Coaching is an extension of love for the game of hockey

Coaching is an extension of love for the game of hockey

Salmons: ‘It is a big commitment for the coaches – workwise and at home with families’

While the taste of being the Quesnel Thunder head coach of the Midget Tier 2 Provincial champions is still sweet, Gord Salmons is already looking ahead to next season.

He is losing five senior (third-year) players – Kaden Merritt, Mike Wright, Stefan Tipold, Jakob Drapeau and Jacque Gilkerson – but he hopes to have the 14 (first- and second-year Midgets) other members of the Provincial-winning team back next year.

“I think most of them have intention of staying and playing.

“There will be a few guys who will go to Major Midget and Junior camps and tryouts, and we’ll see how that goes. I’m selfishly hoping most them will come back and that would give us a solid base for next year.

“A few of them will have a shot at moving up, but I’m not sure how many of them will want to move away from home at 16….”

Salmons adds there is a strong group of Bantams who will be moving up and there are a few guys who are really talented.

He notes that with the Provincial championship experience this year’s Midgets got, and a strong group of Bantams coming up, it should be a “solid” group next year.

“This year’s Midget will know what it takes to win, so that experience will really help next year’s team. That experience is just huge going forward.”

READ MORE: Quesnel Thunder skate away with Midget Tier 2 provincial championship

READ MORE: Quesnel Midget Thunder seniors moving on as provincial champs

Solid coaching staff

Salmons says he hopes all four of this year’s coaches – himself, Jim Scott, Josh Hunik and Harley Gilks – will be coming back next year.

“If everything works out, we all talked about coming back again and if commitments don’t change, I think everybody’s intent is to come back.

“It would be nice to keep the coaching staff together and move [the players] forward and build on what we accomplished this year.”

Salmons says it is a big commitment for the coaches – workwise and at home with families.

“We all have full-time jobs. Harley and Josh work weekends, so they are giving up time for practices and travelling with the team for games.

“Jim and I have kids playing on the team and we’re at the arena six or seven days a week.

“It’s a lot of time and a lot things are put on the back burner during hockey season.”

He adds they must have understanding families and bosses to make it work.

It’s not just games; there is non-stop planning and researching drills, Salmons says, adding it’s also good to have an extra set of eyes from some of parents in the stands providing a perspective from a different viewpoint.

So what do you get out of it?

Noting he started playing hockey when he was six or seven, Salmons says he loves the game and is still playing.

He likes watching the kids and seeing how they develop over the years.

“I like watching the guys I’ve coached over the years to see where they’re going and the biggest thing is they keep playing.

“I like joking around with Jim saying that in 20 years from now, something is going to click and they’re going to say, ‘Ah, jeez, that’s what he was talking about’.”


Coaching is an extension of love for the game of hockey