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bill tykesSaugeen Shores Minor Hockey Coach Bill Buckton during a Tyke practice in December. Buckton has been coaching for over 40 years.

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Saugeen Shores Hall of Famer Bill Buckton has been coaching hockey in Saugeen Shores since he was 16 years old, getting his start as an assistant coach in the mid 1970s, and has been coaching the Tyke program since 1989. Over the years the Tyke program has grown to include 130 kids through the junior, intermediate and senior levels with over 30 children in the initiation program for future players as young as 3 years of age.

Buckton is an NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) coach and has taught through the ranks from Peewee, Atom, Bantam, to Novice, but finds that Tyke is the most important program of which to be a part. “Little guys are important because if you can skate everything falls into place... stops and starts, shooting, passing backwards, skating, mohawk turns, they're all a part of the hockey program and I teach it all in progressions,” said Buckton during the last Saturday practise of 2017, which ended his 28th year of teaching the Tyke program in Saugeen Shores.

“I love it,” said Buckton who joked that he should be paying Saugeen Shores Minor Hockey to coach. “The philosophy of skating and teaching drills is what I love to do,” he said.

Buckton and his wife Sue are known as ice legends in Saugeen Shores with Sue as a CanSkate coach, and Bill each receiving the Saugeen Shores Hall of Fame award in 2004.

Over the years Bill has noticed a rise in girls taking an interest in hockey, saying that 22 players were involved in the initiation program this season. Buckton said that it’s great to start girls off in the Tyke program as they learn the skills that are important to the sport, such as skating progression and drills; preparing them for house league by the time they reach the ages of 8 and 9, making them less likely to fall out of the winter sport.

Buckton is now teaching the children of his former hockey students. ”It’s funny to see them out there,” said Buckton adding that he is still playing the same games years on. “I make games up [such as the] circle game that teaches crossovers, speed up, and slow down, and adding pivots.” The coach said that games help keep kids interested and as well as keeping up with their attention span.

Buckton oversees 35 coaches in the program and sees himself staying at the helm for a few more years. “It’s been a good run here and I can see myself doing it.”

Buckton said he has a 1 year old granddaughter. “If she puts on the black skates when she’s 3, we’ll see that,” he said, adding that Sue may be getting her into figure skates instead.

bill bucktonBill Buckton has been coaching hockey in Saugeen Shores since he was 16 years old.

bill famBill with son Brent Buckton and grandsons Cooper and Max Ring. Photo submitted