The Chicago Stallions Hockey Association names Kevin Doell as the organization’s new Assistant Hockey Director. Kevin has been skating for over 34 years, including as a player for both the Atlanta Thrashers and the Chicago Wolves. Kevin has been helping with clinics, power skates and camps for the last 8 years with the Stallions.
Mick Pyznarski, Hockey Director for the Stallions, has a deep level of respect for Kevin, his knowledge of the game, and his willingness to continue to learn. “During the early years of getting to know Kevin, what stood out the most about him was how much he loves being on the ice and working with kids. He is always looking for ways to expand his knowledge of teaching young hockey players.” says Pyznarski.
Kathy Monahan, President of the Chicago Stallions Hockey Association, is in full agreement. “I have known Kevin for a long time and have watched him work with all levels and ages of players. What strikes me most about Kevin is his passion for the game of hockey and his commitment to developing our players. I am thrilled he is joining our organization as Assistant Director, as I believe his steady temperament and positive attitude make him a strong role model for everyone involved with the Stallions.”
Welcome Kevin to the Stallions family and click on this story to read all about Kevin from a recent interview!
Getting to Know The Stallions New Assistant Hockey Director
It’s safe to say Kevin Doell, the new Assistant Hockey Director for the Stallions and former professional hockey player, has been around the rink a time or two. This hard sauce luvin’ Canuck has been skating for over 34 years, including playing for the Atlanta Thrashers and the Chicago Wolves.
We recently sat down with Kevin to learn more about how he developed a love for the game, hear his philosophy on player development, and uncover his preferences for all things hockey.
Q: Kevin, how long have you been involved in hockey?
I think I started skating when I was three years old. Where I lived, there was not much else to do in the winters but play hockey, so that’s what everybody did. I grew up in Saskatoon (Saskatchewan province of Canada), where there are lots of farms, and lots of outdoor rinks. Almost all the elementary schools have an outdoor rink as part of their playground.
Q: What is your favorite memory of playing hockey as a kid?
As a kid, definitely, it wasn’t even the organized hockey, it was more just going to the outdoor rink to skate literally after the bell would ring for us to get out of school until dinner time. We were all out on the ice playing shinny. Even if we didn’t have skates on we were in our boots playing as much hockey as we could. I was out there with all my buddies just having fun.
Q: What was the most important part of being on a team for you?
The main thing I got out of it was the relationships I made. The friendships you build being on a hockey team is definitely one of the big things I enjoy most.
Q: Who was your favorite coach as a hockey player?
Growing up, my dad was a really big influence on me. He helped coach the teams I played on.
In professional hockey, I played under John Anderson here in Chicago. He was definitely one of my favorite coaches in terms of learning the game and being a professional. He made hockey fun again. When you’re playing pro, it can get a little intense, but John managed to keep it fun.
Q: What is something a coach has said to you that has stuck with you over the years?
When my Dad helped coach, he wanted you to be the best, but he also said that you had to have fun too. He knew that if we were not having fun, we would not want to play, work hard, and get better. So for me, I always had fun going to the rink, wanting to get better and trying to get better – because he would tell me to have fun and enjoy it.
Q: What do you enjoy most about coaching?
That’s a pretty easy one for me. The biggest thing since I’ve started helping out is seeing the development in the kids as they get better, both on and off the ice. It’s not only the on ice skills the learn, but also as part of a team they learn a lot of values off the ice that can play a big part in their future.
Q: What are you excited about as the Assistant Hockey Director for the Stallions?
I’m excited to help the program grow, and with more kids playing, we can continue to provide a competitive space where players can grow with the Stallions.
I’m also excited to be part of a group of coaches that is so passionate. I’m looking forward to learning from each other to improve upon our coaching abilities, and passing it on to the kids to give them a better experience.
Q: What two things do you most want the Stallions players to do over the course of the next season?
Have fun. I’ve been a part of teams where it’s not that fun going to the rink, and it makes for a painful year regardless of whether you’re winning or losing. I believe it’s up to us as coaches to create an environment where the players want to come no matter what is going on at school or home; an environment where the kids always want to learn more.
Learn what it is to be part of a team as well as the process of being an individual on a team. Even just grasping those two things will help establish some habits in the kids that will not only help on the ice, but also in the future.
Q: You’ve mentioned having fun a couple of times. What do you think ensuring that the players look forward to going to the rink means for the program?
For me, winning is not everything, and I don’t believe we should be putting pressure on our kids to win all the time. What we are going to focus on is improving each player, making them better stick handlers, passers, and skaters. If we improve our skill development and make the kids excited to be at the rink, make it fun, I think winning comes from that.
Q: Ok Kevin, now for the tough questions. Can you describe a hockey parent in five words or less?
Ooh boy. I guess I would say passionate, dedicated, patient, supportive, maybe a little bit crazy.
Q: Exactly how much dental work have you had done as a result of your "love for the game"?
Well, I’ve broken my jaw and I’ve had my two front teeth replaced. Once I took a puck in the mouth and six or seven of my teeth got pushed back, so they had to do some work to yank them back in to place to make them look a little better.
Q: Let’s talk hockey music. Thunderstruck (ACDC) or Here Comes the Boom (Nelly)?
Here Comes the Boom. Although growing up, Thunderstruck was our big song getting pumped up, but then again there was really no hip hop at the time (he says like it was the 1960’s…)
Q: Miracle on Ice or Mighty Ducks?
Definitely Mighty Ducks. I’m Canadian. I think it’s cool that the U.S. won, but [due to my nationality] I’m not allowed to choose Miracle on Ice.
Q: If not hockey, then what?
I wish I could have played hockey longer, but I knew it was going to come to an end. When people would ask what I was going to be when I left hockey, I always said “a professional gambler.” On the bus to games there would always be a card game going like Blackjack or Texas Hold ‘Em, and I would always want to play.