Meet DJ Pinkham, Our 14U Director and Head Coach
DJ, what got you into coaching hockey?
After my college playing career ended I knew I still wanted to be involved in hockey but really didn't know what was next. By chance a college buddy brought me to play in a summer men's league game where I ended up making a few new friends that asked me if I wanted to help out with a summer team they had. I instantly fell in love with being behind the bench and haven't stopped coaching since.
What’s missing from youth hockey today?
Letting kids be kids and having some fun. Lets face it, not everyone is making it to the pros so let kids have fun and try to develop them into well mannered young men/women while instilling some good work ethic and preparing them for high school.
You have been sought after by a lot of clubs. Why the Imperials?
This is a no brainer for me. I met Dennis around my 3rd season of being a coach when I had his son Will on my summer team and he was someone that gave me one of my first opportunities to coach a full season youth team with his previous organization so when he decided to start the Imperials it wasn't even a question that I was going to coach for them. The first year with the Imperials my U16 team won the championship in their league and we never looked back!
What is your top core value you look for in your players?
I like hard working, coachable players. Personally I was never the most naturally gifted but I always made sure that I was going to outwork everyone else and that is what I expect from my players. Also I like kids who just soak everything up and are able to take advice and criticism. For me one of the most rewarding things is when you give a player a suggestion on the bench and then they go out for their shift and give it a shot then come back to the bench with a smile because it worked.
If you could have dinner with 1 person in all of history, past and present. Who would it be? Why?
If I could have dinner with anyone it would be my great grandparents just to be able to meet them, pick their brain about what life was like for them growing up, and listen to some of their stories.