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Coaches Spotlight

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes engages coaches and athletes to grow in their faith and sport.

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Everything listed under: coach of the month

  • April 2016 - Ryan Donald

    Ryan Donald

    Coaches Current Team / Previous Teams: Yale Bulldogs, Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL), Woodstock Slammers (MHL)

    Years Coaching: 3

    Coaches Hometown: St. Albert, Alberta

    Chosen Attribute: Integrity

    Integrity is important to me in a number of ways, but ultimately it boils down to being a person that is trustworthy, can be counted on, and responsible.  Players and coaches who are able to lead a life of integrity are set up for success in all avenues of life.  As an individual with integrity it shows me as a coach that a player is committed to doing the right things every single time, whether it is easy to do so or not.

    Why is this attribute important to you?

    In sports I always liked 1 Kings 20:11 – The King of Israel Answered “Tell him. ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’”  To me it emphasizes humility within sports and competition, underlining the importance of experience within competition, and also within our communities.  Being quiet and humble are traits that don’t garner much attention, but as a coach and teammate are valuable qualities.

    What is your favorite scripture verse?  Why is this important to you?  

    LUKE 12:48 “Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more. Do the best with what god has given you and use whatever gift you have been given to serve others.

    Who is your favorite coach outside of hockey?  Why?  

    A coach that I like to see work is Pete Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks.  I’ve read a bit about him as a coach and have watched him over the last few years with the run that Seattle has had.  He is a coach that uses a lot of positive communication, imagery, and enthusiasm into what he does, and it seems to be infectious to those around him.

    What is your dream coaching job (if different than your current position)?  

    I'm doing my dream job!

    Share a recent coaching highlight that you have had.

    A recent coaching highlight for me would be having the opportunity to get back to Yale over this past season and coach at my Alma Mater.  Since the end of my playing career I’ve always thought about having the chance to return and get involved with the hockey program, and to now be able to have the chance to do so I feel very blessed to be able to help these young men through the same struggles that I faced as a player, person, and student.  To be able to pour into these guys on a daily basis has been great for me both as a coach but also as a person.

    Tell us a little bit about your coaching philosophy.  Why do you coach?  How does your faith play into your coaching?  Which coach has had the greatest impact on you and the way you coach?  What ways are you able to make an impact for Jesus at the ice rink?

    My coaching philosophy is constantly evolving, especially considering how early I am in my coaching career.  I like to try and convey enthusiasm, energy and excitement to my guys on a daily basis, helping them to understand the value in every day’s work.  Enforcing the idea that work and fun aren’t always mutually exclusive, and that our players should enjoy every moment of their seasons, through the highs and the lows.

    The coaches who have had the greatest impact on my coaching are my former coach and current boss Keith Allain, as well as my coach in my final year as a player, John Wroblewski.  From a faith perspective, I am still evolving and trying to learn more ways to bring it to the forefront in my daily routines.  My faith is a key component of who I am as a person and as a coach, and I try to allow it to show through in my own interactions on a daily basis.  With my previous team in Woodstock we were successful in beginning a relationship with a local church and started a bi-weekly chapel program, while also contributing to Operation Christmas Child.

  • Feb 2016 - Kyle Grabowski

    Kyle Grabowski

    Coaches Current Team / Previous Teams: Austin Bruins – North American Hockey League

    Years Coaching: 8

    Coaches Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota

    Chosen Attribute (Teamwork, Excellence, Serving, and Integrity):

    GRIT: Abiding Perseverance. Stamina to to push through difficult challenges. Sticking with your future, day in and day out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years.

    Why is this attribute important to you?

     I believe that as people that we are constantly being challenged in some way. Those challenges exist to make us better people, things happen for a reason. How will we respond to each challenge we face in our lives, even the most difficult ones? I believe you need grit to embrace and learn from those challenges. 

    What is your favorite scripture verse?  Why is this important to you?  

    LUKE 12:48 “Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more. Do the best with what god has given you and use whatever gift you have been given to serve others.

    Who is your favorite coach outside of hockey?  Why?  

    My Parents. My Dad taught me how to work hard, and my Mother taught me how to talk to people.

    What is your dream coaching job (if different than your current position)?  

    I love the work I am doing now. Junior hockey is such a great age group with many challenges and so much teaching involved. 

    Share a recent coaching highlight that you have had.

    Having the opportunity this season to work with a very young group of players. It has been a challenge to me in my abilities as a coach, and it has been a very rewarding group of young men to work with this season. 

    Tell us a little bit about your coaching philosophy.  Why do you coach?  How does your faith play into your coaching?  Which coach has had the greatest impact on you and the way you coach?  What ways are you able to make an impact for Jesus at the ice rink?

