MJHL -- News

Team West focuses on team bonding
Friday, December 31, 2010

Teamwork. It’s often an overused term in the world of sports, but for anyone who has ever played or coached, they know just how important it is to have the team working/thinking as one.

The challenge facing Team West at the World Under 17 Challenge being staged in Winnipeg and Portage is developing teamwork.

“You can’t play well as team if you don’t get along, or know the other guys,” says Brendan Harms, one of two MJHL players on the Team West squad. “We’re shooting for a medal. It’s important for us to gel.”

Harms, who suits up for the Portage Terriers, is joined by fellow MJHLer Landon Peel of Swan Valley Stamps. A third MJHL rep, David Anning, GM/Head Coach of Winnipeg Saints,  is an assistant coach with Team West.

“Team bonding is very important in a short tournament such as this,” says Anning. “Leading up to the tournament we had been sending correspondence to all the players...so by the time they arrived they knew about us (coaching staff) and their teammates.

“Once everyone arrived in Winnipeg we did a number of team building exercises. It’s very important to gel the team quickly.”

Recently, Team West players participated in a team-building session which featured two members of the Winnipeg Police Service special tactical team. The one-hour session focused on the importance of teamwork, and relying on teammates under stressful situations.

“The guys really enjoyed that session,” says Harms. “They talked about the importance of working together, working as a team, and trusting your team members.”

Team West will lean heavily on this advice as it attempts to reach its ultimate goal: advancing to the gold medal game. But, they also know they have a number of challenges to overcome. Calibre of player being foremost.

For Anning, an assistant coach with Team Manitoba at last year’s West Canadian Under-16 Challenge in Red Deer, Ab., he’s able to draw upon that experience at the World Under-17.

“The skill level of this tournament is unbelievable,” says Anning. “Many guys here are already playing major junior hockey, in addition to Junior A. The skill level of the European players is very impressive.”

While playing in the World Under 17 is a highlight for these MJHLers, it does cause a bit of stress as they are away from their regular club.

Harms, who hails from Steinbach, is currently leading Portage in scoring; his offensive punch will be missed by the Terriers.

“I watched the scoreboard when the Saints are playing,” Anning says with a laugh. “I’m really lucky to have such a strong group helping me when I’m away. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t see how I could have participated in this.”

Meanwhile Harms and Peel are focused at the task at hand: getting Team West victories.

CLICK HERE to see the complete World Under-17 schedule.