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SIX QUESTIONS: Nelson Leafs coach Frank Maida

Bruce Fuhr
By Bruce Fuhr
September 14th, 2012

He coached in Nelson Minor Hockey.

He was part of the revitalization of the Leafs when Simon Wheeldon took over the Green and White in the mid 2000’s, even won a Kootenay International Junior Hockey League title in 2009.

Now, after finally getting to fully recruit during the spring, Frank Maida gets to see the fruits of his labour when the Leafs open the 2012-13 KIJHL campgaign Friday at the NDCC Arena against the Castlegar Rebels.

The Nelson Daily Sports Editor Bruce Fuhr had a chance to talk with Maida about the upcoming season and the Leafs franchise in the latest segement of Six Questions.


The Nelson Daily: For five years you coached in the shadow of Simon Wheeldon. Last season you joined the Leafs six weeks before the start of the season after then head coach Chris Shaw took another job and had to pick up the pieces left over from the departed coach. This season it’s all yours so what do you hope to accomplish?

Frank Maida: Having a really good year. The season is about developing players and coming together as a team ready for the second part of the season, the playoffs. Our goal is to finish top two in our division and once we hit playoffs ready to go deep.

TND: Junior hockey players leave home at a young age to pursue their dreams. How do you convince parents and players Nelson is a better fit than other junior franchises in the province?

FM: Our program is real close to a Junior A program.  We have structure on and off the ice our players must adhere to. Our program is about developing young men on and off the ice.  

TND: The KIJHL has turned out a few gems in the name of Shea Webber, Brad Larsen, Cody Fransen and Geoff Kinrade, to name a few. However, for most of the players Junior B is the best hockey they will play. What do you hope the players take from their time with the Leafs?

FM: We hope the players get a great experience playing and living in Nelson. But our main goal is to develop the player’s skills to the move them to the next level, if not during the year, then the next season.

TND: There’s not much glamour coaching Junior B. There’s long hours logged on buses and spending a lot of time in cold arenas during the winter. What entices you to be head coach of the Nelson Leafs Hockey Club?

FM: I really enjoy the players. Our goal is to win but not at all costs and I get great pleasure moving players to the next level.

TND: Nelson players have been seen laying wreaths at Remembrance Day ceremonies, selling KidSport raffle tickets during Road Kings Queen City Shine and playing floor hockey at elementary schools. Why is it important to have representation at these events?

FM: Our fans and businesses in the City of Nelson really support the Nelson Leafs and we want to give back to the people of Nelson, the kids in the schools and have the players be part of Nelson.

TND: Leaf fans got a little spoiled during the five-year run with you and Simon Wheeldon as skippers of the Good Ship Leaf. However, the past two years the team has been knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. Can fans expect a different result come February? If so, why?

FM: The first year Simon and I took over the Leafs we also were knocked out in the first round of the playoff.  Building a team is not easy but having  returning players that know our systems allows them to be able to help the new players learn and be leaders both on and off the ice.

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