Coming from France where you have one hockey rink every 60 km, one adult rec team per rink… choosing a leisure hockey league isn’t really a headscratcher… There is only one…

Once in Canada, it was a different story: So many leagues… So many calibers… So many choices…

I landed on a team called The Chefs. After one pretty mediocre season, the team manager stepped out and on his way out asked if anyone would like to take over…

A singular hand went up, mine.. and that moment marked the beginning of 8 years of team management. Here are the similarities I noticed in running The Chefs and running Exocet Technologies:

It takes time and effort to build team chemistry. After our first season, 90% of our team didn’t come back. Why? The team was created from scratch and there was no alchemy. The next season I learned from my mistakes, paid more attention in the recruiting department, interviewed the players on the phone, explained that I was looking for well-minded people more than skilled players. The turnover decreased slowly, season after season, and we crafted a solid core team.

Team culture is essential and I found it much harder to build this in Canada than in Europe. I’ve come to realize that in Canada, people tend to compartmentalize their lives: WORK | SPORT | FRIENDS | FAMILY. I took it upon myself to try and break some of these barriers and build a common culture.

It requires constant involvement. To keep things running smoothly, you must handle the annoying administrative and organizational details to make sure everyone is well and happy. I suggest avoiding micromanagement, people are grown up and know what to do, just make sure the roster is full and that people know where and when to go.

 

Antoine Tapin

Leave a Reply