By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
Madison Bowey’s journey in hockey all started very close to home.
“I loved it when I was two, three years old. All I would do is have a stick in my hand, so my dad put a rink in our backyard when I was five and that’s really where I fell in love with the game,” said Madison.
The Detroit Red Wings defenseman credits two coaches who helped him progress from the rink in his backyard to the NHL ice.
One of them is his dad, Will Bowey.
“My dad was a big influence and he coached me whenever he could when I was younger. He was basically the first person who taught me most of the stuff I know,” said Madison.
Madison’s U15 AAA coach, Rob Reimer, also played a crucial role in Madison’s playing career.
“He was an amazing coach and helped me realize the talent I had and the work ethic I had, and really just kind of got the best out of me at a young age,” he said. “That’s really where I learned how to develop my game and kind of took it to the next level.”
Growing Through Hockey
Madison said Rob taught him how to combine different skills to be the best athlete he could be.
“It was just realizing how to be the best and what it takes to put everything together. A lot of guys have a lot of skill and a lot of guys have good work ethic, but when you find a way to put that together, it can be really special and that’s one thing that he helped me do at a young age at 13, 14.”
But a coach can also teach their athletes a lot outside of sport, and Will instilled some important lessons that have only helped Madison become a better player.
“For my dad, the work ethic part of the game was huge and obviously more so just off the ice, teaching me and showing me the best path and how to mature and showing me how to be a good man,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest thing that hockey and all sports can do is bring everyone together and help them mature and put you into a culture that is very special. And that team ethic and team-first mentality goes a long way, not only in hockey and sports, but in life. That’s one big thing, my dad has always been a provider and supporter of me.”
What Makes A Great Coach
During National Coaches Week, coaches are recognized for their positive impact on the athletes and people in our communities across the country.
So how would Madison describe these two coaches who had such a great impact on him?
“I would say caring is a big one. Caring and loving, passionate – definitely passionate at the craft that they do. And success. I think that’s another one. You know, you have to be really focused and driven to have success and I think all those characteristics were something that was instilled in them and something that they helped kind of pass down to me,” he said.
But what really makes a great coach for Madison comes down to how a coach relates to their players.
“I think just how they treat their players and the respect they gain from their players is the biggest thing,” he said. “Most coaches, these aren’t even their kids and they care more about them than anything in the world, so I think that’s the coolest thing that makes a good coach is that they’re obviously there to win and they instill all the great tools that you have to be successful, but also they teach you really how to mature and they treat you like you’re their own. I think that goes a long way, having that relationship and feeling welcome when you come to the rink.”
Madison said it’s important to say thank you to coaches, many of whom are volunteers, because they take time out of their own lives and their busy schedules to help players strive for greatness.
“I think that’s the coolest thing and something that I will always be thankful for in any coach,” he said. “It’s tough being a player, but I think it’s that much tougher being a coach and it’s very special to see somebody who cares that much for their players.”