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Kelly Brooks
Kelly Brooks
LA Kings Head Coach Darryl Sutter
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Hockey camp welcomes Darryl Sutter

NHL coach speaks to parents and players

Aug 27, 2013 06:00 am | Kelly Brooks

Barrhead’s Pro North Hockey Conditioning Camp isn’t just about what happens on the ice.

Parents and players were both in for a treat off the ice as well, as head coach of the Los Angeles Kings Darryl Sutter was named as this year’s guest speaker.

Sutter held a seminar for a room packed full of hockey moms and dads, where he shared his life from where he grew up, to his time as an NHL coach.

He told of his fondest memories in the NHL, which included playing against his brothers. He talked of the changing times in hockey, how he started out making only $17,000 in his first year as a player.

Parents asked what advice he could give to them, which they could pass along to their young hockey players. Sutter said he has always lived by three rules in hockey.

“Work hard, have fun, and listen to the coaches,” Sutter told the crowd. “Once your children are on the team, let the coaches coach.”

Sutter said he enjoys talking to hockey parents. Any time he can interact with parents in a good opportunity, not only because he is an NHL coach and former player, but because he is a parent too.

“I think a lot of the parents see their children as NHL players. Really you shouldn’t do that,” he said. “That’s why it’s good to interact. They should see it more as the fun part of it, to be able to have some camaraderie with other kids and enjoy it.”

Spending time with the young hockey players however is the best part for Sutter, who said he loves talking to the kids.

“The parents, most of them are my age. I’m not going to have much impact on them, but I think it’s fun talking to the kids,” he said. “When I was a little boy, if I got to meet an NHL player or something like that, I know what that would have meant to me.”

Though he offered a wide range of advice, Sutter said the most important thing a young player can learn in any sport is to work at what they need to improve on. Often times an athlete will only practice what they’re good at.

If you’re a good shooter, you’re working on your skating, said Sutter. If you’re a good skater, you’re working on your shooting.

“I still do that even with NHL players, you make them work at what they’ve got to get better at, not what they’re good at,” said Sutter. “Everything is about repetition with the kids, especially these summer hockey camps. They should be trying to improve their skill set.”

Advising on skill and technique are both important, but Sutter said he is more into telling his story rather than lecturing. He may be the head coach of an NHL team, but he is also a man from a small town who still comes back to the farm.

“We haven’t forgotten our roots, and I think that’s basically what I tell everybody,” said Sutter. “Stay grounded. It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent, player, stay grounded. Remember who you are, what you are, and what life’s about.”

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