Most junior hockey fans will recognize Steve Young from his time as the head coach for the Melville Millionaires, Moose Jaw Warriors and Prince Albert Raiders.
Since his tenure with the Raiders concluded in 2013, Young has remained involved in the sport as a coach with Prince Albert Minor Hockey.
“My daughter Kaebree was just starting to play around that time, so I moved into that world and have been focused on the girls’ leagues ever since then,” Young said.
The Saskatchewan Hockey Association rewarded Young last week as he was named their 2019-20 coach of the year for his work with the Prince Albert Lehner Electric Bantam AA Foxes.
“I got a call from the SHA who told me that not only had I been nominated, but I had also won the award, which was a real surprise for me,” Young said.
“There’s a lot of good coaches in Saskatchewan that do a great job in minor hockey, so to even be considered for the award is really special.”
The Foxes put together a 14-5-5 record this past season to finish in third place in the new Saskatchewan Female Bantam AA Hockey League.
They would then sweep aside the sixth seeded Warman Wildcats and the second ranked Regina Rebels to earn a spot in the league final against the regular season champion Swift Current Wildcats, but that series was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the season started, we told the players that we were going to help develop them as people and as hockey players, and they really improved a lot as the season went on,” Young said. “Even though we didn’t get to play out that final series to see how we would end up, I’m really proud of the girls with how they listened and developed this year.
“The new league that we were a part of was great as well. The SHA put teams in areas where they have a chance to move up to the Midget AAA league such as here or in the Battlefords. There was a lot of parity this season and that made things really competitive.”
Although a lot has changed in the game since Young’s days in junior hockey, which was highlighted by being behind the bench for the Warriors during their only trip to the Western Hockey League final in 2006, he has been able to take a lot of lessons from those seasons to his current role in minor hockey.
“As a coach, you are always looking for specific ways to help make the team better, which is just like what they do in the WHL,” Young said.
“One of the biggest things you learn as a coach is bench management. Everything happens so fast out on the ice and you need to make a decision before anything takes place.”
Although it remains to be seen when the 2020-21 campaign will get underway, Young will again be behind the bench as the head coach for the Prince Albert Lehner Electric Foxes Under-18 AA program.