For Immediate Press Release
Thursday, March 5, 2009
By: Timothy Oshie
Publisher / Oshie Sports & Media Group
I came across a story around midnight last night as part of Frank Fee's web site. I'd like to share with you a portion of his column/story on the the Crookston Pirates @ Warroad Warriors semi-final hockey game last Saturday night at The Gardens Arena in Warroad, Minn.
Just to preface the quotes from below, Crookston fell to the Warriors on this night by the score of 9-1. Through it all, Pirates head coach Jon Bittner, kept his athletes focused and primed for the pump in the event of a monumental comeback.
What's even more special is the eloquent words given to the players after the first and second periods that really hit home.
Coach Jon Bittner:
“It was good to see Brady get the goal and the work Cody did on it too,” said Bittner, “We had talked in the locker room on how you wanted to finish, do you want to go out with a sour taste in your mouth, or do you want to go out playing your hardest and being proud of your efforts? I was real proud of the way they finished in the third period.”
Warroad, who did not play their top line in the third period, would score with 15 seconds left to make it a 9-1 win and advance the Warriors to the Section 8A championship game on Thursday night against Thief River Falls.
“They are flat out a good hockey team,:” said Bittner of the Warriors, “they can skate, pass, shoot and have a lot of hockey moxie and capitalize on every mistake. They have the whole package, certainly good skilled forwards and solid defensemen. An excellent program and a great coaching staff.”
Crookston season ends at 13-13 and 11 seniors on the tournament roster and 13 overall that played their last Pirate high school game.
Coach Jon Bittner:
“It certainly is a disappointed locker room right now,” said Bittner, “but we talked about the good things too. You’ve put extra time on the weight’s, you’ve put extra time in the summers at night and during the summer and fall playing in tournaments. You had 13 wins this year and you’ve played everybody tough this year basically, except Warroad and I’m not going to discount that at all and I reminded them of the steps they have taken and how proud we are of them for setting the table now for the next group.”
Folks, I write and publish this story today on the day when Minnesota Section 8A will crown it's 16th champion since the inception of the (2) classes in the Minnesota State Boy's Hockey League. I write you today to tell you I've known Jon Bittner since my arrival in Warroad back in the summer of 2002. His life has had adversity the past few years and yet he came back to coach the Crookston Pirates in 2007-08 after an absence of a few years while replacing Jeff Perrault at the Pirates helm.
Jon Bittner is a man of dignity and honor. The words he gave to his hockey players attest to his commitment to the children of Crookston and his incredible ambassadorship to the game of hockey.
On a personal note, I've coached hockey since 1989. I started out coaching at Seattle Junior Hockey Association and did so until the spring of 2002. Upon my arrival in Warroad in 2002, I coached the Warroad Bantam A team then for the next four seasons as the Assistant Coach / JV Head Coach of the Warroad Warriors.
See my friends, you become a coach of any sport to develop great young people and to have them manifest excellence in every aspect of their lives. Not just the game of hockey, but the game of life. I've coached hockey, football, basketball, golf, baseball and volleyball in my adult life. There is no better satisfaction then to say a young man or woman attain greatness in all their aspects of life.
Don't get me wrong. We also coach sports to attain successes of our respective careers and the careers of our athletes. But, like the words of Jon Bittner last Saturday night in which he said, "You’ve put extra time on the weight’s, you’ve put extra time in the summers at night and during the summer and fall playing in tournaments. You had 13 wins this year and you’ve played everybody tough this year basically, except Warroad and I’m not going to discount that at all and I reminded them of the steps they have taken and how proud we are of them for setting the table now for the next group.”
The leave your legecy as an athlete for your small town communities of Warroad, Roseau, Baudette, Thief River Falls, Crookston, Red Lake Falls, Bagley, Hallock, Bemidji, Park Rapids, East Grand Forks and Walker, is the greatest thing you can do in your young, and elder life.
Nothing is worth attaining unless you've sacrificed through sweat and tears to the betterment of your team; to the betterment of your athletic department; to the betterment of your town. Trust me on this statement folks.
You, as an athlete, will forgot the intricacies of the games when you get older. You won't forgot the brotherhoods, the sisterhoods and the golden memories on your prep careers.
So, as you read this story today, take time to reflect on your careers as a young athlete and like the words of Mr. Jon Bittner, "we have now taken the steps now and how proud we are of them for setting the table for the next group."
I wish both the Thief River Falls Prowlers and the Warroad Warriors the best of luck in tonight's Section 8A Boy's Hockey championship tilt. But more importantly I wish them luck in the rest of their lives.
Coach Timothy Oshie