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.
Christian Louboutin Gray Bronze 4a Python-suede 40 It Platform High Heel Lady Fashion Red Sole Ankle Boots/Booties,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 Brown Elisa Boots/Booties,
But that’s what he — and all junior-hockey players his age — sign up for. They know it isn’t easy.
Stuart Weitzman Black 5050 Wedge Mainline Boots/Booties,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.
Frye Black Leather Like New In Box Veronica Seam Short Boots/Booties,“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.”Bed|Stü Black Lux Hair Isla Boots/Booties,
Cole Haan Brown New Suede Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Cola Brown 5050 Over The Knee Otk Suede Boots/Booties,Vince Camuto Black and Woodbury Vc-fabina Boots/Booties,Cole Haan Black Nike Air Tall Boots/Booties,Dolce Vita Black Pointy Ankle Boots/Booties,Hunter Black Cerise Norris Field Rain Boots/Booties,Sam Edelman Black Sutton Suede Boots/Booties,Alice + Olivia Black Toro Too Studded Boots/Booties,Donald J. Pliner Black New Loni Ankle Boots/Booties,Max Studio Brown Platform Pump Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Suede with Leather Straps Boots/Booties,Alexander Wang Black Rose Gold Anouck Chelsea Boots/Booties Boots/Booties,Betsey Johnson Worn Out Brown *pynch* Boots/BootiesBurberry Black Holloway House Nova Check Rain with Studs Spikes 6/ 36 Boots/BootiesJeffrey Campbell Black Hell Yes Platform Studded Boots/Booties,Chie Mihara Black Suede and Smooth Leather Boots/Booties,Chloé Black Leather Round-toe with Stiletto Heels Boots/Booties,Ariat Black & Brown Riding Boots/Booties,Enzo Angiolini Brown Leather Ankle Buckle Boots/BootiesRebecca Minkoff Black T Strap Boots/BootiesChristian Louboutin Black So Kate 100 Mm Suede Point Toe Ankle Sz. 38.5 Euro Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Bellissima 100 Calf Charme Boots/Booties,See by Chloé Brown Polina Boots/Booties,Elie Tahari Black Suede and Patent Leather Boots/BootiesHunter Black and White Tall Nightfall Boots/BootiesChristian Louboutin Black New Metropolis Leather Spike Platform Thigh High Knee 36 It Red Sole Boots/Booties,Donald J. Pliner Brown Western Couture Boots/BootiesDiane von Furstenberg Black Safari Motorcycle Ankle Buckles Leather Boots/Booties,Naya Brown New Leather Warm Boots/Booties,Jimmy Choo Brown Kid Leather 4" Stiletto Heel Logo Zip + Box 41 Boots/Booties,
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.”
@ 1980's. Leather upper and sole. Inside zip. Elastic inserts. 2 on each boot run down the calf 6". The shaft is 16" high measuring from the center of the arch and 6 1/2" across at the top. They show ware and scratching but in really nice vintage condition. You can see the thickness of the leather sole and the heel tips have a lot of ware left. Nice patina. Note: all of my items are stored in my smoke free home. Most have been purchased at estate or moving sales. I print my own label so I can normally ship your purchase out in a day or two.
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.Christian Louboutin Black Moulamax Velvet Floral Boots/Booties,
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.
Fiorentini + Baker Black Men 10.5 Boots/Booties,Zara Black Suede Leather Multi Color Heel Boots/Booties,Vince Black Leather Tall Riding Boots/Booties,Frye Black Dorado Leather Knee High Riding Rabbit Fur Lined Women's Boots/Booties,Donna Karan Black Ny Leather Shearling Trim Platform Boots/Booties,Vince Camuto Brown Leather and Suede Boots/Booties,Valentino Bronze Metallic Gold Rockstud #755 Boots/BootiesFiorentini + Baker Chocolate Brown “eternity” Boots/Booties,Nine West Green/Brown Camo Nbo 1010 Boots/Booties,Attilio Giusti Leombruni Black Agl Frankie Suede Tall Wedge Boots/Booties,Dolce Vita Black Suede Mia Boots/BootiesBurberry Black with Black Fur Sophisticated Fox Trimmed Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Guerriere 120 Suede Ankle Boots/Booties,Tory Burch Black Leather Hendin Knee High Wedge Boots/Booties,Cole Haan Brown Nike Air Suede with Button Detail Boots/BootiesSteve Madden Black & Brown Rockiie Leather Boots/Booties,Pappagallo Brown Leather Vintage Shoes/Designer Boots/Booties,Adrienne Vittadini Multi Black and Brown All The Favourite Boots/Booties,Frye Black Style #74154 Women's Molly Hook Short Boots/Booties,House of Harlow 1960 Black Nicole Richie Celebrity Boho Otk Knee High Tall Suede Leather Designer Blogger Shopbop Planet Boots/Booties,Robert Clergerie Black Estim- Front Zipper Boots/Booties,Acne Studios Black Topaz Knee High Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Spike Taclou Botta 140 Boots/Booties,Brown/Tan Boots/Booties,Via Spiga Chestnut Brown Finlay Suede Leather Over The Knee Boots/Booties,J.Crew Brown Knee High with Zipper Boots/BootiesLa Canadienne Brown Fur Lined Boots/Booties,Salvatore Ferragamo Black Clarisa Rain Boots/Booties,Cole Haan Black 'air Cara' Boots/BootiesTory Burch Black Jess Leather Riding Boots/Booties,
For him, online classes work best because he takes them wherever he goes, which could be anywhere.
Tamara Mellon Black Erotic Dream Suede Otk High Boots/Booties,“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.
Christian Louboutin Brown Chelita Leopard Ponyhair Buckle Metal Gold Heels Boots/Booties,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.”Frye Black Renee Seam Tall Pointed Toe Leather Western 3472069 Boots/Booties,
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.Via Spiga Black Ophira Otk Suede Boots/Booties,
It’s optional, but encouraged.
Moncler Black Leather Quilted Nylon Winter 41/42/43 New Boots/Booties,“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.Burberry Black Multi New Women's Canvas Rubber Nova Check Biker Rain Boots/Booties,
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.Stuart Weitzman Black #11324 Leather Ankle Pumps Mitten Plonge Stretch Boots/Booties,
It’s part of the gig.
Cole Haan Black Air Lynda Boots/Booties,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 "Elephant" (Taupe Brown) New In Box - Bristol Boots/Booties,“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.”Merrell Brown Women's Wedgetarian Lyla Boots/Booties,