Lakeshore atom CC Indians were my first team.
What has kept you in coaching for almost four decades?
Haney: The pleasure and honour of working with young athletes who have passion for the game of hockey. I’ve been with bantam for a while but also with atom and peewee. Those are the age groups I’ve coached.
What is your coaching philosophy?
Haney: My coaching style is whether you are the best or the worst on the team, each player is just as important as anyone else. We depend on everyone; it’s a team concept. Yes, you are always going to have your guys who are going to score, but you are also going to need the guys that are going to prevent the other team from scoring on you. My style is all focused on the team.
Take us through a typical practice.
Haney: Early in the year, we spend time on skill development and less time on team concept. As the season progresses, it shifts to refreshing the skills and putting more emphasis on team concepts.
Have you had success as a coach?
Haney: I’ve had success in tournaments, playoffs and provincial championships. But what I measure as success is the kids coming back to you years after you haven’t seen each other. The players continue playing hockey and when they see you years after you coached them, we tell stories what it was like to be on that team; we did this and this, rehashing stories. That is my measurement for success.
What is key to inspiring players?
Haney: I think coaches have to teach them they belong on a team, they feel part of a team. That wins and losses are important, but at certain times they are not that important. You set out your goals, each team has certain goals throughout the year, and you have to make sure they are all driving forward for the same purpose. To get that purpose, they have to feel part of the team.