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.
Prada Blue/Black Calzature Donna/Flower Satin Mules/Slides,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.Donald J. Pliner White and Tan Nikki Mules/Slides,
But that’s what he — and all junior-hockey players his age — sign up for. They know it isn’t easy.
Tom Ford Black and Gold Pumps,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.
Tory Burch Spark Gold Gigi Metallic Pumps,“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.”Franco Sarto Tan Snake Print Chunky Heel Suede Pumps,
Bottega Veneta Multi-color New Straw Heel W/Bow It / 9 337827 1050 Pumps,Dolce&Gabbana Multi Color Vintage Black & White Striped Pointed Toe Slingback W/ Cameo 38.5 PumpsChristian Louboutin Brown Fiorellino - Pumps,Giuseppe Zanotti Red Made In Italy Morena Plush Mules/SlidesCole Haan Prieta Ii Black Patent Leather Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Iriza 45 Kid Pumps,Salvatore Ferragamo Brown Model Dy 61616 C55 Pumps,Jeffrey Campbell Black/Brown And Heeled Mules/Slides,Jimmy Choo Black Leather Euc Mules/Slides,Thierry Rabotin Black Textured Leather Pumps,Madden Girl Beige Mg35-lorna Open Toe Slip On Heels Taupe Mules/SlidesMS Shoe Designs Tan/Leopard Print Miah Pumps,Steve Madden Black Rykie Leather Dress Sandals Pumps,Cole Haan Black Patent Leather Platform PumpsDonald J. Pliner Dark Grey and Tan Western Couture Collection Mules/Slides,Sam Edelman Light Blue Patent Leather PumpsKenneth Cole Reaction Patent Leather Black Classic Sling Open Toe Pumps,Salvatore Ferragamo Black Low Heeled with Gold Buckle Accent PumpsJean-Michel Cazabat Dark Taupe Patent Leather PumpsVia Spiga Black and White Zebra Pattern Pony Mules/Slides,Salvatore Ferragamo Black Signature Bit Career Pumps,Isaac Mizrahi Black Lacie Embroidered Evening Pointed Pumps,Bally Black with Gold Metal Jeneffe Pumps,Christian Louboutin Nude Me Pam 100 Beige Patent Ankle T Strap Heel Pumps,Charles by Charles David Natural/Taupe Juno - Micro Pumps,Fendi Brown/Black Scarpe Made In Italy Logo Mules/Slides,Christian Louboutin Black Classic Suede Leather Marchavekel 100mm Open Toe Heels Twisted Knot Pumps,Christian Louboutin Gold Barry 35 Specchio Tassel Block Heel Loafer Flat Mules/SlidesChristian Louboutin Red 40 Armadillo Pumps,Vince Camuto Blue Suede Flat Mules/Slides,
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.”
Lightweight synthetic and textile upper provides durability; mesh underlays for breathability
Ghillie lacing for a secure fit
Adidas Stella sport tongue and heel labels
Heel pull for easy on and off
Rubber outsole offers excellent grip
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.Giuseppe Zanotti Red Classic Suede Pumps,
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.
Kenneth Cole Brown New Leather Cutout Mules/SlidesBadgley Mischka Bride Ivory Nakita PumpsPrada Brown Stretch Patent Leather Heels Pumps,Black W/ Brown Vivian High Heel Sandal Pumps,Badgley Mischka Silver Style: Mable Pumps,Escada Taupe As261 1000310 01 PumpsChristian Louboutin Nude Leather Heels Pumpsadidas Women's Eqt Support Adv SneakersManolo Blahnik Black N White Twotone M Mules/SlidesManolo Blahnik Pink Green Rare Agatha Bicolor Mules/Slides,Cole Haan Brown Nike Air Technology High Heels Leather PumpsChristian Louboutin Poudre New Pigalle Follies 55mm Kitten PumpsSam Edelman Gold Patti Ankle Strap Sandals 875 Light Metallic Pumps,Stuart Weitzman Black Platswoon Patent Platform Pumps,Alice + Olivia Black And PumpsManolo Blahnik Black Velvet Heels Pumps,Outdoor Voices Blue Allbirds Runner Sneakers,Manolo Blahnik Red Pony Hair Mules/Slides,Donald J. Pliner Dark Chocolate Brown Charro Mules/Slides,Jimmy Choo Black Gemma Pointy Toe 40mm Suede Pumps,Christian Louboutin Leapard Print Iriza Pumps,Vince Camuto Black Robeka Strappy Sandals Velvet / 37.5 Eu Pumps,J.Crew Rose Red High Heel -- Made In Italy Pumps,Stuart Weitzman Black Metallic 6.5m with Box & Db Pumps,Jimmy Choo Dark Gray "Anouk" Pumps,Salvatore Ferragamo Black Men Leather Slip 9 Half Formal ShoesNike Black & Pink Kd 6 Sneakers,Sanita Black Leather Mary Janes 36 - 5.5/6 *velcro Strap* Mules/Slides,Stuart Weitzman Brown Snakeskin Western Mules/SlidesEcco Black Leather Sling Back New Pumps,
For him, online classes work best because he takes them wherever he goes, which could be anywhere.
Prada Black Vintage Leather Loafer Heel W/ Silver Hardware Pumps,“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.
Icon Multicolor Cowboy Magica Lesson Mules/Slides,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.”Tory Burch Teal Gigi Patent Leather Pumps,
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.Everlane Black The Day Heel Pumps,
It’s optional, but encouraged.
Missoni Purple Chevron Slingback Heels Pumps,“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.United Nude White Lo Res Rubber Pumps,
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.Derek Lam Dark Teal & Black Pumps,
It’s part of the gig.
Prada Black Patent Peeptoe Miu Miu Pumps,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.
adidas Olive/Orange Stella Mccartney Mesh & Velcro Sneakers Kaitara Sneakers,“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.”Nike All White Women Tennis Classic Ultra Prm In “croc” Sneakers,