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.
BCBGMAXAZRIA Cognac Brown Bcbg Max Azria "Fronda" Rust Sandal Wedges,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.Gianvito Rossi Ankle Strap Stiletto Formal Shoes,
But that’s what he — and all junior-hockey players his age — sign up for. They know it isn’t easy.
Jimmy Choo Ecru Durban Kid Leather Formal Shoes,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.
Bottega Veneta White Leather Flap Front with Bow Hee Platforms,“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.”Christian Louboutin Leopard Print - Brown & Black Bianca 36 Platforms,
Saint Laurent Tribute 105 Sandal Platforms,Jimmy Choo Black/Gunmetal Evening Sandal Formal Shoes,Alexander McQueen Fuschia Hot Pink Platforms,Stuart Weitzman Pink Satin Woven Espadrille Bow Slingback Heels Shoes,Tory Burch Cream 'linley' Platform Espadrille Sandal - WedgesChristian Louboutin New Patent Leather Round-toe 6 Wedges,Jimmy Choo Red Vamp Sandal PlatformsTory Burch Pink/Nude Bima Espadrilles Wedges,Prada Natural Lux Raso 1x6643 Formal Shoes,Jimmy Choo Nude Patent Leather Cork Sandals 37.5) WedgesTabitha Simmons White Perforated Leather Wedges,Cole Haan Beige Nike Air Ankle Straps Sandals Wedges,Donald J. Pliner Black Gladiator Sandals Wedges,Alegria by PG Lite Black Patent Leather Mary Jane Wedges,Christian Louboutin Black with Swarovski Crystals Sparkle18 PlatformsChristian Louboutin Nude Filo 120 Mm Formal Shoes,Jimmy Choo Gold Wedding Formal Shoes,Stuart Weitzman Green/Brown/Gray Reptile Leather Sling Back Wedges,Jimmy Choo Beige Polar Espadrille Wedges,Saint Laurent Grey Suede Ysl Wedges Platforms,Madewell Tan / Brown 1937 - Sidewalk Oxford / Bootie - Peeptoe WedgesTory Burch Black Amanda High Sandal WedgesJimmy Choo Black & Gold Glitter Glenys Suede Caged Sandal Platforms,Christian Louboutin Plume Sling Sandals Wedges,Dior Tan John Galliano's 2004 Gambler Rockabilly Leopard Creepers Platforms,Dolce Vita Nude Leather Jade Platform Wedges,Donald J. Pliner Black Erica Platforms,Kendall + Kylie Nude Natural Enya Formal Shoes,Robert Clergerie Black/Tan Drastic Raffia Platform WedgesChristian Louboutin Black Bana 140 Patent Calf Platforms
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.”
Diane von Furstenberg
Sunny Wedge Sandals
Mixed cutouts add cool asymmetry to these towering DVF sandals, designed with a smooth, wooden wedge. Elastic gore inset. Rubber sole.
Made in Brazil.
This item cannot be gift-boxed.
Heel: 4.25in / 115mm
Platform: 1in / 25mm
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.Saint Laurent Leopard Print Tribute 105 Platforms,
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.
Charlotte Olympia White&pink Women's Pink Espadrille Wedges,Nina Shoes Black Gandy Formal Shoes,Christian Louboutin Black Carlota Leather Woven Detailed Accent. Platforms,Jerome C. Rousseau Black Daho Sandal Platforms,Salvatore Ferragamo Black 011s B Sd C 01 Platforms,Jeffrey Campbell Black Leather with Wooden Heel Lita Boot Platforms,Calleen Cordero Black Leather Design Studded W/ Ankle Strap Wedges,Tory Burch Brown Lottie Cork Sandals - Wedges,Isabel Marant Creme Bekett Suede Sneaker Wedges,Chocolat Blu Tangerine Mackenzie Leather Wedges,Sergio Rossi Nude Signature Heels Formal ShoesSCHUTZ Black Ankle Strap Formal Shoes,Charlotte Olympia Champagne Dolly Covered Platforms,Christian Louboutin Epi D'or Jane Vendome 120 Patent Platforms,J.Crew Lindy Peep Toe -31982 Platforms,Jimmy Choo Bottle Green - Very Dark Green Luna Pumps Platforms,Tory Burch Brown Multi Snake Print Raleigh Wedges,Emilio Pucci Blue/Tan Mediterranean Style Slide On Graphic Print Leather WedgesChristian Louboutin Red Tan Ribbon Tie Collage Espadrille 35 Wedges,Tory Burch Black Kitty 22078710 Wedges,Canali Brown Loafers Men's Formal Shoes,Gianvito Rossi Purple 5403-4607006 Formal Shoes,Jimmy Choo Champagne Glitter Alex Item N Alexgfa Platforms,Christian Louboutin Blac Electropump 160 PlatformsReport Signature Red and Purple Chunky Heel Platforms,Jimmy Choo Black Beige Snake Embossed Leather/Suede & Twin Sandals Platforms WedgesFree People Black + Tan Ankle Tie WedgesAshley Dearborn Tortoise "Harlow" Caged WedgesFendi Black/Purple With Wrap Around Ankle Wedges,Delman Dark Red Patent Leather Low Wedges
For him, online classes work best because he takes them wherever he goes, which could be anywhere.
Tory Burch Navy Blue and Ivory Jackie Espadrille Navy/Ivory Wedges,“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.
Tory Burch Cream Amanda Low Wedges,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.”DKNY Black Jelly Flats Formal Shoes,
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.Vince Camuto Black Freya Formal Shoes,
It’s optional, but encouraged.
Christian Louboutin Red Bordeaux & Gold Leather Heels / Pumps Platforms,“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.Christian Louboutin Black Daffodile 160 Patent Calf Platforms,
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.BCBGeneration Bcbg Metallic Zipper Accent Heels Platforms,
It’s part of the gig.
Tory Burch Black Ankle Tie Espadrilles Wedges,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 Ivory/ White Leticia Mid Wedges,“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.”Ralph Lauren Collection Brown Leslie Calf Wedges,