Often in hockey if the team is winning the coach is overlooked. This is true whether we are talking about professional or youth, but the coach will be lambasted by the fans or the parents if the team is losing. When the Atlanta Thrashers are on a winning streak Ilya Kovalchuk is generally given most of the credit. When they lose you can hear echoes of “off with John Anderson’s head” from as far away as the cheap seats way at the top of Phillips Arena.
Coach Randy Yamarino has to know that feeling very well. As coach of the Kennesaw Pee Wee Junior Thrashers A division team he has seen and heard it all. Coaching a travel team where there has to be a fine line between player development, skill improvement and winning is not a cake walk. “ Parents expect the coach to produce wins quickly and often to justify the money they are spending.” said successful veteran youth coach Sam Schneider whose son Mathieu plays in the NHL.
Yamarino took over the head coaching assignment almost 2 years ago and initially endured skepticism and complaints. Coach Randy, who has a motivating and passionate style of communicating to his players was widely second guessed when he decided to take his squirt team up to AA status to play the toughest competition last season.
Many of the parents were against it and expressed their feelings about the move. After some early losses Yamarino’s strategy started to finally pay dividends. The team started to win games against teams they had not been expected to beat at the start of the season. Yamarino’s shoot for the stars and land on the moon philosophy began to pay off. The team went on to win several tournaments and capped off a highly successful season by winning the Regional Silver Sticks tournament. Several championship banners and some nice hardware now is on display in Kennesaw thanks to Yamarino’s efforts.
This season the majority of the successful squirt team coached by Yaminaro moved up to the Pee Wee A division and continued to improve their performance against bigger and faster competition.
The team came just short of winning another Silver Sticks tournament and barely lost in weekend tournament held January 15-18 in Charleston, South Carolina. “The kids played well but the puck didn’t bounce our way. We had to settle for runner-up this time” said Coach Randy.
The team ; Jake Rodon, Dawson Vangelder, Brandon Wood, Cole Uzzell, Michael Jones, John Baer, Dylan Ross, Michel Bright, Mason Bright, Davis van Gemerden and Dominick Yamarino were all honored at the ECHL Carolina Stingrays versus Kalamazoo Wings game.
“Its all about continuing to improve” said Coach Yaminaro.