Long before the accolades came rolling in and pictures with the banner, we had a conversation.
Long before all the families came pouring on the ice to celebrate a provincial championship, we had a conversation that changed everything.
I thought I wasn’t ready to be a head coach again.
Years and years of self doubt were always there.
It wasn’t going away.
I thought I wasn’t ready to take the leap of faith again.
Self doubt and regret can stay with man and a coach for a long long time.
Your darkest enemy is usually within.
In the summer of 2011, after another successful season as an Asst Coach, I was stopped outside the 4 Ice Centre by a parent that didn’t really give me an opportunity to say no.
“Craig, I’m putting your name in for the Head Coaching job of the Pee Wee AA team,” the father of two said.
“But, I’m not ready for that.”
“Oh yes you are,” he said.
“You’re more ready than anyone.”
“I’m afraid not,” I said.
“I’m done with being the head coach, I’m just not ready.”
“Craig, it’s too late, I’ve already submitted your name and you’re going to get it.”
“No more buts, you’re ready for this and if you need anything, I’ll be there for you,” he said proudly.
“Anything, at anytime, I’ll be there for you.”
That short fifteen minute conversation changed my direction and trajectory in the game.
I might not have been ready, but that man believed in me enough to stick his neck out for me and to me that means everything.
Like a fellow teammate standing up for me, I was instantly inspired and empowered.
Here’s a guy that had been around the game for along time believing in my ability as a coach in a time of personal uncertainty he provided motivation and clarity.
He believed in me, so maybe it was damn time I started believing in myself.
I’ll never forget that conversation and I’ll never forget that man.
He was true to his word, he was always there for me when I needed him the most. He was always there for everyone.
Time unfortunately divided us, but you could always count on his million dollar smile and wave, if we saw each other from a distance at the rink or a quick message of encouragement regarding my new endeavours in the game.
He was just always there.
Moncton Minor hockey lost a tremendous ambassador today.
Two great young men lost their father and I lost a friend.
A friend that believed in me to no end.
Darren you were right, that conversation changed everything, so thank you again for believing in me and believing in a friend.
Thanks Furzie, you changed everything.