Meet the Coaches: Sandra Gans

2021-22 Team: U15 A

Coaching History: 1 year with VFIHA (U15 A)

What was your coaching pathway?
I started coaching skills and drills when I was 15 at the local arena where I learned to skate in Toronto. To be honest, coaching was never formally presented to me. I needed a part time job in high school, and on a toss up between reffing and coaching, I went the coaching route. Upon reflection, that was definitely the right decision! I coached learn to skate, power skating, intro to hockey, and skills and drills for kids ages 3-12 for about 6 years. When I heard of a coaching opportunity with VFIHA, I was extremely excited. I stared coaching U15, and while I did have prior experience with that age group from summer camp jobs, it was the first time coaching that calibre of players on the ice. They were awesome.

Who is a coach you had in minor hockey who inspired you?
Growing up I did not have too many coaches that were not parents of kids on the team, and because of the nature of Ontario female hockey, the coaches often bounced around many different levels, age groups, and organizations, making it a little hard to really bond with any of them. That being said, my first year in female hockey, when I was 11, was the first time I had a full female coaching staff. Unfortunately it was the only year I had that, but that was truly inspiring, and really made me want to let other young women feel the benefits of being coached by female role models.

What is your coaching philosophy?
Skate hard, have fun! I think my players last year can really attest to this. Having coached power skating, and with the COVID restrictions in place, we definitely focused on a lot of skating technique and endurance. I really believe that skating is the biggest fundamental of the sport, and if your players can out-skate the other team, there is little they can do to stop you! On top of that, it is really important for these players to have an outlet to have fun and be with their friends – this past year especially. I tried to do everything I could to find unique games and activities we could play, within our guidelines, to really ensure they were leaving with a big smile on their faces (behind their masks of course) for days to come.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from hockey?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from hockey is that hard work conquers all. While a better team may be faster or may have a harder, more accurate shot, the harder working team will come out on top.

Interested in joining VFIHA as a coach? Contact us at coach@vfiha.com