Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association coach Rick Hannibal is one of the finalists in the Kraft Hockey Goes On contest

Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association coach Rick Hannibal is one of the finalists in the Kraft Hockey Goes On contest

Coach makes sure hockey goes on

Nanaimo's Rick Hannibal is a finalist in the Kraft Hockey Goes On contest, and stands to win up to $100,000 for local minor hockey.

Sometimes coaches are measured by their win-loss record, but that never fully does them justice.

The Kraft Hockey Goes On contest was put together to recognize some of Canada’s hockey coaches and administrators and all they do to make sure that hockey goes on in their communities.

Only 100 people are finalists in the contest, and one of them is Rick Hannibal of the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association.

Hannibal coached the Nanaimo Kasjac Clippers Tier 2 peewee rep team this past season. The season is over, but he’s making sure that hockey goes on, coaching spring league.

His teenaged daughter helped keep his nomination a secret as players, parents and other coaches wrote a stack of letters.

The fact that his players support him for the contest might suggest that he’s not a stern coach, but that’s not necessarily true – Hannibal said some kids need tough love, some need positive reinforcement, and some, he can just give them a look.

The constant, he said, is that he tries to make sure they’re enjoying the game.

“I try to teach them stuff that is fun, but they don’t know they’re learning something…” he said. “Sometimes hockey can get too serious and they forget the fun.”

If Hannibal does well in the Hockey Goes On contest, the NMHA stands to gain a prize of up to $100,000. Hannibal hopes the money might be used to purchase equipment for kids who might not have any.

Of course he hopes to garner enough votes to win, but the nomination letters from his players were the most meaningful recognition of all, Hannibal said.

“What they’ve said about me means more than anything, more than trophies,” he said. “Letters like that, I’m going to keep those for as long as I live.”

ICE CHIPS … The voting takes place Saturday (March 23) and Sunday online at www.krafthockeygoeson.ca.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com