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 Black Miss Kawa 85 Patent Mary Jane Strap Heel Pumps,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.Club Monaco Tan Suede Brooklyn Boots/Booties,
But that’s what he — and all junior-hockey players his age — sign up for. They know it isn’t easy.
Nine West Taupe Daishell Suede 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.
Lucchese Grey & Purple Cowboy 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.”FLY London Sludge Leather (Green/Brown) Yush Boots/Booties,
Clarks Taupe/Dark Grey Water Row Boots/Booties,Steve Madden Black/Red Tsunamii Rain Boots/BootiesNine West White Genuine Leather Slip On High Heel Ankle Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Camel Suede Tw72807 Boots/Booties,Cole Haan Black Leather Stretchy Boots/Booties,Fergalicious by Fergie Black Tyra Boots/Booties,Steve Madden Tan / Brown Point Boots/BootiesDonald J. Pliner Grey Dela Boots/BootiesFree People Red Loveland Made In Spain Go with Anything Ankle Eu40 9.5-10 Boots/Booties,Naturalizer Black Elenor Ankle 448 / 36 Eu Boots/Booties,Ed Hardy White Tiger Print Boots/BootiesFranco Sarto Black Arielle Wedge Ankle 155 / 41 Eu Boots/BootiesMarc Jacobs Grey/Blue/Cream Shearling By Boots/BootiesKelsi Dagger Multi Aztec. Brown Green Orang Boots/BootiesIsabel Marant Gray Toile Crisi Suede Ankle Boots/Booties,Frye Turquoise 77525 Sabrina Thea Motorcycle Women's Boots/Booties,Lane Boots Turquoise Cowboy Leather Boots/BootiesRag & Bone Grey Newbury Boots/Booties,Le Silla White With Racing Patches Boots/Booties,Alexander Wang Gray Gabi Metallic Block Heel Suede Leather Ankle Boots/BootiesSaint Laurent Black Opyum 110mm Patent Leather Pumps,Kork-Ease Black Biker Moto Leather Boots/Booties,Sam Edelman Gray Penny Wide Calf Boots/Booties,Via Spiga Black Harrison Suede Wrapped Heel Wedge Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Black/Tan Python Ankle Boots/Booties,Steve Madden Black and Red Tsunami Rain Boots/Booties,cushe Grey/Lilac Women's It Cuff Wp Boots/Booties,Jeffrey Campbell Grey with Black Heel Lita Boots/Booties,Aerosoles Black Just 4 You Lug Sole Riding 865 Boots/Booties,Jessica Simpson Dark Grey Or Deep Olive Aura 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.”
Brand New - Christian Louboutin Miss Ellen 100mm Black Suede Pumps
EUR Size 38.5
100mm/4 inche heel
Buckle fasten ankle strap
Fits true to size, take your normal size
Comes beautifully packaged with Christian Louboutin dust bag and box
Made in Italy
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.Hunter Gray Tall Gloss Rain 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.
Jimmy Choo Purple Suede Erica Knotted Ankle Boots/Booties,ILSE JACOBSEN Hornb?k Army Green Rubber Boots/Booties,LD Tuttle Black Pony Hair Combat Boots/BootiesImpo “smokey Taupe” - Looks Gray Against Most Clothing Tadita Boots/Booties,Dolce&Gabbana Black Dolce and Gabbana Strappy Pointed Toe Patent Leather 9.5 1 Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Twistoyoyo 100 Pumps,Saint Laurent Black/White Yves Saddle Vintage 80s Boots/Booties,Burberry Tan Red Haymarket Rainboot Boots/Booties,Ralph Lauren Classic Colors Green Red Yellow and Blue with Black Heel and Gold Hardware. Rossalyn Ii Boots/Booties,Hunter Porcelain Blue Tall Gloss Rain Boots/Booties,Blondo Black Venise Calf Leather Tall Riding Boots/Booties,Nine West Black Pristeen Riding Boots/Booties,Naughty Monkey Gray Suede Girl Talk Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin White Follies Strass 100 Nude Mesh Pigalle Heel 37 PumpsChristian Louboutin Black Cadrilla Corazon 100 Velvet Pumps,Tory Burch Tan Sofia Lug Sole Leather Mid-heel Boots/BootiesLanvin Taupe Leather Covered Wedge Heel Knee High Boots,Jerome C. Rousseau Rose Gold Ankle 37.5 Boots/Booties,Sperry Green/Brown New Dasher Lille Ankle Boots/Booties,Zara Black Pointed Leather Biker Ankle New Boots/Booties,Steve Madden Dark Gray Multon Canvas Boots/Booties,Manolo Blahnik * Green "Plezek" Calf Heels Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Decoltish Pointy Toe PumpsJennifer Lopez Bone Charlie High Heel Boots/Booties,Muk Luks Dark Brown Burgandy Rose Beige Sesu Winter/Snow Boots/Booties,Isabel Marant Red/Orange Res Bekett Suede Sneakers Boots/Booties,Chie Mihara Teal Suede & Brown Leather Glipse Boots/Booties,Zara Black Velvet Bow Top Ankle Boots/Booties,Black and White Unique Leather Cowboy Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Grey 50/50 Reserve Suede Boots/Booties,
For him, online classes work best because he takes them wherever he goes, which could be anywhere.
Mugler Purple Snakeskin with Hints Of Pink And 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.
Cole Haan Light Tan Air Petra Riding 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.”Giuseppe Zanotti Red Suede Buckle Peeptoe / Heels 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.Christian Louboutin Turquoise Teal Guerrilla 120 Spiked 38 Suede Caraibes Boots/Booties,
It’s optional, but encouraged.
Ariat Black & Red Fat Baby Western 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.Cole Haan Gray New Darla Suede Over The Knee 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.Steve Madden Ash Brown Nwot Troopa Combat Boots/Booties,
It’s part of the gig.
Christian Louboutin Black So Kate 120 Patent 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.
Christian Louboutin Black Riverina 85 Patent Pumps,“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.”Kenneth Cole Beige Russie Ankle 412 Taupe / 41 Eu Boots/Booties,