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Nine-time Cup-winner plays to packed house

By Dave Fischer & Jamie Fabos, 06/23/05, 12:30PM MDT

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Grand Rapids, Mich. -- In front of a standing room only audience at the Ambassador Ballroom of the Amway Grand Plaza here last night, Scotty Bowman served as keynote speaker to set the 2005 National Hockey Coaches Symposium off in grand fashion.

Nearly 600 filled the ballroom near the banks of the Grand River to see the nine-time Stanley Cup-winning head coach who retired in 2002, at the age of 68, after leading the Detroit Red Wings to their third Cup since his arrival in 1993.

Bowman spoke on Wednesday evening on a number of topics, but addressed a few questions that so many people want to know. What are the keys to a great player?

1. Head for the game
2. Heart
3. Good feet

He also passed along a list of the four people who had the greatest influence on his career.

1. Toe Blake
2. Punch Imlach
3. Bob Johnson
4. Anatoli Tarasov

As for one reason that today's game has lost its high-scoring ways, said Bowman, it comes down to the fact that in the '60s and '70s, forwards simply weren't as capable skating backward.

Following Bowman's keynote address and and Opening Reception last night, the 2005 National Hockey Coaches Symposium officially opened this morning with presentations from Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey, and Mark Tabrum, director of USA Hockey's Coaching Education Program.

DeGregorio addressed more than 500 coaches with a message of congratulations, encouragement and gratitude for their contributions to the game. After opening with a comical story about former NHLer Eddie Shack, DeGregorio continued with a strong message about the importance of fostering sportsmanship, encouraging fun at the rink and creating a lifelong love of hockey in all players.

Conference director Mark Tabrum was next to welcome the group to Grand Rapids, doling out thanks to the organizers and giving an overview of a prestigious day of programs before providing an update on the progress of USA Hockey's Coaching Education Program. Tabrum spoke of the new additions to the CEP, including the USA Hockey Cross-Ice Program, updated materials for Level 1 and 2 coaches and the digitization of the Level 3 coaching re-certification program. (Many of these materials are available on our coaching section at www.usahockey.com/coaching.

The USA Hockey Coaching Education Program hosts 800 coaching clinics each year at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Sixteen Level 4 clinics occur annually and the Level 5 (Master's) clinic is generally held every two years. However, due to the overwhelming response to this year's event, another Level 5 clinic will be held next July in Rochester, N.Y.

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