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.
Ann Taylor LOFT Beige Suede 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.Hello Kitty Black/Pink Super Plush Slipper Boots/Booties,
But that’s what he — and all junior-hockey players his age — sign up for. They know it isn’t easy.
Circus by Sam Edelman Green N Na 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.
House of Harlow 1960 Black Biker 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.”Dark Grey Western Boots/Booties,
Christian Louboutin Black Patent Leather Peep PumpsChristian Louboutin Ivory and Black Floral Classic Moulamax 85mm Bouquet Velvet Leather Ankle Boots/Booties,Circus by Sam Edelman Grey Rollins Boots/BootiesChristian Louboutin Black Kid Leather So Kate 39 Pumps,Saint Laurent Green Monogram Loulou Women's Suede Boots/BootiesJimmy Choo Black Esme 85 37.5 247 Pumps,Report Signature Black Suede Anise Ankle 7.5) 8227 Boots/Booties,Rockport Purple Matelasse Tall Leather Boots/Booties,Miu Miu Gray/Silver Suede Sparkled Zipper Back Knee High 37.5/7.5 Sy Boots/BootiesSaint Laurent Tan New Ysl 393826 495 Brown Suede Over The Knee Boots/BootiesSteve Madden Black Brinx Motocycle Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Pigalle Follies Pumps,Vince Camuto Hunter Green Dany Stud Boots/Booties,Jeffrey Campbell Taupe Distressed Suede 'cromwell' Cutout Western (Women) Boots/Booties,Navy Burberry Birkback Rainboots Rubber Tall Nova Check 11/ 41 Boots/BootiesDolce Vita Black Tall Suede Boots/Booties,Nike Tan Hiking Apprentice Hi Boots/BootiesFrye Beige Veronica Short Engineer Distressed Tan Leather Riding * Boots/Booties,Donald J. Pliner Tan Tortoise Vida Boots/Booties,Valentino Taupe S.p.a 20121 Milano Boots/Booties,BCBGMAXAZRIA Black Leather Studded Halen Boots/Booties,Black A. Biliee Riding Display Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Goldostrap 100 T Strap Spike Heel Pumps,Jeffrey Campbell White Sisy Ice Boots/BootiesVince Camuto Black Vive Leather Ankle Boots/Booties,Steve Madden Tan Armory Suede Fringe Wedge Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Red Into Black Patent Leather Heels Pumps,Steve Madden Camel Lone Star Boots/Booties,Salvatore Ferragamo Red Rain Niper In Rubber with Bow Italy Boots/Booties,Kelsi Dagger Hunter Green Zena 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.”
True to size, but I found out that I can't wear any heels over 3in & these are 3.75in. Ordered them online & tried them on and walked around in the house for a little bit. So they are basically brand new
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.Valentino Black Classic Rockstud Colorblock Patent Leather Strappy Point-toe Heel 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.
Bloomingdale's Black Fabio Rusconi Italian Leather Boots/Booties,Steve Madden Black Fame Combat Boots/BootiesChristian Louboutin Gray Suede Willetta Spike Heel Bootie Boot 36.5,Christian Louboutin Black Décolleté 554 100 Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Patent Fififa Classic 100mm 37 PumpsRebecca Minkoff Tan Women's Tall Block New Boots/Booties,Tory Burch Tan Leather Dorese Belted Buckle Platform Ankle Boots/BootiesRag & Bone Burgundy Seude Boots/Booties,Givenchy Navy Blue Shark Tooth Lock Boots/BootiesBlack Stylish Wedge Boots/BootiesBurberry Gray Worcester Belted Suede Boots/BootiesMudd Grey Suede Fringe Ankle Boots/Booties,Valentino Ivory Rockstud Patent Leather Caged T-strap Pumps,Valentino Black Patent Leather Mary Jane Open Toe Platform Heel 40 Pumps,Stella McCartney Tan Suede Ankle Chunk Heel Boots/Booties,Pour La Victoire Tan Concealed Platform Boots/Booties,The North Face Pink Snowboot Winter Waterproof Shearling Cute Stylish Comfortable Boots/Booties,Giuseppe Zanotti Olive Design Daddy Ankle Boots/Booties,Burberry Black/Plaid Ankle Rain 7 Slightly Used See Pictures Boots/Booties,Steve Madden Grey with Blue Zipper Detail Canyon Wc Boots/Booties,Valentino Black Special Patches Heels Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Pigalle Follies Floral Baigneuse Stiletto Pumps,Jimmy Choo Black Esme 85 37.5 247 PumpsMatisse Beige Black 80502 004 Boots/BootiesJack Rogers Tan Brown Wedge Boots/Booties,Via Spiga Dark Purple Varik Boots/Booties,Sergio Rossi Dark Green Ankles with Buckle and Robber Sole Boots/BootiesVince Camuto Black Vc Signature Warren Boots/Booties,ElyseWalker Los Angeles Red & Light Grey Suede Tie-dye Ankle Boots/BootiesBrunello Cucinelli Brown Monili Crisscross Leather Sandals Pumps,
For him, online classes work best because he takes them wherever he goes, which could be anywhere.
Isabel Marant White Suede and Calf Hair Wedge (Style#343770701) 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.
Gianvito Rossi Blue Velvet Miral Open 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.”American Rag Olive Combat New 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.Missguided Black Peep Toe Cut Out Ankle Boots/Booties,
It’s optional, but encouraged.
Frye Whiskey Polished Stone Wash Campus 14l 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 Multicolor So Kate 120 Loubi Kraft / Pat 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.Christian Louboutin Black Pigalle Follies 100 Leopard Patent Heel Pumps,
It’s part of the gig.
Burberry White Burlison Heritage Peep Toe Ankle 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.
Zara Beige/Ecru Leather Fringe Beige/Ecru 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.”Charles by Charles David Burgundy Giza Suede Leather Over The Knee Tall Boots/Booties,