This season’s 2008 Can West coach, Chris Lizotte, was first introduced to hockey by his father at age three. “We had a Saturday night ritual of watching the Montreal Canadiens on the French channel,” he recalled. “I’ve loved the game ever since.”
Lizotte started playing organized hockey in Scarborough, Ontario when he was eight years old. With a natural inclination for the game, he was invited to play with the Goulding Park Rangers AA several years later where he contributed to the team’s undefeated success for three seasons. He moved on to play for the North York Canadiens AAA and was drafted to the London Knights of the OHL. Lizotte completed his hockey career playing pro in North America and Europe.
He kick started his coaching career by running a hockey school in Toronto, Ontario and began coaching minor hockey when his children joined organized leagues. Lizotte has called the Edmonton area home for the past five years and has embraced local coaching standards by becoming Development 1 certified by Hockey Alberta.
“My coaching philosophy is to make players better every time we go out on the ice,” shared Lizotte. “I want to see all the players I coach do their best, so I try to push them as much as possible during every game and practice.”
One of Lizotte’s primary coaching strengths is his ability to improve skating strength and speed. “I also have a knack for seeing different talents in different players,” he explained. “I’ve always been a good evaluator, so I tend to see things in players that other people don’t see and I help them realize their potential.”
Lizotte believes it’s important for players to be involved in spring hockey because the level of competition is higher, which leads to enhanced development. “You play with people who are as good or better than you and the competition will only make you a stronger player,” he stated.