Salem varsity boys hockey coach Ryan Ossenmacher has been coaching the rocks for 10 years now. When interviewing Ryan we learned about his passion for the game and for developing each player by not only advancing their hockey skills, but also maturing as a person. Ryan got into coaching because he’s loved the game ever since he was little, and wanted to continue to be involved in the sport and be inspired by his players. His favorite part about being a coach is seeing the growth of the player throughout the season and the reward he gets after seeing his former players come back and tell him their accomplishments. When coaching, the players impact you as much as you impact them, which is exactly what Coach Ossenmacher loves so much.
In regards to the season, Coach Ryan says the team is getting better every practice and there goal is to always play their best on the last game of the season. He would describe his coaching style as wanting to be the hardest working and most prepared team going into every game. He says they don’t always tell each player what they want to hear but the truth about where they stand. This approach can be hard for some kids to except, but the sense of reality develops them into a better player and can motivate them to work harder. Coaching at the park can be a difficult task in trying to separate yourself from the other two schools but he tries his best to create an identity unique to the others programs and believes the have come a long way.
Being a coach and a dad at the same time makes it difficult to find balance especially when someone wants to put all their effort into both. In order for Ryan to do that, he brings his two girls who are four and seven to some of the team events. They love spending time with the players and think of them as big brothers. He says it’s great for the guys to assume the big brother role they might not be able to experience at home.
Coach Ryan is a firm believer that the player has everything to do with the outcome of the game therefore, it is his job in practice to get each kid ready to perform their best. When asked whether or not he gets nervous before a game Coach Ryan replied with this, “We have developed into a program where we feel there is the opportunity to win every game we play. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, but there is that expectation. If we do things right, work hard, and play Salem Hockey we have a chance to win. There are some times the nerves kick in, but that’s a good thing, they are a sign that it means something.”
In order to prepared before each game, Coach Ossenmacher says that he tries to keep the team/coaches routine the same each time so the players don’t have any outside factors besides their own personal routines. He wants them to be able to relax and mentally prepare for what is ahead of them. In order to reduce some nerves, Ryan says sometimes he will tell a joke as his pregame speech because it relaxes the players and causes them to think about something other than the game for even just a couple minutes.
Here at Salem we are especially appreciative of a coach like Ryan Ossenmacher who works hard and wants to advance the players more than just in hockey. You can truly see his passion for the game and for coaching. We wish Coach Ossenmacher and the rest of Salem Varsity Hockey good luck with the rest of their season.