Last week, the Canmore Eagles were back on the ice for the start of their development season. A couple of new faces were on the ice to assist with practices and to teach skills to the Eagles group. Among those are Kyle McLaughlin and Eagle alumni Bryan Arneson.
“With Bryan it was an easy transition,” says Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “His season is not starting until December if it goes, and he’s doing some online classes at Grant McEwan, so the timing worked well. This is a great opportunity for him to get some hands on experience. He’s able to come in and help give the guys some of the knowledge he has of a pro career, a collegiate career and junior career. He’s relatable to the players, and there’s an instant amount of respect given for his accomplishments to date.”
Arneson played three seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. With the Eagles, he suited up for 86 regular season games in which he tallied 17 goals and picked up 44 points. After his junior career, he played 3 seasons in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference at Grant McEwen University, before playing Pro Hockey in the Southern Professional League and the East Coast League. Since graduating from the Eagles, Arneson has been keeping a strong connection with the organization by coming back to Canmore as often as he can. In the last few years, he has helped out with the spring hockey program and summer hockey school.
“Playing Junior A here, then going on to University and then playing a little bit of pro in the SPHL and ECHL has given me some knowledge and experience I can hopefully give back. Having worked with the skills and development coaches from both the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins organizations, I was able to pick up on a few things.” says Arneson.
The Eagles also welcomed Canmore native Kyle McLaughlin to the staff. Kyle brings a lot of experience to the Eagles both as a player and a coach. Kyle played 4 seasons of Junior A Hockey in Ontario with the Nepean Raiders (1991-1995) before moving on to play NCAA Division I hockey at St.Cloud State University in Minnesota. While in University, McLaughlin coached in summer hockey schools and worked with USA Hockey in skill development. He started coaching again over 10 years ago with Minor Hockey as well as spring hockey throughout the province.
“Kyle is a guy that I have known for a lot of years and worked with in the Minor Hockey system. He has passion for skill development in our sport.” says Coach Milne. “He has separated himself from a lot of Minor Hockey coaches, and put himself in a good position to learn from some high-end skill development coaches over the years. So for us, it was a great opportunity with this development season to break things down on a smaller level and focus on finer skill development. We are not as driven to coach systematically right now with the lack of game play in the immediate future, so for Kyle to come in and break down skills, it’s huge for the players. Kyle’s background, having played at the Division I level, and his extensive knowledge of the game and the skills required to play has given the players a boost of confidence.”
“Andrew contacted me this summer and was talking a little bit about trying to enhance the program here with adding more skill development and it was a pretty easy answer to say yes to work with this great group,” says McLaughlin. “My role is primarily to work in practice with the players working in various areas of skill development, specifically their position, but also different skill sets. It’s been really good so far. I have been able to get on the ice a few times with the team, and run 2 practices, That’s going to be my role, a couple of practices per week that will focus on skill development. Trying to help these guys work on their skills, so they can get to their next level and achieve their goals”.
The Eagles are in the 2nd week of their development camp and Coach Milne is pleased with what he has seen so far. “We have surrounded our players with some good people in terms of what we are looking for with the on-ice component. Off the ice, Megan has done a great job of conditioning them and keeping them fit and healthy.” says Coach Milne. “We’ve given the players every tool they need in order to be successful here in the development season. So far, it’s been great. The guys have been putting the work in during the day and having some fun away from the rink. They’ve done all sorts of activities Canmore has to offer like golfing, hiking, fishing, rock climbing and outdoor training. We will continue to build off of what makes Canmore so cool and such a great place to play.
The Eagles development season is scheduled to continue until October 16.