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.
Jimmy Choo Pink Elegant Lady 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.Minnetonka Forest Green Two Row Fringe Suede Boots/Booties,
But that’s what he — and all junior-hockey players his age — sign up for. They know it isn’t easy.
Jeffrey Campbell Black Matte Rain 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.
Paul Green Grey Dory Combo 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.”Paul Andrew Fuchsia * Shakti Pumps,
Circa Joan & David Grey Unknown Boots/Booties,Alexander Wang Grey Devon Open Toed Heeled Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black "So Kate" PumpsBurberry Tan and Red Rain Boots/Booties,Capelli New York Pink Rubber Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Marpelissimo 85 Leather 35.5 PumpsDior Gold J'adior 10cm Patent Leather Slingback Sweet D Sandal Heel Pumps,Gianvito Rossi Black Women's Plexi Leather Pumps,Valentino Black Classic Rockstud Colorblock Patent Leather Strappy Point-toe Heel PumpsChristian Louboutin Pearl Gray/Taupe C'est Moi Boots/Booties,Tory Burch Navy Sea Brilliant Blue 'miller' Leather M Boots/Booties,Madewell Grey 1937 Suede Ankle Boots/Booties,Jimmy Choo Lilac Snakeskin Exotic Boots/BootiesPaul Green Truffle Gray Barnes Ankle Oiled Leather Boots/Booties,Giuseppe Zanotti Tan Couture Designer Comfortable Brown Leather Leather Fashion Trend Casual Style Boots/BootiesAustralia Luxe Collective Gray Fame Tall (With Stocking) Boots/Booties,Steve Madden Gray with Red Trim Charcoal Engineer Back Zip Knee High Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Iriza 100 Patent Pumps,Emporio Armani Beige Womens Leather Boots/Booties,Lauren Ralph Lauren Black Damara Ankle 789 Black/Black / 37.5 Boots/Booties,SM New York Tan Or Brown 22731 Corey Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Marchavekel 100 Ankle Strap Heel Pumps,Aquatalia Black Marvin K Italy Zip Suede Mid Calf Leather Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Anjalina 100 Patent Gold Mini Spike Heel 42 Pumps,The North Face Light Blue / Gray Women's Boots/Booties,Brunello Cucinelli Cream Womens Grained Leather Knee High C2036 Boots/Booties,Versace Beige New Tan Suede Knee Sandal Gladiator Boots/Booties,Circus by Sam Edelman Black Rafa Boots/Booties,Balenciaga Dark Grey Distressed Leather Belted Platform 40.5 Boots/Booties,B?rn Dark Grey Suede Easton 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.”
distressed slip on.
great with jeans or dresses.
runs small. could fit 7 or 7.5
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.Fratelli Rossetti Ivory /Tan Men Suede Ankle 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.
Vince Camuto Grey Pazell Tall Leather Buckled Strap Riding Boots/Booties,Sergio Rossi Brown Pelle Pitone Paint Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Red Hand Manicure Satin Pumps,Tory Burch Black Mestico Powder Coated Logo PumpsSurface to Air Taupe Suede Buckle Ankle Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Scarlet Red Suede Leather Stretch Ankle Boots/Booties,Fendi Blue Dark Leather and Ponyhair Cuff Ankle Boots/Booties,Cream Hand Painted Embellished Nada Es Imposible Boots/BootiesDr. Martens Black Vegan 1460 Boots/Booties,Rag & Bone Light Grey Harrow Suede Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black 140 Kid Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Anjalina Patent Leather Heels PumpsAerosoles Brown with Winter White Trim And Design Straps On One Zipper On Othe Boots/Booties,Dolce Vita Taupe Tan Brown Boots/Booties,Jeffrey Campbell Wine Venice Hi Wedge Sneakers Boots/Booties,Jimmy Choo Blue Patent Stiletto Boots/Booties,Franco Sarto Black Carlano Western Tall Leather Boots/BootiesStuart Weitzman Grey Over The Knee Boots/Booties,Attilio Giusti Leombruni Grey/Blk Patent Toe N558240 Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Patent Leather Maudissima Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Guni Leather Mesh Gold Spike Stiletto Pumps,Banana Republic Taupe Calenda Tan/Taupe Suede Boots/BootiesRoxy Tan with Cream Leather Suede Embroidered Zip Boots/Booties,Rupert Sanderson Aubergine Purple Vitellino Suede Eur 41 Boots/Booties,Bottega Veneta Lime Suede Loafer Moccasin Driver Woven Boots/Booties,L.K. Bennett Black Nora Suede Wedge Ankle Boots/Booties,Mad Love Grey / Red Multi Color Boots/Booties,Chloé Black 'kent' Leather Sandals - PumpsChristian Louboutin Black Iriza 100 Patent Pumps,Giuseppe Zanotti Off White New Fringed Peep-toe Leather Boots/Booties,
For him, online classes work best because he takes them wherever he goes, which could be anywhere.
Camper Tan Industrial - Afelpado Arena 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.
Cole Haan Black Callie Slip-on Waterproof Rain 665 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.”Circa Joan & David Black 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.Dolce Vita Taupe/Light Gray Knee High Boots/Booties,
It’s optional, but encouraged.
Christian Louboutin White Fifi 100mm Patent Leather Pumps,“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 New Very Prive Red Patent (Black/Red) 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.Joie Gravel- Grey/Taupe Ankle Studded Suede Nwb Boots/Booties,
It’s part of the gig.
Stuart Weitzman Beige Setaside Reserve Knee High Tan Suede Flat 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.
Bed|Stü Deep Navy Blue with Red Undertones Bed/Stu 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 Green Seam Short Ankle 714 Fatigue Boots/Booties,