Providing a positive learning environment: Q&A with Coach Debbie Beaudoin

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We had the pleasure of chatting with Debbie Beaudoin, Owner of Beaudies House of Hockey, Ringette and Skating, as well as Program Manager and Head Instructor!

What was your inspiration for starting the Beaudies House of Hockey, Ringette and Skating and when was it established?

I believe our Mission Statement says it best.  Also, to give back to all those that once coached or helped me get to where I needed to be with my hockey.  The sport of hockey can be expensive, and I had various coaches that were dedicated to helping me achieve my overall goals to become a professional hockey player.  Many coaches volunteered their time, and I felt it was my turn to give back to the community.

To provide a training environment both on and off the ice that allow players, of all ages and levels, to grow and develop at a pace that is comfortable yet challenging for the player.  Our goal is to provide a safe and fun environment where each player will improve and progress through the various phases of their hockey, ringette, or skating development.

The staff of BHOHRS are committed to putting the player’s needs first, practicing skills and tactics by using properly paced drills, increasing muscle memory through consistent repetitions, and creating attainable goals.  At Beaudies House of Hockey, Ringette and Skating, we care about the overall development of each individual and strive each session to create an atmosphere positive and inclusive to every participant.

You run various programs throughout the year that help women and girls develop their skills. How do you make sure that all people feel welcome to be a part of your programs? 

I make sure to communicate and get to know everyone through a healthy environment for all players.  Not only do we teach ladies, but we also have men’s programs and integrated programs.  I think through my personality and character (who I am), people feel comfortable being in our programs no matter their age, skills or abilities or gender identification.

We understand that your programs seek to do more than just improve skating skills, they help develop life skills by pairing youth and adults together. Why do you feel this is important?

We have encouraged our Youths to coach the adults to learn how to talk/communicate to an adult and be respected and heard.  Often kids believe they cannot talk or teach adults due to the environment we are surrounded in because the world says they are too young to be heard and what they say is not important.  I do not believe in this way of thinking.  I/We try to empower the coaches, to talk, guide, provide coaching advise to adults to help them learn how to talk with adults, which will help them later in life when trying to apply for a different job or going to a job interview.  We want to set our coaches up for future success.  We have both male and female coaches, but 90% of our coaches fall under the U18 age bracket who play for their community hockey or ringette association.  I feel it is important that we don’t look at one’s age, but what we can offer individuals.  I surround myself with people of all ages, and I feel that it has helped me become the person I am today.  I can communicate and relate with many individuals and often forget that people are older and younger than my age.  I want youths to feel that they have a voice and by having them coach or join an adult program, they began to feel more confident around others of different ages, skills and abilities. 

Has there been any particular moment or development story that stands out to you and reminds you of how far you and the programs themselves have come?

When I reflect on our Coaching staff.  I see the kids that I once coached who are now young adults or in their late 20’s early that are now coaching in our programs.  I was provided the opportunity to coach many of our coaches through minor sports, and when I look at my coaching staff, I see how much they have grown and are now taking the opportunity to coach others in their community.  When this happens, it puts a smile on my face.  One of my coaches just recently purchased a home and I thought that was neat that I had taught the player at the age of 13/14 yrs of age and is now a homeowner.  Another one is when the coaches start to pursue their own career or looking to go further in their hockey.  I have had players turn to coaching, who then go into Junior Hockey, University etc… and they continue to keep in touch.  This shows me, that I did well as both a Coach and as a Boss because they are proud of their own achievements and want to share them with me.

What are your aspirations for the future of your program?

To continue to provide community programs for our community while providing job opportunities for those that are great teachers in the sport of hockey, ringette and skating.  I would like to one day, just do the managerial side of the programming and have coaches take over what I have built.  I also wouldn’t mind expanding our offerings to other cities, provinces, and countries.  There has been talk within our adult female group about going to Europe and doing a hockey school from them.  This would be amazing if we could build the right connections and bring our coaches to other places and teach.

How can people looking to improve their skills and skating development reach out to you and get involved in your programs?

We have a website (www.beaudieshockey.ca) and/or they can email me at dbeaudoin@beaudieshockey.ca  We do have an office phone line, but because I still teach, I am often not home to answer the calls.  I run the business from my boyfriend, Mike Dean’s basement, and he also assists with our daily programming and accounting on a volunteer basis while holding down a full-time job as a general contractor.  I don’t have an office staff, so I do my best to get back to phone calls as quickly as possible, but emails are easier because I can respond anywhere. 

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