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.
Via Spiga Rust Ruched Suede Knee High 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.N.Y.L.A. Two-tone Dark Chocolate/Caramel Canika Boots/Booties,
But that’s what he — and all junior-hockey players his age — sign up for. They know it isn’t easy.
Aquatalia Black Suede Leather Ankle 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.
Miu Miu Black Mui Mui Stiletto 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.”Stuart Weitzman Black Nudunkirk Women's Boots/Booties,
Tom Ford Black W1963t-nss-blb Nappa Stretch Over The Knee with Gold Plated Brass Hardware. Boots/Booties,Frye Brown 77376 Carmen Harness Short Motorcycle Women's Boots/Booties,Laurence Dacade Brown Embroidered Pete Ankle Boots/Booties,Brown Fred Segal Boots/BootiesBlack S. I. T. Rain 100 Leather Ankle Boots/BootiesTory Burch Brown Logo Embellished Riding Boots/Booties,Brown Boulder Boots/Booties,Taryn Rose Brown Knee High Boots/Booties,Via Spiga Brown Prish Knee High Buckle Display Boots/Booties,Goldenbleu Black Leather Lined Made In Italy Patent Leather Wedge Boots/BootiesFendi Dark Brown & Black Colorblock Leather Ankle Boots/Booties,Saint Laurent Black Platform Pointed Toe Ankle Boots/Booties,Black New Tiagada Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Black 'soho' 5050 Tall Elastic Over The Knee W ~new Boots/Booties,Nine West Green Brown Suede Leather Ankle Boots/Booties,Valentino Black Rockstud Rockeem Leather Fringe Ankle 37 Boots/Booties,Frye Light Brown Style 77852 Carmen 3 Strap Boots/Booties,Steve Madden Brown Leather Fairport Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Black Lowland Nero Over The Knee Boots/BootiesFiorentini + Baker Black Rusty Rocker Boots/BootiesSaks Fifth Avenue 2 Tone Brown Leather Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Black Park -a407798 Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Brown Classic Tiagadaboot 70mm Suede Leather Veau Velours Ankle Zip-up Boots/BootiesBlack Beta 1/2 Boots/Booties,Liberty Boot Co. Black Suede Cowgirl Women's Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Ankle Tie Item # 3170418 Boots/BootiesFrye Dark Brown Veronica Slouch (Style #77609) Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black/Gold Suede Lady Troop Tall Zip Buckles Platform 7.5 Boots/Booties,Dior Black Suede and Mesh Floral Appliquè Peep Boots/BootiesNine West Dark Brown Marlie 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.”
Whether you're heading to work or a night out on the town, the Patty Riding Boot from Frye(R) will keep you in comfort and style!
Soft vintage leather uppers.
Adjustable buckle at ankle for a custom fit.
Comfortable leather lined interior.
Cushioned leather footbed provides lasting comfort.
Inside zip for easy on and off.
Leather outsole with rubber forepart for added grip and durability.
Heel Height: 3 1/4 in
Weight: 1 lb
Circumference: 10 1/4 in
Shaft: 7 in
Platform Height: 3/8 in
Product measurements were taken using size 7.5, width B - Medium. Please note that measurements may vary by size.
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.Stuart Weitzman Black Suede Highland Otk Over The Knee 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.
Versace Black Versus By Suede and Leather Boots/Booties,Giuseppe Zanotti Black Leather Ankle Boots/Booties,Isabel Marant Black Suede Round Toe Sneakers Boots/Booties,Pour La Victoire Black Dania Boots/Booties,Valentino Black Rockstud Studded Leather Open Toe Ankle Boots/Booties,Old Gringo Brown Mary Lou Brass Aqua Leather Cowboy Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Brown Eastside Double Strap Suede #u256693 Boots/BootiesYohji Yamamoto Brown Y's By Platform Boots/Booties,Joie Black Monte Studded Suede Leather Ankle Boots/Booties,Paul Green Black Delgado Ankle Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Black - Waterproof - Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Black Semi Hidden-wedge Leather Over-the-knee Boots/BootiesDior Black Cuissardes Ring Harness Ring Biker Rocker Motorcycle Boots/BootiesIsabel Marant Black Flavie Suede Moccasin Boots/Booties,Prada Brown Suede Calzature Donna Boots/BootiesTecnica Brown Yaghi Fur Winter Ski Boots/Booties,Enzo Angiolini Brown Ellerby Riding Boots/Booties,Manas Black Design Clelia Leather Heel 39 Boots/BootiesSaint Laurent Black Ysl Leather Round Toe Pupmps Boots/Booties,Jimmy Choo Black Youth Biker Leather Boots/Booties,Tory Burch Black Oakridge Tumbled Leather Boots/Booties,Bally Black Leather Thaisa Heel Buckle Italy (Ma1) Sleek Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Brown Snakeskin Embossed Leather Ankle Boots/Booties,Rachel Comey Black Brown Mars Boots/Booties,L.L.Bean Tan/Brown New In Box Women's Mocs Boots/Booties,Tory Burch Charcoal Flannel and Cognac Brown Leather Riding Boots/BootiesFrye Black Veronica Shortie Leather Boots/Booties,Vic Matié Black Florentine Tall Boots/Booties,Jimmy Choo New Black / Nude / Canyon Mina Flat Palm Leather Appliqué On Canvas Boots/BootiesSaint Laurent Black Ysl Leather Knee High Eu 38.5 Boots/Booties
For him, online classes work best because he takes them wherever he goes, which could be anywhere.
Frye Brown Pressed Nubuck New Jackie Tall Button 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.
Tory Burch Black/Brown Classic Rain 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.”Alexander Wang Black Notch Notch Heel 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.Jeffrey Campbell Black Lilyn Stud Boots/Booties,
It’s optional, but encouraged.
Golden Goose Deluxe Brand Black Mini Cowboy 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.Christian Louboutin Black Gold 35.5 It Taclou Leather Platform Spiked High Heel Lady Red Sole Ankle 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.Rag & Bone Black Newbury Classic Nubuck Zip Ankle 39.5 Boots/Booties,
It’s part of the gig.
Ann Taylor LOFT Brown Genuine Suede Zip Knee High 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.
Madden Girl Camel Brown Faux Suede 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.”Frye Brown New Jillian Leather Riding Boots/Booties,