Leadership, Trust and Communication: Tips To See More Than Just New Coaches On The Bench
By Carmen Dittoe – Silvertips Staff Writer
EVERETT, Wash. — Change is waiting in the wings for the Everett Silvertips Hockey Club. With the addition of two new assistant coaches, the franchise is set to see a few differences this season. However, with the strong character amid the team’s new leaders and the familiarity on the bench, the staff is set to move mountains.
Harry Mahood (Thompson, Man.) and Louis Mass (Anchorage, Alaska) are two strong leaders both familiar with success…and with head coach Dennis Williams. Mahood, with nearly 20 years as a coach under his belt, has spent time coaching with Williams on the benches of the Bloomington Thunder and the Amarillo Bulls. Mass, a former defenseman, skated four seasons at Bowling Green State Univ. (NCAA) that he also spent playing alongside Williams.
While Mass and Mahood share a similar colleague, the pair also shares many of the values they hold both on and off the ice. Specifically: trust, communication, and positive leadership.
“It’s really important to start with a foundation of trust and working on just being a good communicator,” explained Mass. “No matter what you say from an ‘X’s and O’s’ standpoint, no matter what you have on your tool belt as a coach, if you don’t communicate well and have a good relationship with the people you’re working with, nothing goes anywhere.”
Mahood is also a firm believer in the power of productive communication, and expressed that in coaching, it is “the most important skill yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”
“It’s important to know that it’s also not necessarily in the aspect of what myself or other coaches might be saying,” said Mahood, “but more importantly being a really good listener. An attentive listener. Attentive listening helps the coach to understand the athlete and work towards ‘self and team efficacy’. It’s amazing, if you listen, what players are telling you that can help you coach them. Listening to the athlete becomes the bridge that we can build and grow our relationship on.”
Mass, who spent 13 seasons as a player and coach for the Alaska Aces, believes his time spent on the ice has given him an invaluable understanding of the lives of the young men he coaches.
“One of the biggest things I’ve gained over the years is perspective. I was always a depth player, I wasn’t ever really a star on any team I played on. So I really understand what it’s like to be one of those players,” explained Mass. “Being successful with championship teams I’ve worked with and also being on teams that struggled to win provides a perspective of the journey these players are on.”
The three-time Kelly Cup Championship coach believes that the ability to put things into context with players can help the young guys through the pressure and stress they’re battling while pointing them in the right direction and revealing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Similarly to his new colleague, Mahood also holds regard for the essence of encouraging and understanding the players one is coaching.
“The most important aspect of coaching is to inspire a spirit of growth,” said Mahood. “And after doing so, to encourage and challenge young players to go out there, take those obstacles, conquer them, overcome them, and bring back something of value.”
Coach Williams hopes Mahood’s pattern of thinking and execution will only continue the success of the team. “His knowledge and philosophy with generating development and offense produced great results during our time together, and it’s what we’re looking for in fulfilling this kind of role,” said Williams.
With Mass’ resume proving his drive for winning and development, the head coach believes “his character and leadership skills set a tremendous example for our players, and his championship experience carrying all the way to the pro level will be invaluable to our team.”
While Williams is excited to have a such a winning spirit on the bench, Mass explained that what he is most looking forward to is the potential in players such as the ones in Everett.
“I’m excited to be with hungry, committed hockey players. The kids who are completely committed to being their best and doing whatever it takes—those are the fun people to be around as a coach,” said Mass.
The dynamic trio of coaches will grace the Silvertips bench next season, prepared and hopeful in their ability to lead the team to the victories the players are so ready for.