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.
Donald J. Pliner Black ‘lola’ Leather Snake Embossed Heel Microfiber Nwot 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.Grey Hight Heels Boots/Booties,
But that’s what he — and all junior-hockey players his age — sign up for. They know it isn’t easy.
Christian Louboutin Pink Pigalle 100 Bazin Pompadour Patent Leather Stiletto Classic Heel Pumps,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.
Christian Louboutin Black Leather Miss Boxe Wedge Pumps,“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.”Christian Louboutin Latte/White Leather Block Heel Ankle Boots/Booties,
Christian Louboutin Ivory Bow T Dorcet Nude Satin PumpsBed|Stü Tan Glove Tie-back Distresssed In Leather New Boots/Booties,Cole Haan Gray New Darla Suede Over The Knee Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Pigalle Plato Pointy Toe Platform Pumps,Tory Burch Corey Mid Calf BootsCole Haan Chocolate Brown Leather with Olive Green Tint Suede Shaft City Boots/Booties,Valentino Black Leather Rockstud T-strap Studs Pumps,Hunter Aubergine Tall Matte Rain Boots/Booties,Emporio Armani Graphite Grey Suede Patent Pump Ankle Strap Pump Boots/BootiesTory Burch Black with Gold Horse-bit Detail Genuine Leather Riding Boots/BootiesJeffrey Campbell Ivory Black O'riley Boots/Booties,Merrell Black Silversun Wild Plum Women's Zip Up Suede Snow Nwb Boots/Booties,& Other Stories Black Chelsea Boots/Booties,Blue Braten Crackle Leather Ankle Black Boots/BootiesBed|Stü Cream Newark Ankle / Cobbler Series Boots/Booties,Cole Haan Black Callie Slip-on Waterproof Rain 786 Boots/Booties,Bogs Blue Batik Harper 71298 Boots/BootiesBottega Veneta Brown/Beige Brown/Beige Leather and Canvas Knee 37/ 7 338274 2589 Boots/Booties,Bottega Veneta Multi-color New Leather Bow W/Green Toe It 37.5/ 7.5 352586 1966 Pumps,Tory Burch Bright Navy Maureen Rain Rubber /Veg Leather 421 Style #32138323 Boots/Booties,Dark Grey Western Boots/Booties,FreeBird Beige By Steven Drover Cabcro Brown Leather Boots/BootiesBearpaw Black with Gray Rabbit Fur Boots/Booties,Brunello Cucinelli Beige Leather Knee High New 10 Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Taupe Bye Bye 160 Mm Boots/BootiesNine West Tan Peep Toe Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Black Jenny Knotted and Gold-tone Fabric Platform Sandals PumpsChristian Louboutin Ivory Tootsie 100 Laser-cut Lizard Roccia/Pony with Studs Fur Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Patent Leather Black So Kate Pumps,Christian Louboutin White with Cherry Symbol Pigalle Follies Pumps,
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.”
Sam Edelman Lisle Bootie. Size 8.5. Color: olive nubuck leather. Western style bootie in soft buttery nubuck. Bold rose gold tone zipper with stacked heel. Shaft: 7” from arch. Heel: 2.75”. Boot opening is about 10” around. Back zipper closure. Brand new and never New. Comes with shoe box. Last pic is for style reference.
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.Tory Burch Poppy Red (Orange) Maureen 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.
Christian Louboutin Black Classic Patent Leather Pumps,Valentino Black Reserved For Lynda Rockstud Heels Eu36.5 Pumps,Stuart Weitzman Tan Suede Tall Boots/Booties,House of Harlow 1960 Tan Morris Suede Moccasin Boots/Booties,Sam Edelman Red Lisle [red] Boots/Booties,Helly Hansen Navy Midsund Rain Orig Boots/Booties,Ralph Lauren Black Low Heel Leather Boots/BootiesSigerson Morrison Grey Belle Taupe Leather Suede Made In Italy Boots/Booties,B. Makowsky Gray Cowgirl Studded Boots/BootiesChristian Louboutin Black - Bk01 Pigale 100mm Pointy Toe Pumps,Saint Laurent Black New Ysl 209947 Patent Leather Tribtoo Platform 37 Pumps,KIMMERON Tan Beige Kimchi Blue Oxford Boots/Booties,Seychelles Tan/Nude Leather Preppy Distressed Comfortable Neutral Boots/Booties,Free People Light Lilac Perforated Leather Sandals Platform Heels Boots/BootiesTory Burch Green Rare Rubber Leather Rain 10/11 Boots/Booties,Frye Black 77455 Harness 8r Boots/Booties,Steve Madden Taupe-gray Leather Nevalia Boots/Booties,Lucky Brand Gray Ubiza Metallic Leather Boots/Booties,Prada Black Leather High Shine Pumps,Rampage Black and White Plaid Boots/Booties,Kenneth Cole Tan Sun Detail Boots/BootiesFrye Burnet Red Carson Pull On Boots/Booties,Rag & Bone Navy Margot Boots/Booties,New York & Company Burnt Orange Like - Boots/Booties,Ivanka Trump Color: Black. Material: Multi Suede Ramada Boots/Booties,Stuart Weitzman Suede Gray Hiup Boots/BootiesChristian Louboutin Black Patent Leather Pumps,Christian Louboutin Nude and Black So Kate Patent Degrade 120mm Sz. 39 Euro Pumps,Timothy Hitsman Ivory Knee Legnth Lambs Leather Boots/Booties,Christian Louboutin Camel Otaboot 70 Spiked Suede Chelsea Boots/Booties,
For him, online classes work best because he takes them wherever he goes, which could be anywhere.
Dries van Noten Denim Blue Jean Ankle Rare 2017 New Box 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.
Vince Camuto Grey Braden Suede Tall 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.”Aquazzura White Pom Pom Woven Raffia Multicolor Open Toe Ankle Wrap Sandals Pumps,
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 Black Uptown 100mm Leather Pumps,
It’s optional, but encouraged.
Dolce Vita Off White Union 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.Prada Beige Suede Hidden Wedge 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.John Fluevog Red Ultra Modern Vibe Boots/Booties,
It’s part of the gig.
Zara Navy Blue Sateen 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.
Harley Davidson Black Above Ankle 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.”Sheridan Mia Black Rocker Else Woven Ankle New Eu 39 8.5-9 Boots/Booties,