Hockey

Excellence starts behind bench

The London Nationals have a strong leader in Pat Powers, the team’s general manager and head coach

Pat Powers has led the London Nationals to the Sutherland Cup semi-finals of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) each of the past three seasons as the team’s general manager and head coach.

As a player, he spent four seasons playing university hockey (CIS) with St. Thomas University and then another four seasons of Minor Pro hockey before getting into coaching. Powers has had a coaching role for the past 12 years as the head men’s hockey coach for St. Thomas University and then as assistant men’s hockey coach for Western University in London.

He outlines his coaching philosophy as one that has teaching and accountability at the forefront of his priorities.

“Every hockey player has the ability to learn, contribute and improve their skillset,” Powers says, “and I think if you are able to reach and teach all these kids, in their own individual way that they need it, it works well for the team as a whole.”

Powers runs the London Nationals with the knowledge and experiences he gained within university hockey and his other extensive personal experiences throughout the sport.

“I monitor our program as close to an OHL team or a university program as it possibly can,” Powers says. “When kids come out of our program, they have experienced good coaching, structure, and received the discipline that allows them to be successful for the next step.”

Over the past nine seasons, the Nationals have sent a combined 24 players to the OHL, U Sports, or the NCAA. Meanwhile, they’ve consistently been a successful team in the GOJHL playoffs. This year, the Nationals won their fourth straight Western Conference championship.

“I would be naive to think it was all ownership and coaching that leads to our success,” says Powers. “Our city’s proximity certainly benefits our team, but I also think our success breeds future success, too. We hold our players accountable and we treat them well. I think our high expectations guide our program.”

The Nationals, like many other teams in the GOJHL, are always building and changing their roster as the years pass by. This season, the Nationals have nine players who will age out of junior hockey, which will give plenty of opportunity for the program to see new growth and development. However, the goal is always the same for Powers and the rest of the Nationals organization.

“Championships,” the coach says, without pause. “It’s as simple as that. We want to win every year. I think a lot of people see that we have a level of perseverance throughout the year and will get to where we want to go. And it’s the fans that have acknowledged that as season ticket holders.”

Speaking of tickets, the Nationals currently have an ‘Early Bird’ Season Ticket deal for the 2019/2020 season with tickets costing $125 for an individual or $100 for a student/senior (the deal provides fans with up to $50 in savings).

The Nationals organization promotes a real tight-knit family program that people consistently enjoy supporting. The amount of time and effort put forth by owner Ken Eansor, the coaching staff, volunteers, and players allows for the organization’s success to be acknowledged – and expected.

www.londonnationals.on.ca

Submitted by the London Nationals