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Q&A with Hershey Bears Video Coach Emily Engel-Natzke

By Tom Robinson, 12/04/20, 12:15PM MST


Engel-Natzke’s hockey resume includes the Wisconsin Badgers and USA Hockey

Emily Engel-Natzke has turned years of video work with USA Hockey and the University of Wisconsin into a job as video coach with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears, the top affiliate of the Washington Capitals.               

Hershey Vice President of Hockey Operations Bryan Helmer announced Engle-Natzke’s hiring in November.             

Engel-Natzke first worked with USA Hockey in 2013 and has served as part of the coaching staff for the U18 Women’s National Team and the senior U.S. Women’s National Team.              

At the University of Wisconsin, Engel-Natzke served as the assistant director of operations/video coordinator. The Fort Collins, Colorado, native worked with both the men’s and women’s hockey teams 2015-17 before concentrating on work with just the men’s team 2017-20.               

Engle-Natzke assisted coaches with scouting reports on opponents and game-by-game video breakdowns. She also created video content for players, recruits and alumni.

Engle-Natzke discussed her past and present roles in an interview with How did you get into coaching?

Emily Engel-Natzke: I grew up playing hockey from middle school basically up until college where I played club hockey.

I was really lucky to be around some great coaches in high school and also at the University of Colorado for club hockey. I think that maybe got the itch going a little bit.

I just love the game. I love seeing it progress. I kind of developed an interest for it over time.

USAH: How about the video side of coaching? Is that something you knew you wanted to get into, or did it just evolve from other duties?

EE: It definitely evolved. I got my bachelor’s degree in film production, but that was more movies and TV. Because I had always loved sports, I really wanted to try and put those two together.

I really didn’t know this job existed before I graduated college. I was lucky enough to get to go to the World University Games as a video coordinator for the U.S. women’s team. That’s kind of where I figured out that this was something I wanted to make a career out of.

USAH: What are you most excited about in your new role with the Hershey Bears?

EE: It’s a lot more games than we were used to in the NCAA. It’s the new challenge that I’m most excited about.

It’s a little different workflow. It’s a little more video heavy, which is something I really like to do. It’s a little different, but I’m excited for it.

USAH: In either your past experience or as you anticipate your new role, do you see your video work helping your players go over what they’re doing or do you see it as a scouting component? Is there a balance there or one that you do more than the other?

EE: I think both are very important

I think especially the age group in college, but also in professional hockey, players are very visual. It’s great for them to see something on a screen rather than just hear about it from a coach. I think it’s really helpful for players to be able to see some mistakes that maybe they didn’t even realize that they did and then also to see some of the good things they did as well.

Also on the scouting side, we’re kind of the messenger between opponents and our own coaches and players.

I would say they’re both equally important. It’s just a matter of how you accomplish those things.

USAH: As a video coach, is there such a thing as a typical day. And, if so, could you break it down?

EE: There’s definitely things that you do every day.

For me, we film all of our practices and, obviously breaking down opponents, looking over scout film, going through NHL clips that we can use to teach players on the collegiate level.

There are things that come up every day and I tell people I’m a bit of a jack of all trades and anything that comes up visual goes to me. So, there are things that come up all the time.

But, in general, it’s filming practice, pulling clips that we can use and then, on game day, making sure the camera feeds are working — the opposing team is able to see that camera feed or TV feed, breaking down everything in game to make sure nothing weird happens and there is not a goal we can challenge.

We make sure all of that is uploaded to the players to their iPads, so they can view their shifts and make sure they’re ready for the next game. 

USAH: How has your experience at the University of Wisconsin and with Team USA helped advance your career?

EE: I’ve been really luck to work with some really great coaches, both with UW and USA Hockey.

Tony Granato and his staff, having that NHL experience, they gave me a workload that was comparable to what an NHL or an American League coach can expect.

With USA Hockey, Bob Corkum, Joel Johnson, Brian Pothier, they all have such great experience in hockey. They all see things from a different perspective, but with them kind of leaning on me for video, it can be a lot of video in a short amount of time.

It was just being able to work with really great hockey minds and kind of seeing things from different perspectives.

USAH: Last of all, do you have any advice for anyone who dreams of coaching professionally, whether in a video role specifically or coaching in general?

EE: People are going to see the game differently than you or other coaches that you worked with.

Always be a student. You can take little bits of information as you go and put it together.

Just be a sponge and always be learning.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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