When Marc Telecky took the job as the fifth head coach in the Hutchinson girls hockey program’s history, he wasn’t sure how it would go. Everyone was telling him how different it would be going from coaching boys to girls, but so far into the few practices they’ve had, he’s been pleased with the commitment.
“People ask me all the time if there’s a difference,” he said. “There really is no difference, there’s passion on both sides.”
Telecky began coaching youth hockey back in Bemidji when he was studying for his undergraduate degree. He returned to Hutchinson soon after he graduated and wanted to give back to the program that he grew up playing in. His first job coaching in Hutchinson was for the local bantam B squad. Telecky was approached by someone who had a kid on one of the teams and asked if he was interest in more coaching.
“I thought about it for a very short period of time,” Telecky said. “I talked to my wife about it and decided to get into it. As they say, it’s water over the bridge.”
Telecky has a player-first mentality when it comes to his coaching philosophy. The team is one whole and that includes the coaches. They are not above the team, coaches or players, they all have a role.
“I like to tell the kids that we’re only as strong as our weakest link,” Telecky said. “It’s a cliché, but that weakest link can change day to day. It’s our job as a collective team to make sure that we’re all pulling in the right direction and supporting each other. That’s the attraction in coaching, is working with young kids and trying to help them achieve goals, but at the same time also trying to help them understand the importance of being good community members and contribute back to society as a whole.”
Telecky is a firm believer of the culture of a program, which is one of the main reasons he took the job to be the girls coach. He wants to provide a structure in the program so that the girls understand what it’s like to have fun, but also perform their roles correctly.
“Kids don’t think you can work hard and have fun,” Telecky said. “It’s really our responsibility as coach and mentor to show them that is very, very possible.”
Early in his career, Telecky wouldn’t mind being at the rink for six hours because it never felt like a job. As he has gotten older, the incentives became more about who he was with rather than the result. It’s the people that have been his favorite part of coaching, not just the success on the ice.
“When I was coaching with Todd (Grina) and Tim (Swenson) at the bantem level, we took the first-ever team in Hutchinson to the bantem state tournament,” Telecky said. “People think that’s the pinnacle just because we had a really strong team. My greatest memories really come from the relationship piece. When you have a coaching staff that you work with, and you’re pulling in the right direction, it makes for a very fun and fulfilling experience.”
Going on 20 years, Telecky is not sure where the end is. Coaching is something with which he takes a day-to-day approach. It gets harder and harder every year to get back on the saddle and grind with a team, but Telecky enjoys this year as much as any other and loves the group of girls he is working with.
If Telecky can make one girl a better hockey player than she was at the start of the year, then everything is perfect for him.