To better build a community, a person needs to have grit, a sense of purpose, respect and a do-all attitude. Marty Floris from Vanderhoof imbibes all of that and more.
Floris has coached hockey since 1995. He moved from Nova Scotia to Vanderhoof that year and took the role on. Up until now he has coached nearly 500 kids.
The Omineca Express reached out to some residents who have been taught by Floris in the past and there was an overwhelming response.
Michael Simoes, a former minor hockey player said Floris taught him accountability, leadership and teamwork.
“I have a hard time putting into words how Marty has influenced my life. Charles Barkley once said “Your number one job as a coach is to make your players better men in society. If they become better players that’s a bonus.” This quote fully describes Marty. Accountability, leadership, and teamwork are three of the biggest things Marty taught me as a coach. But the biggest thing I’ve learned is the best way to say thank you to a community is by giving back. No one does this better then Mr.Floris,” Simoes said.
Another minor hockey player, Kyler Boucher said, ” Marty Floris has influenced my life in several different ways. He coached me throughout Minor hockey dedicating his own time to create a family of its own at the hockey rink. Marty taught me throughout my elementary years at Sinkut View pushing every student to be the best they could be.”
“He built up the classroom and school and never stopped giving back to all of the kids. Marty has influenced today’s generation of hockey kids in Vanderhoof creating an ever lasting impact that we will all be thankful for the rest of our life’s,” Boucher said.
David Simoes, a former CHL and BCHL player who was also coached by Floris said, “It would be extremely hard to find a volunteer that has put in as many hours into our community as Marty has. When you are growing up playing hockey in Canada, every kid wants to play in the NHL. Marty encouraged us to dream, but painted the bigger picture that hockey was more about gaining life skills, learning how to play as a unit and sacrificing your own needs to help the team.”
Simoes said he brings those lessons back to his family and work place.
“Marty was a friend to all of us, but if we ever got out of line he was quick to put us in our place and did not put up with any attitude and I know this helped me. As a coach, he respected us kids and in turn demanded that respect back,” he added.
Meanwhile, Marty said he is a different coach from what he was when he started out in 1995 – 1996. As a coach, he says he is a little eccentric and it takes a little bit of time for players to understand him.
His aim for players is to develop the fundamentals and love for the game so that when they come to the rink, he hopes to make their ice time enjoyable so that they are motivated to be back.
Floris has learned a lot over the years he said, from professional coaches by observing their interaction with players. He would then take that learning and put it in his own practice.
“I try to build better people at the end of the day,” he said.
Lastly, Floris said he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“I have nothing but great memories. I wouldn’t have traded this for anything. It feels great to have connections with people I taught all those years ago up until now. And to feel that I had a little part to play in their lives is nice.”