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Legion 86's




INDUCTEE 2012 - TEAM - Wetaskiwin Legion 86’s  Bantam A Hockey Teams - 1986-87, 1987-88


 


Introductory Comments by Sandra Wright


The two Legion 86’s hockey teams that are being inducted tonight had it all.

First of all, they had the “Ultimate Coaches”.  Head Coach Brian Brown was always prepared, he studied his opposition to find out their weaknesses and always had a game plan.  His preparation for each practice or game produced positive results and the teams alway found a way to persevere even in the face of adversity. 

Brian helped his players understand the sacrifices and the work ethic needed to succeed both as athletes and as people.  With his “controlled intensity” style of coaching, winning became habit forming because of high level practicing and attention to detail.  Brian encouraged players to always do their best and all players were allowed to contribute and compete to the best of their ability.  All of Brian’s players appreciated his passion for their sport, his patience and his consistency in the way he dealt with them.  Assistant Coach Scott Hucal was the “ultimate fitness co-ordinator”.  Scott was a young fellow with a hockey background and he provided a positive role model for the players.  Scott was in charge of conditioning and at the end of every practice he put the players through his grueling “gut busters”.

Secondly, the team had the “Ultimate Manager”.  Bob Hartnell was, according to some of his players, “ahead of his time”.   He made sure that both teams were always challenged so that they could improve.  He arranged exhibition games against highly ranked teams, sometimes with teams that played at a higher level.  He also entered them in as many tournaments as they could handle.  Besides looking after all of the arrangements, he also provided guidance to the players concerning work ethic and off ice behavior. 

Thirdly, the team had the “Ultimate Parents”.   Because coach Brown communicated his expectations to the parents he was able to get everyone to “buy into” the team philosophy and build a foundation of trust.  Many parents attended the games, traveled to tournaments and provided positive encouragement to the team.  Even the players felt that their parent support was by far the best of any of the opposing teams.  The parent group was close, they cheered together and they partied together. Like most hockey parents, attending hockey games was their social outlet so when their sons were finished their time on the 86‘s and had moved on to the next level,  it meant they weren’t getting together on a regular basis.  Many of the parents are in the audience tonight renewing old friendships and memories.

Fourthly, the 86’s had the “Ultimate Fan”.  Because the Wetaskiwin Legion were the sponsors, Chuck Wood, Legion Sports Director, attended every game, home and away.  He always wore his Legion uniform and was one of the teams biggest supporters.  Chuck is in attendance this evening,  a quarter of a century later and he’s still cheering them on.  the players would like to recognize him. 

And last of all the players.  Although each team had it’s own dynamics, many things were constant.  Both teams played with tenacity and “heart”,  often outlasting their opposition to win.  Most important, they played as a team, there were no individual egos that were catered to, they won as a team and they lost as a team.  However, remember they were 14 and 15 year old boys so we can only imagine the shenanigans or mischief that would have occurred away from the hockey ice.  They were league champions and Provincial Champions both years........and all coaches and players know how difficult it is to  “repeat”.

The common thread through all of these “Ultimate” elements is respect.  The coach and manager respected the players and their parents and the players respected the adults who guided them. Even today, the players address and refer to Brian as “Coach Brown” or Mr Brown.   All involved learned “life lessons” through their experiences together.

There is something unique about winning as a team.  No matter what happens in life, it is a bond that you and your team-mates will always share, something you accomplished together, you’ll always have the memories and friendships.  To the kids in the audience who are here to share this celebration....remember this night, your dads achieved something pretty cool, it’s quite an honor to be recognized by your community.  As you grow older you’ll realize that although winning is important and it’s the reason the teams are being recognized tonight, more important is what is gained in life because of the win!

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