Jackson Decker’s typical day isn’t unlike that of most high-school seniors.
Out of bed by 7:30 a.m. Check.
School by 8. Check.
Lunch around noon. Check.
Tory Burch Fire Orange Eloise Mestico / Soft Patent Sandals,By 5, he’s home for dinner. By 7, he’s elbow deep in homework. By 10 — or 11, depending on how many video games are played — he’s in bed. Sounds pretty standard, doesn’t it?
But the middle of the day — that noon-to-5 slot — is what makes Decker different than most kids his age.
Decker is a defenseman for the Coulee Region Chill, which, as a high-school-aged player, demands a special kind of commitment. Playing junior hockey is essentially a full-time job, but when you add regular schoolwork to the equation, it becomes even more complex.Saint Laurent Black Vernice Lucido Nu Pied 05 Logo A788 Sandals,
But that’s what he — and all junior-hockey players his age — sign up for. They know it isn’t easy.
Vince Black New Abby Leather Ankle Strap Espadrilles Platform Wedge 11m Sandals,sMy coach last year was a big advocate of junior hockey and pushing kids on to the next level,” Decker said. “He reached out to a couple coaches last year for me, not just in the NAHL but in different leagues, too.
“I didn’t think it was that hard of a decision. I definitely had to go over everything with my coach and my family and all of that, and then working things out with my high school before I fully committed to it, but this is something I want to do.”
Despite his choice, Decker is a regular 17-year-old in almost every other way.
Dsquared2 Brown Strappy Toe Ring Sandals,“I would say after practice, he’s home by 5 and he’s a normal high-school kid,” said Andy Palmer, one of Decker’s billet (host family) parents. “He’s got homework he has to do. He hangs out with classmates; we have a high school kid of our own, and they get along really well. They play their NBA 2K games and set up tournaments and stuff like that.
“He’s just a normal kid once he’s away from the ice. He has the same responsibilities as any high schooler.”
It’s not uncommon.
Including Decker, the Chill have three high-school-aged skaters in their squad. They had four before 16-year-old Todd Scott was elevated to the USHL. As for the rest of the league, all but one team has at least one player — as of today — under the age of 18. Of those 23 teams, 15 have at least three.
Furthermore, of the 23 active members of Coulee Region’s roster, 15 played at least one season of junior hockey before receiving their high-school diplomas. Nine played two or more.
It’s part of the gig. Simultaneous pursuit of athletic and academic goals is a regular practice in junior hockey, one that all players — including those who have already graduated from high school — gladly welcome. They understand the challenges of the journey.
If anything, it forces kids to mature at a much quicker rate.
“The biggest thing, for me personally, is it matured me,” said A.J. Degenhart, former Chill coach, who played two seasons with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers before joining the University of Wisconsin.
“Those couple years of being, not necessarily on your own because you have a billet family, but being on your own away from your support group and not having them right there to bail you out all the time, I think it makes you grow up in a hurry. I can say for myself, with the coaches I had, they taught me a lot of life lessons in the couple years I was there. That stuff is invaluable, so when a kid does move on, we always say, we want a player to come in a boy and leave as a man.”Burberry White Wedge Leather Espadrilles Sandals,
United Nude Silver High Tops Sneakers,Marc by Marc Jacobs Black and Camouflage Sandals,Forever 21 Green Olive Faux Suede Open Toe Platform Heels SandalsCole Haan Cream Whitney Gladiator Sandals,Tory Burch Beige Miller Camel Sand Patent Leather SandalsJ. Adams Gold Pu Ankle Strap High Heel Sandals,Steve Madden Black Strappy Wedge Sandals,Tory Burch Black Milley Miller Jelly Thong SandalsTory Burch Blue New Purple Flats Thongs Flip Sandals,Hermès Black Oran In Calfskin with Hazelnut Lining and Leather Sole Sandals,Giuseppe Zanotti Pink Cruel Wings High Heels Sandals,Rachel Zoe Brown Sharon Leather Wedge Platform SandalsGuess Tan Black Blue High Heels Wood with Suede Leather Sandals,Zara Green Jeweled Faux Fur Sandals,Free People Dove Gray Dahlia Bohemian Dream Strappy Eu 38 7.5-8 Sandals,Marc by Marc Jacobs Black Street Stomp Dipped Slip-on SandalsTory Burch Ivory Mini Miller Jelly Thong Sandals,Jack Rogers Lime and Gold Whipstich Sandals,Rupert Sanderson Orange Nikko Open Sandals,Christian Louboutin Black Choca 100mm Sandals,Christian Louboutin Black Satin with Crystal Rhinestone Rings SandalsTory Burch Brown Hemp Heels Open Toe Canvas M Sandals,Dolce Vita Orange Cork Platform Slingback Heels Sandals,Tory Burch Metallic Gold New Logo Leather Thong Flats Flip Flops Sandals,Rebecca Minkoff New Marley Python Embossed Bootie SandalsValentino Black Only Pair Rockstud T- Strap Cut Out Chunky SandalsTabitha Simmons Black & Gold Satin T Strap Heels Sandals,Tamara Mellon Cream Fever Patent 105mm Heels SandalsTory Burch Black "Miller" Patent Leather - Sandals,Tory Burch Natural Roccia Miller Leather Sandals,
A senior, Decker prefers an in-class educational experience. That’s why he attends Holmen High School.
