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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

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