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.
Dr. Martens Oxblood Red Cognac Airwalk Floral Cuff 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.Nautica Blue Lovise Mid-calf Rainboots 566 Navy/Red / 38 Eu Display Boots/Booties,
But that’s what he — and all junior-hockey players his age — sign up for. They know it isn’t easy.
Kenneth Cole Black New York Levon Ankle 792 / 36 Eu 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.
Matte Black 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 Grey 50/50 Reserve Suede Boots/Booties,
Freelance Black Chunky Heeled Suede Boots/Booties,Diesel Purple Suede Never Worn Like New Studded Boots/Booties,Denim Blue / Gray Blue Hiking Boots/Booties,Ariat Beige and Blue Buckaroo Heart Western Boots/BootiesDiesel Brown and Green. European Boots/BootiesChristian Louboutin Black Patent Pigalle Follies Pumps,La Canadienne Black Leather Ivana Boots/Booties,Manolo Blahnik Tan Suede Pointed-toe Ankle Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Roucouloucou 100mm Suede Gold Stars Peep Toe Sz. Euro Pumps,Christian Louboutin Neige (White) Iriza 100 Leather D'orsay PumpsTommy Hilfiger Green Durham Ankle 393 Medium Boots/Booties,Dr. Martens Black Airwair Women's 1460 Smooth Leather Boots/Booties,Laurence Dacade Beige Gold New Mado Leather Trim Suede Ankle Boots/Booties,Catherine Malandrino Taupe/Grey Verda Over-the-knee Boots/Booties,The North Face White/Foil Grey Boots/Booties,Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti Black with Red Ribbon On Top Boots/Booties,Grey For Kids Rain Boots/BootiesValentino Red Rockstud Free Spike White Stud Suede Ankle Strap Sandal Heel Pumps,Jimmy Choo Black Grey White Multitonal Snakeskin Lapris Pointed-toe Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Corneille 100 Pumps,Saint Laurent Black Opyum 85 Sandals PumpsEmilio Pucci Pink Black and Yellow Mid-calf Swirl Print Rainboot Boots/Booties,Chinese Laundry Tan Over The Knee Boots/Booties,Lucky Brand Slate Blue Leather Cowboy Boots/Booties,Matisse Black Otto Leather Pointed Toe Chelsea Ankle Boots/Booties,Saint Laurent Charcoal Grey Lizard Print Degrade Leather Tribtoo 105 Platform Ankle Boots/Booties,Sigerson Morrison Red 1104 Suede Boots/Booties,Dr. Martens Cherry Red Smooth 1460 Airwair Women's Boots/Booties,Chloé Burgundy Susanna Studded Velvet Boots/Booties,Dr. Martens Black Men's Indistrial Steel Toe Oxfords 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.”
Nude leather Christian Louboutin platform cage booties with braided details throughout, stacked wooden heels and zip closures at counters. Includes dust bag.
Condition: Very Good. Minor scuffing at soles.
Measurements: Heels 5.25", Platforms 1.25"
Size 36.5 EU
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.
Hunter Black Tall Adjustable Gloss Rain Boots/Booties,Montana West Gray Boho Tribal Chic Suede Leather Fringe Hugs Winter Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black and White Sling Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Doracora 100 Patent Red Heart Heel 37 Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Degrastrass 100 Leather Strassed Crystal Pumps,FreeBird Tan Rust Navy Brown Distressed Leather & Canvas Patchwork Petal Boots/Booties,Michael Antonio Tan Peep Toe Boots/Booties,BCBGMAXAZRIA Purple Vero Cuoio Peep Toe Deep with Alligator Pattern In On Heel Boots/Booties,Pour La Victoire Army Green Martine Suede Mid Calf Boots/Booties,Y-3 Black Up and Zip Front Leather Boots/Booties,Charles by Charles David Grey Over-the-knee Stingrey Boots/BootiesRene Caovilla Gold/Multicolor Burma Oro Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Leather Air Chance 100 PumpsCape Robbin White Benny-1 Transparent Open Boots/Booties,Taupe Women's Bombi Suede Over-the-knee Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Red/Black Ophrys 160mm Boots/Booties,Laurence Dacade Blue Mia Boheme Chelsea Boots/Booties,B?rn Cream Shearling Tall Lined Boots/Booties,Fergalicious by Fergie Black Women's Ledge Contemprary Boots/Booties,Stella McCartney Gray Studded Chunky Boots/Booties,Versace 19.69 Black Women's Designer Heels Available Sizes-5 6 6.5 7 9) Pumps,Christian Louboutin Black Patent Leather Pigalle Heels Pumps,Nine West Black Red White Cowboy Boots/Booties,Frye Tan Leather 76400 4001 Boots/Booties,Salvatore Ferragamo Burgundy Brown Winter Fall Patent Leather Patent Boots/Booties,Acne Studios Denim Jensen Chelsea Boots/Booties,Steven by Steve Madden Black Riding Boots/Booties,Nine West Black Tiberia Over The Knee Boots/Booties,Dolce Vita Grey Heeled Suede Ankle Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Pigalle Follies Pumps,
For him, online classes work best because he takes them wherever he goes, which could be anywhere.
Frye Dark Taupe Melissa Pull On Mid Calf Leather 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.
Marc Jacobs Black Blue Patent Leather Suede Leather Designer 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.”Minnetonka Black 3 Layer Suede Leather Fringe Moccasin 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.Rag & Bone Grey New Newbury Classic Calfskin 41 Retail Boots/Booties,
It’s optional, but encouraged.
Paul Green Burnished Gray Leather Dallas 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.Manolo Blahnik Black Patent Bb 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 Patent Bibaba 85 Pumps,
It’s part of the gig.
Jimmy Choo Tan Leopard Calf Hair Tall Stilleto 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.
Tod's Caramel Tan Chelsea Driving 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.”Topshop Nude Pink New Paige Studded Ankle Boots/Booties,