But not all junior players are like Decker. Depending on personal preference or individual goals, a player may opt for alternative schooling options.
“It’s really up to them and their parents,” said Shelly LaPlount, Coulee Region’s director of housing, who acknowledged the possibility of players taking online courses.
“If they ask my opinion, I will give it. These kids have to grow up so fast, and they make so many sacrifices. I encourage them to still attend a physical school, just so they have a little bit of their childhood, of their senior year; so they can follow a football team, or go to a prom, or get all those experiences.
“These kids give up so much.”
Woven detail, Double ankle buckle, Leather sole
But it’s worth it for most.
Still, some kids opt to add an in-school experience to their already-altered lifestyle; to provide an element of normalcy.
That option works best for Decker. And for Marshal Plunkett and Kevin Bryant, both of whom attend their respective hometown schools of West Salem and Central as senior students.
“One of the things we try to make all of our students understand; we want them to get involved, go to events, participate,” Holmen principal Bob Baer said. “High school is only four years long, and once you leave here, things change a little bit. So we really promote that, both with the Chill players and with our non-Chill players.
“And I’ve seen our Chill players at events in the past. They do get involved.”
But in-school arrangements aren’t for every junior-hockey player. For others, online classes are a better fit.
“It depends a lot on the kid, because everyone’s different,” LaPlount said.
Such was the case for Todd Scott.
Upon his arrival to Coulee Region, Scott was — and still is — a high-school junior, though he’s been playing some form of junior hockey since his freshman year. He played in two different locations before joining the Chill, and now, he’s in Sioux City backing up former Coulee Region goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks in the USHL.Tom Ford Black Studded Platform Ankle-wrap Sandals,
Since October, Scott has played for three different junior teams, on three different levels, in three different cities. And his junior career is still very much in its infancy.
Marni Block Heel Ankle Strap Sandals,Miu Miu Gold Sequin Pumps Sandals,B Brian Atwood Black Linscott Scrolled Pumps Sandals,Miu Miu Tan Brown Tonal Stitched Platform Sandals,Tory Burch Orange New Thin Flip Flop Sandals,Tory Burch Blossom Jelly Thong SandalsPrada Blac Sport Saffiano Rubber SandalsGiuseppe Zanotti White Swarowski Crystal Toe-ring Bianco Infradito Sandals,Marni White Black New Box Jeweled Flower Flat Summer Calf Hair Sandals,Stuart Weitzman White Navy Nice Blue Morepearl Embellished Pearl Decor Sandals,Jimmy Choo Pink Blue Green Purple Yellow + Slide On / Heels / 38.5 Sandals,Jimmy Choo Black Parker Wedge SandalsSaint Laurent Brown Tribute Ysl T-strap Leather Platform Sandals,J.Crew Black Leopard Cora Animal Print Crisscross SandalsRebecca Minkoff Black/Pink Tassel Pom Gladiator Elisha Sandals,Tory Burch Dark Navy/Black 32340 Mini Miller Flat Thong SandalsChristian Louboutin Black Classic Zenosandy Leather Caged Gold Trim Buckle Flats Gladiator Sandals,Valentino Black Rockstud Noir Leather Triple Strap Gladiator Flat 35 Sandals,CoSTUME NATIONAL T. Moro Brown Airon Leather Open Toe Eur 35.5 SandalsMiu Miu Black and Nero Fuxia Bow 5x9926 Sandals,Yin Black Italian Leather Konny Strappy Heels SandalsBotkier Gray and Yellow Platform Suede Heels Sandals,Sam Edelman Mulberry Barry V-strap Thong Sandals,Sergio Rossi Black and Beige Leather Caged Sandals,Tory Burch Black Mini Miller Jelly Thong with Gold Logo 10 Sandals,Dolce&Gabbana Women's Slippers In Black Velvet Sandals,Cole Haan Blue & Black Studi?grand SneakersAlice + Olivia Rainbow Lori Sandals,Calvin Klein Dark Brown Criss 6m Sandals,Giuseppe Zanotti Black Leather Buckled Strappy Sandals,
For him, online classes work best because he takes them wherever he goes, which could be anywhere.
