What Does It Take To Be An Assistant Hockey Coach

Webster’s defines a coach as a person who teaches and trains an athlete. Strangely enough, there is no definition for assistant coach. While it is easy enough to conjure up a definition, it is not easy to come up with the job description for an assistant coach. Just what tasks should a good assistant coach be responsible for?

Fortunately, I have just such a list!


  •  Ten minutes before practice starts, remind the team that practice starts in ten minutes.
  • Before the squad gets onto the ice, verify that all of the bench and rink doors are closed and secured properly.
  • Set the nets up in the goal crease.
  • Get cones, tires, pads and any other equipment ready. If you don’t have your goalie, put the “shooter tutor” on the empty net.
  • Before each new drill, place the pucks where they need to be. This saves valuable time between drills.
  • During drills, if the puck supply gets low, fish pucks out of the goalie net, and return them to play.
  • Keep a list of drills to run, in case the Head Coach is late.
  • Where appropriate, substitute yourself for a cone.
  • Practice is a good time to figure out who has equipment problems. Every so often, check player’s helmets to ensure proper fit. Alslo, inspect helmet hardware.
  • Get a list of concussion symptoms and keep it with you.
  • Count up the number of players in each color jersey. Figure out which combination of colors makes for an equitable division. This saves time when divvying up teams for small area games.
  • After practice, and after the Zam makes its first cut, hang the nets up on the boards.


  •  Create a team attendance list. List players by last name only, hockey coaches never use first names. Use this list to check in players as they arrive. The same sheet can be used to designate lines and defensive pairings.
  • Put your CEP number on the attendance list. Chances are your team manager will always ask you for it.
  • Prepare a list of warm up exercises. Vary the list, to lessen the routine. Mix in fun games for warm up; soccer, football or ultimate frisbee.
  • check the league website to obtain opponent specific information; record, penalties, win-loss record, player stats. Basically, any information which could give your squad an upper hand.
  • Assemble a small tool kit. Include various pieces of helmet and cage hardware. also include skate blade nuts and bolts. A spare chin strap, mouth guard and skate laces can come in handy.
  • Verify that all of your players have mouthguards.
  • Get a list of concussion symptoms and keep it with you.
  • If one of your players gets banged up, but is ok, have them give the ok sign or thumbs up, to their parents.