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Rooted: Joe Butkevich is helping to grow women’s hockey

Rooted: Joe Butkevich is helping to grow women’s hockey

‘I have a niece and if she chooses to pursue hockey at a large level, I want her to have the identical alternatives that her male counterparts have’

“It’s my passion, it’s my daily life and it’s some thing I glimpse forward to remaining involved in 12 months out of the yr,” says Joe Butkevich, the North Bay native who is now the Head Coach of the Etobicoke Jr. Dolphins of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League.   

“For as prolonged as I can don’t forget, I have been a hockey nut. Almost everything about it has saved me in and all over the video game. My family lived so shut to Memorial Gardens, in actuality, my spouse and I were being married at Memorial Gardens at centre ice. I however bear in mind getting property from school and throwing my school bag in the corner and managing above to the Gardens to check out the Centennials methods and receiving to stand on the bench and observe Bert Templeton coach his groups.” 

Butkevich experienced the option to mentor in the exact same rink as Templeton just a handful of many years ago when in September of 2016, Butkevich brought the Etobicoke Jr. Dolphins and the Aurora Jr. Panthers to Memorial Gardens to enjoy two frequent-period online games at a neutral site. He suggests that was a large moment for him individually.   

“It was enormous to be capable to boost that league in my hometown,” claims Butkevich.   

That group is coming off a silver medal functionality at the Ontario Women’s Hockey League U22 Elite Championship and for Butkevich, he states the on-ice achievements of the workforce is only component of what fuels him as a mentor.   

“I’ve been extremely fortuitous that for five straight yrs, each individual single one of our players that has graduated has secured possibly an NCAA or U Sporting activities scholarship,” states Butkevich.   

“That’s anything I’m extremely happy of. We have received championships and we concluded initial in the league two a long time back, but results now turns to how a lot of youngsters we can assist get to that up coming amount and get that free education and carry on on with their hockey careers.”   

It is a noble philosophy for an individual who didn’t look for to make coaching his initial target when he remaining North Bay.  

“I moved down to Toronto to be with my girlfriend at the time, now spouse, Cherie Piper who was however playing with the Canadian Women’s Nationwide Workforce at the time and we required to be all over where she experienced accessibility to teaching centres and her club workforce which was portion of the now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League,” states Butkevich.  

“I just happened to be at a CWHL recreation and was chatting to the General Supervisor of my wife’s group, the Brampton Thunder, and she claimed that I experienced a genuinely good thoughts for the sport and requested if I required to assistance, and so my first part down in this article was as the goalie coach for that team. It was a great possibility at the time and then I moved over to coaching the U-18 AA Markham-Stouffville Stars for two yrs.”  

Butkevich says he assisted rebuild that software and then was provided a task as the Head Mentor of the Etobicoke Jr. Dolphins of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League.   

“I’m just ending up my sixth 12 months here and it is really been excellent.”  

Butkevich says their objectives are not just to make their players improved hockey gamers, but “a far better particular person as well.”  

“We have three text up in our dressing area and they are accountability, function ethic, and delight. These are the a few items we consider to instill in our players. We have a motto on our graduation board outdoors our dressing place that suggests, ‘leave your jersey in a far better area than you identified it.’ It’s about producing certain you’re carrying oneself the right way,” claims Butkevich.   

Butkevich states he instructed his gamers this previous weekend to “Live your existence the way you want to be remembered.”  

“We like to earn, we appreciate to be competitive, but we’re all about lifestyle. Our social media hashtag is ‘#CreatedByCulture’ and when you are all over these people additional than your personal instant loved ones you want to make positive you’re bordering your self with good persons, that are hardworking and will make you far better. My father has constantly explained to me, to encompass myself with men and women that are much better than me.”   

A different purpose for Butkevich is to expand the video game for the following era of female hockey gamers.   

“Visibility is essential,” states Butkevich.   

