CALGARY, Alta. – While some leagues have, or are about to commence their regular seasons, and others patiently await the opportunity to get going, Canadian Junior Hockey League coaches continues to gear up with either video sessions, on-ice drills and conditioning right up to full-fledged practices.
As we continue looking at what CJHL bench bosses have in their respective practice playbooks and their thoughts on recruiting prospects, the latest installment in this series features Corey Beer, the head coach of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Timmins Rock.
In three years at the helm in Timmins, up in northern Ontario, Beer has guided the Rock to much-improved win totals each season, including a solid 42-11-2-1 mark in 2019-20.
For each of the past two years, he has also served on the staff of Team Canada East at the World Junior A Challenge, helping his side win a silver medal at the 2019 international event held in Dawson Creek, B.C.
He was also the head coach for Team East at the 2020 CJHL Prospects Game held back in January in Hamilton, Ont.
Beer too had been selected to return to the Canada East staff for the 2020 WJAC, which was cancelled due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
BIO: The 35-year-old Oshawa, Ont., product has coached in the CJHL for nine seasons, including a six-year stint as an assistant in the OJHL before taking the helm in Timmins back in the summer of 2017. … He sports an overall record of 94-62-8-4 behind the Rock bench and signed a multi-year extension with the NOJHL club back in February to remain as the team’s head coach. … Served as an associate coach on the Cobourg Cougars (OJHL) side that won the then RBC Cup Canadian National Jr. A Championship in 2017.
FAVOURITE PRACTICE DRILL: Well, I don’t know that it’s even our favourite, or for our players either, but this is a drill I’ve been doing for over nine years now.
Well known for any player I’ve worked with; It’s called ‘The Plymouth Drill’, as I once saw the Whalers do a variation of it back in the day and have put our own spin on it.
Players pair up around the rink and set up one-on-one with one puck with it being a puck protection drill facing the boards.
On the whistle both players battle for the puck, from anywhere for 20-30 seconds and when the whistle goes again, the player without the puck skates a full lap around the ice.
Once he gets back to his partner, they switch spots.
It’s a complete workout. From there we jump into a high pace drill to see how our brains are working while exhausted. Anyone who’s done ‘The Plymouth Drill’ before always remembers it.
ADVICE ABOUT PLAYING IN THE CJHL: I think the biggest thing as a family that you’re looking for is a program that is honest at face value. They give you the opportunity to earn your ice and compete for it.
The worst thing you’d like to from some programs is players and families being promised ice time in order to recruit them.
It’s something as a coach you can’t hold your word to or your team culture goes out the window.
I think something we’ve set-up here in Timmins is giving our players the opportunity to earn their ice time. Our guys love the chance to compete.
NEXT UP: Paul Dyck, head coach/GM Steinbach Pistons (MJHL)
Photo credit: Michael Hall/CJHL Images