Having won the Coach of the Year award back in the day for midget boys, Rombough was bestowed the honour again last week at the Taber Community Centre for the year-end banquet for the 2013-2014 Taber Minor Hockey season, this time for coaching the Taber Oil midget girls hockey team.
Helping coach minor hockey for 26 years since his days as an assistant coach as an 18-year-old, Rombough has had to switch his coaching tactics a bit between the genders.
“Absolutely there’s a difference,” said Rombough, who had a daughter on the Taber Oil midget girls hockey team that went on to win league and made an impressive showing at provincials this past season.
“There’s no comparison. It’s a lot different with how you get girls to buy in. You have to take different approaches. We met half-way where I said this is the way hockey is supposed to be coached and I basically put it on them. I didn’t let them off the hook. We had our ups and downs, but we had a great season where all the girls were on the same page and our girls enjoyed a lot of success.”
With the difficulty there is to form separate girls hockey teams in southern Alberta, Rombough also had the added difficulty of molding a team together that featured various ages. There were girls just hitting puberty at 13 years old all the way up to girls that were legally able to drink alcohol at 18 years old.
“That’s the hardest part with this group. You got a 13-year-old girl who is five-foot-nothing or less and she’s going up against a six-foot-two, 170-pound girl who can cream her. The younger girls had a tougher time, but they basically had to do it,” said Rombough.
Rombough admitted he takes a straight-forward approach to coaching where a team’s success comes down to the basics.
“For hard work it always comes down to commitment and work ethic. The skill and teaching part of it, that’s why we go to practice every day. Everybody has to earn their ice time,” said Rombough.
“For me it’s always defence-first and stick with the system. Don’t take too many risks, opportunities will always come if the players stay how I coach it,” said Rombough.
Rombough stressed Coach of the Year is not an individual award, but a team one.
From the buy-in from the players that enjoyed plenty of success, to a supportive parent group, to the team manger and assistant coaches, Rombough added the award belonged to everybody involved in the team for the 2013-2014 season.
“It’s an award that has to be shared with all of them,” said Rombough. “Without them and the group we had, you can’t make it happen.”