- Created: 02 December 2018
Plymouth, MI – The Eugene Generals coaching staff completed a five-day trip to Plymouth, MI where they participated in a Coaching Cooperation program hosted by the USA National Team Development Program (NTDP). Head Coach Justin Kern, Assistant Coach Daniel Gomez, and Director of Hockey Operations Flint Doungchak worked alongside the staffs of NTDP.
“We spent over 50 hours this weekend working with the best the United States has to offer in terms of coaching, hockey operations, recruiting, and long-term player development. It was, to say the least, an amazing experience. We learned a lot,” remarked Doungchak. The Generals staff worked with both the Under-17 and Under-18 staffs during the week participating in every facet of day to day operations including practice planning, practice execution, player evaluations and feedback, strength and conditioning, video analysis, pre-game workflow, in-game coaching and analysis, and various other post-game jobs.
“It was a chance to see how a first-class organization is operated and to see how we as a staff can do things better,” said Daniel Gomez. “This experience has answered many of the questions that we had going in and has generated some new conversations as to what we want to see moving forward.”
NTDP offered full access to their highly experienced coaches and staff including U17 Head Coach Seth Appert, U17 Assistant Coach Nick Fohr, U18 Head Coach John Wroblewski, U18 Assistant Coach Dan Hinote, National Goaltending Coach Thomas Speer, and Strength and Conditioning Coach Darryl Nelson. “This is going to make me a better coach and it’s going to make our program better. Our players will benefit, right away,” said Justin Kern.
“It wasn’t any one thing. They have a culture of development and that culture permeates through every facet of their organization. It’s seen in the details. Just like our players, our habits and details just need to be better. They are going to be better,” added Kern, “We are two different organizations with similar values. They are just more consistent with it. At the same time, this internship has given the three of us more confidence in the things we do well.”
Entering the franchise's fifteenth season next year, Doungchak remarked, “You always think of the future. Our goal was always to bring the best junior hockey program possible to Eugene. Obviously 15 years is a big benchmark. Mr. Evans [Owner] always reminds us of that the bar is for us to be the best we can be. This trip helped us raise that bar.”
The Generals return to practice Monday morning after a bye week from games. They will face the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night at 7:30 PM and Saturday at 9:45 PM. Tickets are still available at EugeneGenerals.com.