Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bob Boughner and the Under 18s

Bob Boughner hasn’t had a lot of time to prepare for the Under 18 evaluation camp this August. Besides playing the absolute latest date possible in the Canadian Hockey League, having led his Windsor team to a Memorial Cup, he was only tapped a few weeks in advance of the camp. Initially, Dave Lowry was to headman the Under 18s to the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka. That changed when the Calgary Flames announced Brent Sutter as its head coach, who in turn, named Lowry as the team’s new assistant.

As are most Hockey Canada camps, there was no shortage of talent on the ice. After putting the team through its paces, there weren’t too many surprises on the final roster. With lots of high-end talent up front, the team is deep in scoring, physical, and with solid goaltending.

In order to save time, in the last couple of days of the camp, the coaches (assistants are Chris DePiero of OHL Oshawa and Mark Holick of WHL Kootenay) introduced the system they want to use in the tournament.

“When you have a talented group of kids, it doesn’t take them long to adapt,” adds Boughner. “We don’t have a lot of time to prepare. We have two exhibition games. When you have a talented group of kids, it doesn’t take them long to adapt.”

When it came to making decisions as to who would fit the roster: “One of the things we wanted on our team identity was speed. We wanted a quick team. That’s what we looked for at the end, obviously skating and tempo and making the quick plays. We did some off-ice things with the kids. You find a little bit about their character and leadership. That’s another identity we want to have.

“I told a lot of them, ‘This is my first impression of you. I don’t know a lot of you kids from the west and I don’t know a lot of you from the Quebec league; make sure you take advantage of that first impression.’”

As the tournament gets underway, it’s expected the Canadian team will be a strong medal contender, and not just because of the strength of its roster. In looking at Boughner’s young coaching career thus far, he’s made a significant impact.

He started coaching the Windsor Spitfires in 2006-07 and by 2007-08, the team improved by 51 points. He was the Ontario Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League coach of the year in both 2007-08 and 2008-09 and his Spitfires won the 2009 Memorial Cup. His future looks very bright indeed.

“I try, as part of my coaching career, to pull some of the things I liked best as a player from all of the coaches that I had. Hopefully, that’s had something to do with my success.”


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