“From the feminine aspect of the game, it can’t just be each and every four decades and a gold medal match at the stop of the tournament that matters, it has to be far more of a noticeable and obtainable sport.” 

He states demonstrating their game titles isn’t normally the least complicated point to do.  

“We have to depend on rinks that have are living streaming alternatives to advertise our activity, which normally comes with a charge and that can be discouraging. I believe there are however a large amount of boundaries that we have to have to be collectively knocked down, to market who we are and what we are undertaking. One working day that could cause that enthusiasm and curiosity from additional ladies at a youthful age and the a lot more possibility individuals have to perform, the additional prospect there is for the game to develop.” 

Butkevich states they are attempting to get the PWHL to have the identical recognition that the men’s junior aspect has.  

“I have a niece and if she chooses to pursue hockey at a higher amount, I want her to have the very same alternatives that her male counterparts have,” states Butkevich.  

“We’re just hoping to thrust the envelope. We test to use social media a lot to endorse what we are performing. We have a really significant and balanced employees, every thing from a Psychological Health and fitness and Effectiveness Mentor, North Bay native Dr. Cassidy Preston, to a comprehensive-time nutritionist, physiotherapist, a complete-time photographer, a communications supervisor, a power and conditioning coach, all the things an OHL team would have and then some.” 

 Butkevich states they have also upgraded their dressing place which is anything he is exceptionally happy of.  

“Our dressing place is a chatting position in woman hockey,” he states.  

“I’m happy of what we’ve been capable to make from. When we started out it was like looking into the ‘Mighty Ducks’ Disney motion picture dressing area. Considering the fact that then, we have had $100,000 in renovations, which has bundled partnering with some of the significant model and sponsor names like BioSteel, Stark Hockey and Less than Armour. We have been lucky enough to converse to them and get them on our facet to carry in issues like restoration equipment, therapeutic massage guns, and retrofitting our place to make it something we are happy of.” 

Butkevich can also point to a couple of personalized achievements that he can take satisfaction in from his coaching resume.  

“In the span of six months, I received to go to the U-18 Nationwide Championships in Manitoba and depict Crew Ontario Pink and Staff Ontario Blue at that match while successful a Gold Medal with Staff Ontario Pink, to then be a part of the Crew China coaching team and aid them earn their first-at any time medal at a U-18 Entire world Championships,” suggests Butkevich.  

“We took house the bronze at the party in Katowice, Poland and I feel what we have been capable to do with Crew China in these types of a short time was remarkable. We were capable to alter the sights and the anticipations of the Crew China officials because they desired points completed a selected way, but we preferred to do it the way we realized.”  

Butkevich says they developed a large amount of belief with them and the gamers who acquired into a program that introduced a Canadian identity to the gamers. 

“We acquired them into shot-blocking and becoming hard on the puck and pursuing the puck with tempo – techniques that experienced a methodology to it,” states Butkevich.  

“They played within just that and it labored out really properly. Then we capped off the 12 months by winning the PWHL championship that year as very well.”  

Butkevich suggests even with the period above, the do the job is not completed.  

“I do a great deal of expertise do the job with a whole lot of University and Junior gamers and in the summertime, I operate a camp with NCAA coaches and three-time Olympian Haley Irwin.” 

As for what is on the horizon, Butkevich states he’s hoping that he can be a trailblazer for women’s hockey and depart this stage of the game in a much better position than the place he uncovered it.   

 “I’ve been fortunate enough to be presented the University of Windsor Women’s Hockey Head Coaching occupation, as well as the Toronto 6 Head Coach occupation, but I sense like I’m building more headway and a lot more development at this amount with the U-22 junior level than I could at all those two amounts correct now in my coaching occupation,” claims Butkevich.   

“I’ll be coming household this summer season to operate a four-day camp with the North Bay Ice Boltz carrying out capabilities periods. I’m fired up to work with neighborhood players and continue to keep expanding the activity in the North and demonstrating that there are chances right after that software.”