New video coach played on successful Junior teams

Klayton Hoelscher helped win a Sutherland Cup with Elmira; joins Lincs’ staff 

By Pat Payton

Klayton Hoelscher had a successful playing career in both Junior hockey and lacrosse.

And now, as their new video coach, the 23-year-old Elora native would like to help St. Marys Lincolns vye for GOJHL championships.

Hoelscher played five years of Junior hockey, including two with the Mt. Forest Jr. ‘C’ Patriots. In his first year in Mt. Forest, he played for current Lincs’ head coach Trent McClement.

“I reached out to Trent throughout the season last year, and told him I was done school and that I was really interested in getting into coaching,” Hoelscher told the Independent in a recent interview.

“It’s an experience that I figured would be really good for myself, get me in the game and keep me involved with Junior hockey which is something I’m really passionate about. Video is going to be a good opportunity for me to learn that specific trade of the game.”

Video analytical tool

Hoelscher, who now lives and works in London, admits that being a video coach is a “different role.” He says video is one more analytical device that allows players to see what they’re doing on the ice — both good and bad.

“When I played, we didn’t really have a video coach. The head coach kinda just took care of video, and I’m not sure if a lot of teams have a specific video coach.

“From talking to the staff here in St. Marys, we think it’s an extra person to help out with the development of the players. It points out things to different players and helps them grow their game. I just see it as a tool to help the players get better. Everything we do is trying to get them to the next level.”

Video is now used at all levels of hockey, and has become an important part of today’s game, Hoelsher says.

“I think players need to see things to learn from them. They need to see the good, which reinforces and shows them what it takes to achieve the goals they want to achieve. Every player also needs to be shown the things they can improve on.

“Hopefully, by the end of year, we’re doing less critiquing and showing more of the good things players are doing. If I do a good job, that’s what should happen.”

Five years of Junior hockey and lacrosse

In his Junior hockey career, Hoelscher played three seasons for the Elmira Sugar Kings. In his time in Elmira, Kings won the Midwestern Conference title in his rookie season. In his third season, Elmira captured the Sutherland Cup in the spring of 2017 — knocking off the favoured London Nationals in five games in the GOJHL final.

Hoelscher then played two seasons with Mt. Forest Jr. ‘C’ Patriots, who won the Pollock Division title both years. In his first season (2017-18) in Mt. Forest, he set a single-season franchise goal-scoring record with 42. He was team captain in his final year with the Patriots.

In the summer months, Hoelscher played five years of Junior ‘B’ lacrosse with the Elora Mohawks and was team captain two of those years. Elora won the Canadian title, the Founders Cup, in 2018.

Hoelscher has coached lacrosse in the past, but this is his first time on a Junior hockey staff.

“I view Klayton as our eyes from the stands, and sometimes you see things a little bit differently,” McClement says. “He will come down between periods and show us different clips of plays that we want to see. He’ll know all our systems inside and out, and will also show us clips at our video sessions at Tuesday night practices. That will be his main role.

“Klayton really wanted to get his foot in the coaching door. He’s young, but he’s really mature for his age. He’s definitely a good hire.”

Junior careers go fast

What is the biggest thing Hoelscher learned as a Junior hockey player that he could pass on to young players now that he is a coach, he was asked.

“I think every former player says it, but your Junior career goes by faster than you think it will,” Hoelscher replied. “I’m just a few years out of Junior hockey and I’m going to try and make these guys understand that to win you have to give it everything.

“Some guys are lucky to get three chances to make the playoffs. You don’t get a lot of cracks at the Sutherland Cup. It’s a really tough championship to win. That’s why it’s important to put the work in now and it will pay off later. I think what we’re trying to build here and that’s a championship team.”

Note: Klayton Hoelscher’s younger brother Mitch, 20, is a key member of the OHL’s Ottawa 67s. Last season, Hoelscher had 34 goals and 76 points in 62 games. He’s also a draft pick of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.