Tory Burch Multicolor New Linosa Festival Flip Flops Sandals,“The more you transfer, the more that may not transfer,” LaPlount said of moving credits from one high school to the next. “And so you don’t want to come up short. Todd still has time in his situation because he’s still just a junior. But as a senior, you don’t have time to make up. So if you’re going to miss a credit and it’s going to cause you to not graduate, that’s a big deal.”
Education is paramount to the junior-hockey experience. If a player falls behind on his studies, it reflects on his playing time.
Saint Laurent Black Last Pair Nu Pieds 05 Ysl Logo Flat Sandals,And that’s by design. There’s a reason why 92.1 percent of NCAA men’s hockey players graduate with degrees, more than any other NCAA sport. Junior hockey determines who can handle college-level responsibilities, and who can’t.
“School comes first,” LaPlount said. “Whether you’re on the bench that Friday night or Saturday night, that means more than anything to these kids. Once the coach gets involved, things change quickly, if need be. But thankfully, we haven’t had an issue on the Chill team at all.”Jimmy Choo Black and White Lottie Sandals,
Life after graduation
All but three of Coulee Region’s current players already have their high school diplomas.
Well done, guys. Now what?
There’s more than one answer to that question for a junior-hockey player.
Getting a high-school diploma doesn’t always mean a player is finished with school. Some junior players elect to take an online class or two, particularly if their grade-point average needs improving. Others take classes just to stay sharp.Saint Laurent Leopard Print Wood Heel Sandals,
It’s optional, but encouraged.
Rag & Bone Open Toe Leather Mule Sandals,“Some of the players do want to keep their minds going, because to take two years off of school and then jump in as a college freshman; when you haven’t done any studying or reading for two years, it’s tough to jump back in,” LaPlount said. “So some like to take a course just to keep things fresh.”
But additional schooling isn’t for everyone.
Others stay engaged as members of the local workforce, as some guys — including a handful of Chill players — land part-time jobs on the side. That isn’t always the case, as the ever-changing nature of junior hockey makes it difficult for companies to hire junior players. But the right connections can yield suitable arrangements, as they have for several Coulee Region skaters over the last five years.Ted Baker Rose Gold Shimmer Ankle Strap Sandals,
Beyond that, the Chill are also required to maintain an active presence in the community. That includes all manner of things; from reading in local elementary-school classrooms, to ringing a bell for the Salvation Army.Saint Laurent Black Tribute Ysl T-strap Platform 8.5/38.5 Sandals,
It’s part of the gig.
Tory Burch Tan Miller Patent Logo Sandals,No matter what they do in their spare time — whether it’s attending high-school classes, working a shift at Burrachos or volunteering time at a local charity — the Chill are expected to be active, engaging members to the local community.
Most of them may be teenagers, but they’re expected to be role models.
Tory Burch Rose / Natural New Women's "Logan" Embellished 6 5 Sandals,“We get a pretty good feel for things in the first month, whether this is a student we need to keep an eye on, or whether this is someone who is or is not showing up for work and being a good citizen for the community,” said Chill coach Ryan Egan, who is midway through his first season with Coulee Region.
“That’s one thing about this level. Expectations are high. There are more than 1,000 players that would want to replace any player on this roster. Is it tougher to replace talent sometimes? Sure, but being a good person is first and foremost. And if you’re not a good person, we’re not going to keep you here. … The players know that they’re expendable at this level, so there’s always that hanging over their head, but I think we instill in them that it’s good to be a part of the community.”Tory Burch Black New Box Leather Mini Miller Logo Flats Sandals,