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McLaren adds NHL Experience to Jr. Sharks Program

Friday, 11.30.2012 / 1:25 PM / News
By Jason Plank  - Staff Writer
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McLaren adds NHL Experience to Jr. Sharks Program

Five years ago Kyle McLaren was patrolling the San Jose Sharks blueline as one of the League’s most renowned hip-checking defenseman.

Now he’s helping the next generation of hockey players hone their craft.

“It’s funny because the kids always ask me about the hip check and the yellow visor,” McLaren said with a laugh. “When it comes to the hip check, I tell them it’s something you learn over time. They’re still young but they’re so passionate.”

As the newest member of the Junior Sharks coaching staff, McLaren is taking the first step into the coaching side of his hockey career. After his departure from the NHL in 2010 due to knee complications he settled down in the Bay Area with his wife and four kids to figure out what he wanted to do next. He played men’s league hockey at Sharks Ice. He watched the NHL on television. And through those experiences he realized that the passion he’s had for the game since his mom taught him to skate in Saskatchewan at the age of 5 had never wavered.

Which is why he jumped at the opportunity when former teammate and current Director of Junior Sharks Curtis Brown gave him a call.

“Curtis approached me this past spring and see if I was interested in joining the organization as a coach,” McLaren said. “Being in San Jose I said why not? It’s fun being around the kids and teaching them. It’s something new that I haven’t done before, but it’s also something I know I can succeed at being around the game for so long.”

McLaren will officially serve as an assistant coach for the 15U boys Triple A team this year but it should come as no surprise that the entire Junior Sharks program will benefit from having a former San Jose Sharks defenseman on the coaching staff. Learning from a former player with a 12-season NHL career on his resume gives local players the opportunity to see how a former pro approaches the game on a day-to-day basis.

It is a unique asset that Bay Area hockey is fully beginning to realize—with former NHL players like McLaren, Curtis Brown, Mike Ricci, and Doug Wilson putting down roots in Santa Clara county following the culmination of their professional careers, a crucial support system of coaches and talent are helping give back to the hockey community they helped create.

A hockey community McLaren sees growing well into the future.

“It’s one of those things where the kids are getting so much better than 5-10 years ago,” McLaren said. “Every year you see more Californian kids getting drafted and getting a chance to play at the higher levels. California hockey has grown over time and I think it’s only going to grow even bigger.”

As a first year coach he is looking forward to teaching younger players and dealing with a new set of challenges. It’s all a part of the learning experience, and something that McLaren is anticipating as he helps the program continue to grow.

“Getting into coaching is something different for me,” McLaren said. “The opportunity to learn from Curtis and learn from the kids is great. I’ve always wanted to get back into hockey some way and being a coach with this program is a great way for me to do that.”

“I’m really looking forward to it.”

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 64 40 17 7 189 177 87
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 62 36 23 3 180 167 75
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
9 LAK 62 29 21 12 166 162 70
10 SJS 63 30 25 8 175 181 68
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 63 27 26 10 196 210 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 63 31 26 12 57
L. Couture 63 21 32 0 53
J. Thornton 59 12 40 -2 52
B. Burns 63 16 30 -4 46
P. Marleau 63 14 31 -16 45
T. Wingels 56 13 15 -5 28
T. Hertl 63 10 14 -3 24
J. Braun 52 1 19 2 20
M. Vlasic 58 7 11 10 18
M. Nieto 53 4 13 -10 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 24 17 7 .912 2.62
A. Stalock 5 7 1 .899 2.85
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