NHL coach Barry Smith coming to Dobson Arena in Vail | VailDaily.com

NHL coach Barry Smith coming to Dobson Arena in Vail

Gary Defina
Vail, CO Colorado
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VAIL – Here we are, hockey fans: the time of year we have all been waiting for. The NHL playoffs begin tonight.

Before the playoffs begin, however, now is a good time to reflect on the year. The Vail Eagle Hockey Association (VEHA) has just finished up a terrific year, with several teams making the state championships in their respective age groups.

Building on this success is what VEHA has its sights on, and although the coaches from top to bottom did a great job this year, there is always room for improvement.

Enter five-time Stanley Cup-winning coach Barry Smith.

Smith will be in town the next few days to help VEHA in any way he can, starting tonight with an on-ice clinic at Dobson Arena in Vail from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. for all current and prospective coaches in the area. If you coached at any level this season, or are thinking of coaching in the future, feel free to show up at Dobson tonight for this free coaches’ clinic. Bring your skates, gloves, a stick and helmet, and be ready to learn from the best.

Smith was on the coaching staff in Pittsburgh when Mario Lemieux was dominating the NHL and winning consecutive Cups in 1991 and 1992, working under legendary coaches Bob Johnson and Scotty Bowman. In 1993, Smith moved to Detroit with Bowman and we all know how that worked out.

After winning three cups in Detroit, Smith moved to the desert to work with Wayne Gretzky in Phoenix before taking the job as head coach and director of hockey operations with SKA St. Petersburg in the Russian KHL. Smith knows hockey and especially knows how to win and has insights on the game and the progression from mites to high school and beyond.

Thursday night, VEHA will host the end-of-the-season banquet at 6 p.m. at the Dusty Boot Steakhouse in Eagle. Smith will be the guest speaker, and you can be sure there will be lots of stories and hockey talk at the Boot. This event is VEHA’s way of saying thank you to all of the coaches who donated so much time for our youth teams this past season.

As a member of the VEHA coaching committee, I’d like to thank all the coaches from the VRD and WECMRD rec programs to the VEHA travel coaches who give so much of themselves for our kids. I know the sacrifice is a big one, but for all of us who love the game so much, it is well worth it. This game teaches our youth so much beyond the rink as well as on the ice.

See you all tonight at Dobson.

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