PICTOU COUNTY – All season atom Subway Selects head coach Craig Clarke has been telling his team there are key things to do every game in order to improve and be successful. After saying those things from the beginning of the season he came up with an idea to promote those skills each game, creating two keys.
The keys, made by Bob Hynes, are the atom Subway Selects green and yellow. One has dedication written on it, while the other has hard work. Beginning in January, after each game two new players are awarded the keys by the coaching staff, with the previous two recipients placing them around their necks.
“The idea came out of my mouth from what both myself and the coaches have been saying to the girls all year,” said Clarke. “The keys to us doing well are working harder and doing the little things right like covering in front of the net, clearing the zone; it’s doing the small simple things. I thought it would be something they could have as a reward after the game, something original.”
Clarke said after each game the coaches discuss who earned the keys on that day. He said it doesn’t necessarily go to someone who scored goals or did something on the score sheet.
For example, he said the hard working key goes to a player who is back checking well and efficiently or someone battling hard for pucks in the offensive zone. He said the dedication key goes to someone dedicated to taking the things from practice and applying them to the game, such as chipping the puck out of their zone or knowing their positioning on the ice.
“At this level we have a number of players that have moved up from novice and this is the level where you ‘learn’ the game,” he said. “We want to use these keys to help show the girls how important positioning is, doing the little things right and working hard, but more importantly to recognize when they do them well.”
As of Monday afternoon Hayley Nichol (hard work) and Cassie Clarke (dedication) were the two key holders. Both said they thought the keys were a great idea for the team.
“I think it’s really good to have because everyone has a chance at getting it,” said Clarke. “You really want to work hard to get it and to help the team by doing your job.”
Nichol said she received the hard work key by going to the net offensively and back checking well in their most recent game. She said it helps that you know there’s something you can work towards.
“It’s kind of cool to get the key so you want to work hard yourself so you hopefully get it, but if we all work hard for them then we do good too,” said Nichol.
This weekend the team is taking part in a tournament in P.E.I. They will also hosting female atom hockey provincials at the Hector Arena in Pictou in late March. They hope to be successful again this weekend after winning the Credit Union Female Hockey Challenge in Antigonish last weekend.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris