The Trail Smoke Eaters associate coach and director of player development, Dustin Korlak, brought his game to the highest level recently.
Korlak earned his Skills Coach Certification from Hockey Canada, making him one of a select few certified in Western Canada who have completed all aspects of the certification requirements for the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP).
“It’s such an honour to receive this certification,” said Korlak in a release. “I look forward to continuing to develop my skills and knowledge while helping our players reach their full potential. A lot of hard work went into this and I’m excited to be able to bring this experience back to Trail and the surrounding area.”
Korlak, who enters his fifth year as a member of the Smoke Eaters coaching staff, has seen his role increase steadily over his tenure taking on the title of Associate Coach last season, as well as the teams Director of Player Development.
Now he can add the Hockey Canada Skills Coach Certification to his resume, which is the highest skill coach certification available anywhere in the world. With this certification, the Stonewall, Man. native is now part of a select group across Canada and the US that have completed the skills coach certification program.
“This is exciting for the Smoke Eaters program and players, as well as the youth players in the Kootenays that get the opportunity to work and train on and off the ice with Dustin,” said Craig Clare, director of hockey operations. “A big part of the Smoke Eaters program is offering individual skill development throughout the season for our current players and future Smoke Eaters.”
The certification is timely, as the Smoke Eaters begin their high performance development camps this week. The U15 and U18 camp started on Monday and wraps up Thursday, Aug. 18, while the U11 and U13 hit the ice Aug. 22-25.
“With Dustin completing the Hockey Canada Skills Certification it furthers our commitment as an organization to both our current players as well as our local hockey players in helping them grow and develop so that they can compete at the highest level,” added Clare.
The skills certification brings the Smoke Eaters coaching staff as a whole to another level, with Korlak bringing a combined mix of both his playing experience and now his coaching experience.