It is time. Players are better protected, owners are always out for number one, and coaches are left somewhere in the middle.
Just to be a coach is challenging enough, an extreme amount of time, energy, blood, passion, and luck is needed to even get a shot at coaching junior hockey. The last thing these guys expect is to be disrespected.
So below are a few suggestions to start the ball rolling for a set of standards for coaches.
1) A contract is a contract. If a team owner wants to lock a guy up for two or more seasons, the only way to get out of paying the coach for the duration of the agreement is if the coach is convicted of a felony during the course of the agreement. If a team wants to can the guy for poor performance, he still deserves to get paid for the duration of the agreement. That goes both ways, if a coach wants out before the deal is done, he has to buy himself out of the deal.
2) Owners pay the bills and have to let the coach do his job as a coach. Too many owners are in the game because their kid is at the level of play, or more often than not, just below the level of play. If the kid is good enough to make the roster, so be it. If he is not, owners have to understand. At the same time, these kind of awkward situations should be discussed during the interview process. If a coach goes into the situation knowing he has to play little Johnny, and accepts the job under those conditions, he has no right to complain about it later.
3) Coaches should be treated equally by the leagues. This is going to hit close to home. Coach A's team instigates a line brawl on the ensuing face-off of a goal. The players get sanctioned, but the coach got off without a suspension. A week later, another line brawl starts the 3rd period, and the Coach B gets tacked for TEN games. The difference? The commissioner of the league previously worked as Coach A's assistant. Nice eh?
4) Coaches (and players) also deserve to be protected by the leagues. Leagues need to step in and enforce agreements in the event that the team and coach are unable to reach a resolution to a problem. Standard agreements need to be set for all coaches (and players) that are iron-clad. Teams that violate agreements should face stiff sanctions by the league. No Pay, No Play.
5) Recruiting has always been a major component of the coach's job. This job is much easier when hockey operations are standardized across an entire league, but it never is. Some teams follow the rules and others make a mockery of them.
Now it is your turn, what else would you add to the coaches' bill of rights?
* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Stephen Heisler, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.