The Boston Herald describes how Bruins coach Claude Julien surprised a girls team at Phillips Andover last week by showing up at its practice.
This is not what he’s meant to be doing, but he’s making the best of the lockout situation.
“We have time right now to do those type of things. During the regular season with the travel and everything, it doesn’t allow us to do too much of that, to be able to go out there and see these kids,” said Julien on Wednesday. “Last week when I talked to the girls team, you could see the excitement, you could see they were soaking it up. You know you’re making a bit of a difference, whether it’s to encourage them or give them some advice and I enjoy it. I’ve got a daughter who’s 7 years old and starting hockey now, so I’m living through it as well.
“As long as the lockout is on, I’m able to go and watch her while the lockout is on. Once we start playing hockey again, it’s going to be a little more difficult. You take advantage of what is given to you.”
Julien recognizes that there’s a significant trickle-down effect from the local NHL team to the grass roots level in youth hockey. And now, with the Bruins and the league on indefinite hiatus, he feels it’s incumbent upon the organization and himself to make the loss of NHL hockey as painless for those people who care about it.
“To me it was pretty obvious after we won the Cup, how it evolved to youth hockey. More people were interested in the game, more people were signing up. There were a lot of things that happened after we won the Stanley Cup for the growth of hockey in the New England area. I’m certainly aware of that,” said Julien. “What we’re doing now is trying to grow this game even more. My assistant coaches are on the ice with certain teams, there are hockey clinics that we can be going to at times. There are a lot of things labeled for us to do if the lockout continues. We’re going to do our best to help grow this game in the New England area.
“As far as our hockey club, we know how hard it is on the fans, whether it’s kids or parents,” he added. “We have to do our part to try and shed a little bit of light and try to overshadow a little bit of the negative stuff that’s going on.”