Chris Rutsch | Hockey Coach - Hockey Parent - Hockey Lifer
My name is Chris Rutsch and I'm a USA Hockey Level 1 certified coach. Feel free to look me up -- I'm CEP# 484015.
Now, that's hardly something to brag about, I mean, at this point, I should probably be Level 3 or Level 4 but I haven't pursued it further for any other reason besides the fact that I'm realistic with myself concerning my on-ice ability to teach the next crop of hockey players.
There are countless coaches out there far better suited for it than I am.
Well, that, and a single season behind the bench solidified that it's impossible to get your own children to listen to you like they would from another coach. It's a tall task to coach your own children so... I'm out. Level 1 for eternity.
I have 3 boys, a bantam, a peewee, and a mite and we've been very active in youth hockey circles pretty much since the day my oldest first stepped onto the ice with his first real hockey program in 2013.
At this point, I'm a pretty seasoned hockey parent.
I've seen it all -- through the peewee age level, anyway -- and I like to share anything that I think newer hockey parents might find useful on this site.
Prior to kids, and youth hockey taking over all of my time, I worked in professional hockey with the New York Rangers AHL affiliate for 20 seasons. Mostly in marketing type roles but I've attended more professional practices, video sessions, games, and training camps than, well, most current NHL players?!
That role also allowed me countless contacts in not only professional hockey but youth hockey too. And a wealth of resources to bounce questions off of -- from guys who, you know, actually made it to the show. The insight that could be gained sitting in a room while Glen Sather, Jim Shoenfeld, and a collection of scouts discuss prospects was something I was always mindful of.
Their knowledge -- especially now that I have my own children -- has been priceless when it comes to effectively navigating the youth hockey opportunities available to my kids. That, and so many of the players I've worked with at the professional level now have children the same age as mine. Solid advice is just a text or email away.
All of that said, though, I don't anticipate any of my children playing professional hockey. No dad goggles here.
I like to keep it real and, if you read a couple of the articles on this site, you'll certainly pick up on that fact.
I hope this site provides some insight for other hockey parents out there!
I'm now a USA Hockey Level 2 coach and will likely pursue it further in coming years. I'm not head coach material, not for a second.
But when it comes to understanding the game, practice preparation/planning, or even as a liason for the communication breakdowns that so often plague youth hockey programs, I think my skillset can be of use...
Or even as a last second fill-in coach that's legit just in case the officials actually verify CEP #s? True story from this current season -- we had a pair of officials that refused to start the game until they saw proof of valid CEP certs from both benches. I mean, they were going by the book.
On our bench, we had three level 4 coaches feverishly trying to pull up the USA Hockey CEP lookup tool on their phones -- something they'd likely never even done -- in an arena with spotty wifi and no cell signal.
Rules matter - I'm qualfied.
Pro Coaching Tip: Pull up your Coach Profile on your phone and screen shot it. CEP# will always be at your fingertips as well as your completed levels and age modules.