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Last night I went and checked out the Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes game. Kelowna had lost the night before to Chilliwack and was looking to get back in the win Kelowna. The Hurricanes are sitting on the outside looking in on the playoff picture and need to pick up points wherever they can get them. Even if that means on the road against the top team in the BC division.

Checking out the visiting roster before the game I noticed the Lethbridge goalie Anderson, I think that was him name, had 14 penalty minutes. Either this guy has trouble playing the puck or he loses his cool from time to time.

So Kelowna would do well to put pressure on the Lethbridge d-men and get in Anderson’s face.

The game was 4-2 half way through the third when the Hurricanes got within one of the power play.

But after a bit of a delay the goal was disallowed as a delayed penalty for spearing against the ‘Canes was to be called at the next stoppage. This next stopage ended up being Lethbridge’s 3rd goal which was called back.

Instead Kelowna ended up with a double minor power play and Wudrich buried one in the slot to make it 5-2.

This all but ended the ‘Canes chance at a comeback.

But it’s also where the visitor’s became totally unravelled.

Rich Preston, the Lethbridge coach, wanted to share a few of his thoughts with the refs. The coach then proceeded to throw everything that wasn’t bolted down on the visiting bench onto the ice.

The Lethbridge players got in on the act as well throwing all the water bottles, clip boards and gatorage jugs onto the ice.

One of the key Lethbridge forwards was thrown out of the game.

After the final horn a Hurricane player skated to center ice and tapped his stick on the ice in mocking acknowledgement of the officials.

So what’s the point of this whole story?

It’s that there has to be a culture of respect on your team.

It’s that this culture is established at the top and trickles down to the captains, assistants, over age players and to the young guys.

And unfortunately the culture that Preston has established in Lethbridge is not a good one. It is not a winning one. And it is not one that should continue.

Regardless of whether a team is having success or not you want to be able to stay in control of your emtions.

You want to put your energies and efforts on achieving team established goals and tactics.

You want to make decisions that set a good example.

And you want to do things that allow everyone underneath the coach to quickly and easily know and understand what their culture is all about.

Now when you look back and recall the penalty minutes the Lethbridge goalie has amassed this year it all makes sense. He is simply following the example that has been set for him.

Unfortunately it is a bad example and will lead to an early end to the Hurricanes season. And as long as Preston stays on as coach of this team there will be going nowhere.

Chris                                                                                                                                  onsidehockeytraining.com

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