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 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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