    I believe that teaching is a better word. I want to teach and help others, and I strongly believe that it is my job to build good people and I believe in teaching character.

    John Olver is another coach that has had a tremendous impact on the way I coach, and still does to this day. I was fortunate enough to work for him in my first job and learn the importance of communication and my impact on others.

  • Dec 2015 - Earl Utter


    Earl Utter 

    Coaches Current Team / Previous Teams: SUNY Cortland, Women’s Hockey

    Years Coaching: College, 19, total, 30

    Coaches Hometown: Hilton, NY

    Chosen Attribute (Teamwork, Excellence, Serving, and Integrity): Submission

    Why is this attribute important to you?

    I believe the only way to live a successful life and to be a successful coach, we need to fully submit to God.  The world may see submission as a weakness, but through that submission, I gain strength.  Needless to say, I haven’t reached total submission yet.

    What is your favorite scripture verse?  Why is this important to you?  

    Jeremiah 29:1.  I find it very easy to get focused on circumstances outside my control.  This verse allows me to focus on the promise that God has given me.  The promise that He has plans for me.  That in any circumstance, there is a future and a hope.  In the coaching “business”, these are reassuring and reinforcing thoughts.

    Who is your favorite coach outside of hockey?  Why?  

    Mr. Richard Lebeau.  My JV. Soccer coach.  He was a kind man who believed in me and treated me with respect.

    What is your dream coaching job (if different than your current position)?  

    Wherever God puts me.

    Share a recent coaching highlight that you have had.

    Any time a former player says I have been a positive influence in their life.

    Tell us a little bit about your coaching philosophy.  Why do you coach?  How does your faith play into your coaching?  Which coach has had the greatest impact on you and the way you coach?  What ways are you able to make an impact for Jesus at the ice rink?

    I coach to be a positive influence in the lives of young people.  Since my walk with God (my faith) is continually evolving, I believe that this evolution is allowing my coaching style to continually evolve.  I used to be a transactional coach.  My faith is evolving me into a transformational coach.  I don’t think any one coach has had the greatest impact on me and the way I coach.  I honestly think surrounding myself with Christian coaches, reading the word daily, reading a number of books that deal with building character and having an unconditional love for my players and prayer has had a huge impact on the way I coach.     I hope that my witness is making an impact for Jesus at the rink.  At least I pray that it is.

     

  • John Olver - October Coach of the Month

    Hometown:

    Years Coaching:

    Current team:

    Burnaby B.C. Canada

              35

    Idaho Jr. Steelheads           

    Chosen Attribute (Teamwork, Excellence, Serving, and Integrity):

    Teamwork with an emphasis on Selflessness.


    Why is this attribute important to you?

    J.O.Y. stands for Jesus, Others and Yourself.

    I believe that if I can show my players how to prioritize their life properly it will allow them to maximize their success and happiness in hockey, life and eternity.

    What is your favorite scripture verse?  Why is this important to you?

    Matthew 6:21   Wherever your treasure is, there you heart will be also.

    This verse forces me to honestly look at myself in the mirror and gives me an instant snapshot of my current priorities in life.  It acts as a compass for my heart. It reminds me to focus my time and talents on the treasures in heaven ……rather than the treasures found on earth.

    Who is your favorite coach outside of hockey?  Why?

    John Wooden.

    Calm and classy.  Stressed fundamentals and preparation through practice. A true professional, gentleman, and champion who was beloved by his players.

    What is your dream coaching job (if different than your current position)?

    After many years of searching for the “dream coaching job” I have finally stopped searching. I have come to the realization that my profession of coaching hockey is the dream job. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to impact the lives of 25 men each season and make a living doing so.

    Share a recent coaching highlight that you have had.

    This season I have had 4-5 players on my current team voluntarily ask me to sit them out of league games so that one of their teammates could play ( we carry 25 players on our roster and dress 20). To witness these acts of love and unselfishness for their fellow teammates has shown me that God is present and working within our team.

    Why do you coach?

    I began coaching because I loved hockey and I didn’t want to work Mon-Fri 9-5. I was initially a very results based transactional coach. I was constantly working to move up the coaching ladder and my players were the instruments I needed to reach my own personal coaching goals. Hockey was my first priority in life and God, my family and everything else came second.
    Jesus Christ has had the greatest impact on my life and on my coaching style and priorities. Becoming a believer has changed my heart and my priorities. Jesus is the best coach that ever lived. He has shown me how to live my life with purpose and how to follow Him by leading others.