The East Coast Elite League is home to many of the best players, coaches, and, most importantly, people in the world of youth hockey. Coming from all backgrounds, the members of our league bring a lot more to the table than simply just a passion for the game of hockey.
Hill Academy Coach Travis Wight has been at the helm for many successful teams both in the ECEL and in other notable leagues. Stepping into coaching after playing for the University of Maine (NCAA I) and professionally in the East Coast Hockey League, Travis Wight has coached a number of professional and NCAA Division I caliber players throughout the time he has been behind the bench. With that being said, we sat down with Coach Wight to hear more about his coaching style, experience as a player, and goals for the upcoming season.
How did you get into coaching?
“My first coaching experience happened to be in the Central Hockey League (CHL), which is now the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) for the Wichita Thunder. It was actually under West Coast Renegades coach Kevin McClelland. I was a player under Coach McClelland for 3 years with the Thunder and he gave me an opportunity to transition immediately from a player to a coach, as his assistant.”
How does your experience as a player influence your coaching style?
“My experience as a player influences my coaching style by the systems and practice drills I implement. Playing experience is important in terms of coaching because it is rare to see a scenario as a coach you haven’t dealt with as a player in the past. This helps with feedback given to players for improvement and adjusting to a specific team’s game plan. Also, I was fortunate enough to play college hockey at the D1 level at the University of Maine. Since most of our players have aspirations of playing collegiate level hockey, I am able to use my experience to help them through the process and answer any question they do have.”
What makes playing and coaching at Hill Academy unique?
“The Hill Academy is unique because of the culture we try to instill at the school every day. The H-I-L-L is an acronym for H-highest level of achievement, I-independent thought, L-leadership, and L-legacy. We are not only trying to build student athletes, but better people. Because at the end of the day, competitive hockey will come to an end for everyone.”
What has your experience been like playing in the East Coast Elite League?
“This upcoming season will be my 5th as part of the ECEL. The best part of the league for me is the NCAA exposure the league is able to attract for the players. Being a Canadian school, we have to deal with travel parameters, but it is worth it. The Boston and New England area is a prime location for NCAA schools to be able to scout and recruit. Being in their ‘backyard’ so to speak, it makes much more sense for us to come to down to the Boston area where there are multiple schools within a couple hours, rather than them having to drive up or fly to Toronto; logistically it works well.”
As the season quickly approaches, what are your goals for this upcoming year?
“My goals for the upcoming season are not so much with wins and losses, but more so development. We all want to win, but I want to see players improve and take their game to that next level. This goes hand in hand with winning because if each player can achieve this, it will ultimately make us a better team.”
We thank Coach Wight for taking the time to answer our questions, and we look forward to seeing him and the rest of the ECEL coaches and players this upcoming season!
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