Like many coaches, Anthony Dynak’s love for hockey started as a kid. He played AAA and Jr growing up but ended up taking a break from it. Once he had children he gravitated back to hockey and it spurned his interest in coaching. He kept many of the contacts he had from playing so it was a pretty seamless transition back into the sport.
Dynak grew up in Toronto playing for the Mississauga Reps U18 AAA team. From there he played for 5 years with the OPJHL playing for the Brampton Capitals, the Bramble Blues and the Vaughan Vipers.
Today Anthony Dynak is the Head Coach of the Toronto Raiders and recently led his 2015 Tier 1 team to the championship during the KSL season opener.
The reason he likes coaching comes down to the everyday impact you can have on children.
“At this age you see the growth, you see the growth week over week, month over month, so it really feels like you’re helping [and] you’re contributing to their development.”
For Dynak it’s more than just their hockey development. He loves coaching hockey because he sees the human development in the players.
“So much of what we do in our program is actually overall messaging. We are really big on being a good teammate, having a good attitude. So a lot of the success with me coaching and my program overall is just those human lessons we teach…”
Dynak got involved with the KSL by initially meeting Jamie Stone when he was coaching his son at the Brick Invitational a couple of years ago. Jamie eventually introduced Dynak to Kris Versteeg and when the KSL came about he was excited to be a part of it because he felt like the KSL would be a positive change for minor hockey.
“The one thing I knew from my conversations and the one thing that has been proven to me through the execution of the first couple of months here is that they are putting kids first.”
Throughout the years Dynak has developed his own way of coaching. His main philosophy is about contributing to their human development. In his program he devotes time to making sure everyone learns the importance of having a positive attitude and being respectful.
“The stables of what I do [are] we really are not too caught up in wins and loses. We are really trying to develop human beings.”
Dynak also says that he likes to combine ways that he was coached as a kid with new things he has learned along the way.
“I think I’m a bit of a hybrid where I have a little bit of an old school approach… given how I was coached but also… you communicate with kids a lot differently now than when I played… I think I have a nice little mix of bringing both approaches”
When it comes to motivating the players Dynak acknowledges the challenges that can come with keeping the kids motivated during a long season. His approach to keeping players engaged is by practising often and building habits during those practices.
Dynak creates what he calls “stables” which are important habits or ideas he wants to instil in the players. He has an understanding with his team that they always work as hard as they can all the time.
“The one non-negotiable is you work as hard as you can all the time and we take that very seriously in practice… a lot of those habits we create in practice translate into games.”
He also explains that a big part of keeping kids motivated is by making it fun for them.
“And really you just want the kids to have fun… if you make it fun that’s all the motivation… as long as they are having fun and they are with their friends and know they are getting better and learning, that’s all the motivation they need.”
Dynak wants his organization to be remembered as one that always puts the kids first. They prioritize helping the players get to where they want to go.
“We are here to help kids keep that love for the game and also help them get to where they want to get… we want to be there for them and help them accomplish what they are looking to accomplish”.
Anthony Dynak brings this extensive experience and knowledge to the Raiders and the KSL and is a part of what makes the KSL so special.
Dynak and the Raiders got off to a great start and are looking to continue that at the next event, Klevr Halloween Havoc taking place October 27th-29th in Toronto. Thank you so much Anthony and good luck to the Toronto Raiders!