While the Portland Winterhawks are awaiting the start of the Western Hockey League regular season, the team has connected electronically to prepare for the year. The last few months, the Winterhawks have welcomed some distinguished guests across the National Hockey League to their online meetings as part of their professional development seminars.
Fourteen-time Stanley Cup Champion and two-time NHL Coach of the Year Scotty Bowman spoke with the team on Wednesday to wrap up the seminars heading into the holidays.
Ken Hitchcock, Rick Tocchet, Mike Babcock, Paul Maurice, Kyle Dubas, Barry Trotz, Rob Blake and Winterhawks alumni Seth Jones, Cody Glass and Ryan Johansen all met with the Winterhawks players, coaches and staff to present, share experiences and answer questions during the team’s weekly zoom meetings.
“We decided back in October to do an 11-week professional development seminar with our players to make sure that they stayed engaged during this challenging time,” Vice President, General Manager and Head Coach Mike Johnston said.
“I reached out to a cross section of coaches, general managers and players and I think that each one of them had unique points that they stressed with our guys, different things that they emphasized based on their experiences.”
With 142 players selected during the NHL Entry Draft, 15 alumni on NHL rosters last season, and a handful of former employees working in professional hockey, the Portland Winterhawks have proven to be one of the best organizations at developing talent for the next level.
The purpose of the seminars was to show current Winterhawk players what it takes to play in the NHL and hear that from some of the best hockey minds in the business.
“I thought the speakers were very engaged. They each put together a presentation that was specific to their knowledge and expertise, and they also looked back on what advice they would give themselves when they were of the age of our players, I just thought that was phenomenal,” Johnston said.
“It was very unique and enlightening and we can’t the guests enough for joining us over the last few months.”