Growing up playing hockey, Chuck Wight developed a passion for the game early on.
With an uncle in Connecticut with his own hockey school, he spent his summers in hockey camp, eventually becoming an instructor. From there, his coaching career took off.
“I caught the coaching bug at a young age just from tying skates and moving pylons,” said Wight. “Every chance I had to get on the ice I’d be out there.”
Wight, who recently assumed the head coach and general manager duties for the Golden Rockets Jr. B team, has 25 years of professional hockey coaching experience. He spent time overseas as a player coach in Europe, before becoming the co-owner and technical director of his own hockey school based out of Ottawa.
There, he honed his craft as a skills development coach. From there, Wight took over as head bench boss for the University of Guelph Gryphons women’s varsity hockey team in 2001. With the Gryphons, Wight was named Ontario University Atheltics coach of the year for the 2003-04 season, taking the team to Sweden and reconnecting with his European connections.
He soon left Canada to return to Europe to coach once again, this time helping out with the Danish u20 elite development program for seven years starting in 2010.
“I really enjoyed my time over there and tried something different.” said Wight. “Working with the youth, it’s fun to watch them get better and better.”
It’s that kind of development that has endeared working at the Junior level to Wight, who has been with the Rockets organization since August.
“Seeing that development and working with athletes from the skill development point of view, and understanding systems and seeing when they finally get it and have that coachable moment, you look at that and the impact you have and it’s great,” said Wight. “I like to help athletes chase that confidence in their game.”
After taking a year off to evaluate his next steps, he saw the posting for a job with the Rockets, and Golden struck a chord. Having been here to ski before, he figured he’d apply for the position and blend his love of the mountains with his passion for coaching hockey.
Since getting here, Wight has been blown away by the support the team has received from the community.
“My first impression was how welcoming the community is,” said Wight. “It’s great to see coming over from Denmark, where it’s not a top sport, and seeing the fans come and fill the stands and really enjoy being at the game, cheering along whether we win or lose. It’s good for the athletes and it’s a lot of fun.”
Now, Wight has only a handful of games left to sneak the Rockets into the playoffs after taking over as head coach.
While it’s a bit late in the season to be making any major system changes, Wight would love to see the team play a faster, high tempo style game, a departure from the traditional North American hard hitting style of play. It’s closer to where the international game is heading, as Wight saw when he was overseas.
“We’re trying to stay alive for the playoff hunt and at this point in time injuries have caused an inconsistent line up,” said Wight. “It’s been challenging to get chemistry going.”
The team is still searching for their first win under Wight, dropping two games this past weekend, one at home and one on the road.
The majority of the games they have left will be played at home at the Plywood Palace, putting them in a good position to make a run for the playoffs in the home stretch.