A Team Manager Can Help Avoid A Hard Day’s Night This Season

Everyone knows The Beatles were one of the greatest and most influential bands of all time. But "The Fab Four" would likely have been just four blokes from Liverpool had it not been for a couple key individuals pulling the strings behind the scenes -producer George Martin and manager Brian Epstein.

No matter the collection of skill and talent, without the right guidance and organization it's nearly impossible to hit all the right notes. It applied to four lads from Liverpool, and it applies to your child's hockey team as well.

Just ask Dearborn, Mich., hockey mom Anne Zielke. She's been a team manager for four years and has composed her own medley of successful techniques, using various tools to keep her parents in the loop.

"Communication is key," she says, adding that even when you have nothing to say it's good to show you're on top of things.

Staying on top of things requires tools such as Shutterfly to blast out messages and Excel to keep track of payments, documents and stats. She also recommends Team Snap, an app that creates a central location for information. 

Our efficient and proficient Syracuse Nationals AAA team manager, Darcy Ahern, keeps us on the same page with Shutterfly to set the agenda for tournaments, team events, attire for games, off-ice parties and those dreaded fundraisers. 

Many hands make light work, so get parents to volunteer at your first parent meeting when everyone is excited about the season and willing to chip in.  

Lillian Wheeler says one of the first things team manager Karen Nye Johnson did was to give each parent a laminated "cheat sheet" contact card so they could learn everyone's names right away. 

Honey Brook, Pa., hockey mom Stacy Schavnis Doherty enjoys the role, but admits it can be frustrating. One of her tips? Have a bag that holds everything, from forms and scoresheets, to stickers; and use an app like Team Snap to easily track availability for events and games.

Keriann Douglass Wheelin agrees that the right organizational tools can make the job a lot easier. 

"Be knowledgeable about upcoming events to be able to answer parents' questions," she says. For great communication, Wheelin also uses an app to "get us all on the same page."

This season respect and applaud your team manager. After all, being a hockey parent is an eight-days-a-week job but you can get by with a little help from your friends.





Coach of the Month:

ROB FOSTER / Age: 46 / Saugus, Calif. 


Two years ago, Rob Foster was ready to head into retirement.

That didn't last long.

"A friend in Pasadena needed a coach for a 16AA team so I checked it out, met the parents and gave it a shot," said Foster, who took the helm of Pasadena Maple Leafs 16AA and 16A teams. 

It turns out it was the right move.

"It actually turned out that these kids that I'm coaching right now are amazing individuals," Foster said. "I have a great group of families that I've been working with over the last couple of years and they just keep making the job more rewarding."

In addition to coaching two teams, Foster has also taken on the role as the associate coach-in-chief for the Pacific District. It's a balancing act that he firmly believes in. 

"It's important that someone in the community helps educate our coaches," he said.

"And the club appreciates having a CEP instructor on their staff."




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