Paul MacLean teaches hockey fundamentals to kids yesterday at Amherst Stadium. DAVE MATHIESON - AMHERST DAILY NEWS
AMHERST - Kids attending the Amherst Ramblers Hockey School yesterday were taught by the NHL's Paul MacLean.
The Detroit Red Wing assistant coach also played for 11 years in the NHL and came to Amherst Stadium to teach kids valuable skills.
"For their age group they did well," MacLean said. "Hockey school has all different levels, from beginning to elite players, and it's important that kids have fun and learn in a fun atmosphere because hockey's a game you can play for an awfully long time without having to be really good at it."
The 52-year old MacLean grew up playing hockey in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
"I was part of junior hockey in Nova Scotia when I was a youngster and this is an opportunity to give something back."
When it comes to hockey skills, MacLean likes to emphasize passing.
"To me, if you want to play in the National Hockey League, you have to be able to pass the puck," MacLean said. "I played with a lot of guys who couldn't skate and couldn't shoot but I never played with one guy who couldn't pass.
"The passing skills at the NHL level are probably the most impressive thing that I see on a daily basis."
Courage can also carry a player a long way down the road towards the NHL.
"Not just anybody has that courage within them to step out on the ice," MacLean said. "A lot of guys have the skill set but don't have the courage."
MacLean hasn't been in Amherst in a while but said, "It's a pleasure to be back."
"This is a good opportunity for me to come back and meet some of the kids and give back to junior hockey in Nova Scotia and support Corey and the staff," he said. "Corey and his group have done a great job here in Amherst keeping the Ramblers alive, and making sure they're competitive in an ultra-competitive league.
"Everything in hockey is the same," he added. "It's competitive, and the rich teams seem to be able to be more competitive than the rest. But when you look at the standings in the league, the Amherst program has always been good.
"It's a credit to Corey and his staff."