Coach Jones’ Retirement Letter
To think about all of the wonderful things that Northview Hockey has brought to the lives of myself and family is a bit overwhelming. From pulling on the black and gold jersey and representing the north side of Sylvania as a player, to being blessed with the opportunity to lead the program from behind the bench, Northview Hockey has been a substantial part of my life for a long time. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. All of the practices, workouts, team meals, road trips, and locker room conversations have one thing in common and that’s “the people”. The incredible people I’ve met and had the privilege to work with is what makes this program as unique as it is. The people that gave so much of their time, energy, sacrifice, and commitment is amazing to me, and never did they want anything in return. Each and every one of those young men and women that walked through that locker room door are very, very, special to me. They took a leap of faith, they chartered unknown waters, and they did so with a commitment to something bigger than themselves each and every time. I know as a coach, you’re supposed to “teach” your players about all that is life. The up’s and the downs, the hard talks and the constant banter, believing in your surroundings, and making commitments that you’re not sure make sense. It amazes me to think about all of the things I learned the past eight years and the crucial lessons that they taught me. I’m forever thankful for that, not only to be a leader and mentor, but a pupil as well. Many leaders want to build a “path” for future success, Jim Cooper provided me a highway. He paved a 5 lane interstate to drive down and built this program to what it was today, I was so ecstatic to simply get a chance to drive the bus for a while. I’m forever grateful for that man and the endless hours of work that he put in to make sure people like me had a good shot. His selflessness alone is something we should all agree to pursue with passion.
My time for now is done here and a new era of Northview Hockey will be born, I’m positive it will be bigger and better than ever. My parents always encouraged me to put your heart and soul into the things you do and give everything you have to make the best of them. I simply can’t continue to do that right now. It’s not fair to the players, staff, and program to have a coach that can only give them 90% of what they have, and that’s what I’d be doing. I have a career outside of hockey that needs the attention that the ice rink has gotten all of these years. I have a family that has put their lives on hold for me to chase my own personal dreams of mentoring young people at the highest level possible. It’s now time for me to channel my energies and commitments to them and be the husband and father that they so deserve. I will really, really miss this place. It has brought so many emotions, memories, and relationships that simply can’t be undone.
My thanks are abundant, but for now they’re to those that I stood shoulder to shoulder with in competition. Again, I can’t thank each and every player enough for what they’ve given. Late nights, early mornings, bag skates, broken bones, big checks, blocking shots, chasing victory and the agony of defeat. Why? Because they cared, they cared so much about their teammates and this program. They cared enough to do whatever was possible to make it better and I can’t thank them enough. From the first line star to that taxi player trying to get a shift, THANK YOU! To the best staff in the world, who took a leap of faith with me and put up with my shenanigans, you’re truly the best and I owe each and every one of you a lot. I will forever be in debt to you and your sacrifices in the name of this program. To Chris Irwin and Brad Rieger, thank you for having the confidence in me to replace a legend. I know what you were thinking at the time and appreciate the courage you had to give me a shot. Lastly, thank you Em, and thank you boys for allowing your dad to spend his free time away from you and be selfish in my pursuit of mentoring others. Lastly, I thank God for placing me in the lives of all those people, his plan is amazing and I cherish the past eight years he had me behind the bench. I will really, really miss this place but be sure that the next generation of Wildcat hockey will be better than the last.