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2020 Fred Heslop Minor Hockey Week Awards - Croft Kurka
Monday, April 20, 2020

Croft coaches two (2) of my boys and has far exceeded my expectations as a coach at the pre-Novice level. His passion and love for the game and for the kids shows when he is at the rink. He genuinely wants the kids to succeed and do well. He wants them to learn how to play as a team and to play correctly from the start of their time in hockey.

We recently played in a tournament, he made sure to keep track of who was playing "goalie", who was on each line change to ensure it was fair to all the kids. In the change room before and after the game, he was so positive and energetic.  It boosted the boy’s energy levels and was so fun to watch.
Recently, he came to me and asked what size of skates my youngest son wore.  He offered for him to try a different brand of skates he had.  He had recognized that my son had improved a significant amount since the beginning of the season and that perhaps a different style might work better for him. And it did!  My son is flying around the ice now, despite my being unsure how a pair of skates could make that difference especially at that age!  Another parent had commented to me that he made a similar recommendation to another parent because he was sure watching their child his skates were hurting his feet and perhaps that's why he's not enjoying being on the ice. For a coach to notice these things that we as parents wouldn't know or notice and so kindly let us know is nice - again it shows his dedication and desire for the kids to succeed and to love the sport.

Croft also volunteers when needed and when he is able to at a morning skills optional practice (Novice and up) held twice a week at 6:30-8:00am (before work and school).  Watching him last practice he pointed out to the kids in such a nice (non-nagging way) that it is much easier to pass the puck when they're spread out.  Again, I watched him time the kids shift changes when they were scrimmaging, to make sure it was fair! And he was encouraging to every single kid out there.

While I feel like these are qualities that every coach should have, every coach does not have these qualities about them, nor the dedication. Croft is a model of what a coach should be! I feel so incredibly grateful to have him as my sons’ coach and can only hope they have him again as they continue so that they continue to have positive hockey experiences.

Croft's son plays on the same team. He is a nice kid and you can see the values that have been instilled in him from the beginning.  His son is an extremely good little hockey player and he has such a good attitude when he's on the ice.  During the last tournament, I felt he really helped bring the team together on the ice as well. This kid could single handily score every single goal on his own, he's fast and he's accurate. But he made sure to always pass - even if he was on a "break-away," he would put on the brakes and pass to the kid that was in front of the net, no matter who the kid was on his team (one of the younger ones or one of the older ones).  If the kids missed, he never got upset or frustrated, he would do it again and pass for them to try again. This had a positive effect as the other kids started modelling his same behaviour.

Croft's other son plays Novice and has much the same attitude as his younger brother from what I have seen from him at optional practices. I think these are skills and mannerisms they have been taught by their dad.


 
      

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