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Middlebury hockey coach looks to bring school, college students together

Middlebury men's hockey coach Bill Beaney speaks at a CFES event last month.

Middlebury men's hockey coach Bill Beaney speaks at a CFES event last month. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Many young kids grow up with the dream of making it to the big stage in the world of sports.

Bill Beaney believes those who have made it to that next level should help support those dreams.

Beaney, the head coach of the Middlebury College men’s hockey team, spoke to educators assembled at the College For Every Student (CFES) headquarters Feb. 6 abut the bonds that form when players from his teams go to local schools.

“These players can latch onto younger kids and communicate in a way that is much more meaningful and deeper,” Beaney said. “What we try to do is make a connection that will carry on. If you can develop trust, it is amazing what you can come away with.”

Recently, some of Beaney’s players joined with college student-athletes from the Middlebury women’s hockey team to visit students at Ticonderoga and Crown Point Central schools.

“They come back from those trips and they cannot stop talking about what happened there,” Beaney said. “I had a practice that night and the girls had a game and they all came back with smiles on their faces and sharing stories.”

Beaney said when players talk to younger students and make trips to schools, he wants them to help students become leaders in the same way he works with his players and students.

“For me, over the course of the last 10 years, I have noticed that being a leader today is really difficult,” Beaney said. “We need to start early to develop the characteristics of real leaders because there are not a lot of them. We need to talk about goal setting, what it means to be a friend, standing up for the tough decisions and helping to solve problems.”

Beaney said that he promotes self leadership with his students and athletes because they need to be able to motivate themselves in tough times.

“When you look at the athletes competing in the Olympics, their parents played a roll and were holding on, but they were the ones that had the drive to get to that next step, and learning how to get there is the kind of things that we can talk about with our students.”

Beaney said that he tries to teach four core principles to his athletes: preparation, respect, having Olympic-sized dreams and dealing with distractions.

“It’s not just about teaching them a math equation, its about turning the light on and getting the kids excited,” he said.

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