Stonehouse Family Growing A Crop Of Hockey Players
In the 1990s, Chatham hockey fans would remember Jeff Stonehouse, who starred for the Maroons before a successful four year NCAA Division I playing career at Harvard University.
Now, the Blenheim resident is raising a new crop of Stonehouse hockey players, alongside his wife Lisa.
At the forefront of that crop is their oldest son Brady Stonehouse. Brady is currently playing Minor Midget ‘AAA’ for the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, and has played several Junior B games this season. He’s expected to be a high OHL Draft pick this year.
Next up is Abby Stonehouse, who Jeff has coached this season at the Minor Bantam ‘AAA’ level, and who recently also joined the Chatham-Kent Crush Bantam ‘A’ girls hockey team. She will be one of the areas top women’s hockey prospects in coming seasons.
Their youngest, Brett Stonehouse is playing for the Major Bantam Kent Cobras ‘AA’ team.Although their kids did not formally get to play together, Lisa and Jeff Stonehouse saw their sports family growing together at home over the years.
“They played plenty around the house together, road hockey, mini sticks, shinny, basketball, baseball in the greenbelt and any other sport that caught their attention that day,” Jeff explained of his family. “I would consider them close siblings as a result of all their time spent together in vehicles traveling to games and tournaments and supporting one another’s activities.”
Jeff Stonehouse got to witness not only that informal play, but he has coached his kids at various levels of organized sports for many years, which he says presented many positives, along with challenges.
“I have found over the years coaching my children comes with its positives and negatives,” says Jeff Stonehouse. “The obvious positive is how much extra time I have with them by being on the ice, on the bench and in the locker rooms along side them that parents not involved miss out on. Coaching my children has provided the opportunity for me to pass along my knowledge and experiences as a former player in the right environment; the rink and not the home.”
For a family as close knit as the Stonehouse’s, both on and off the ice, Jeff says the challenge was leaving the game at the rink, and showing others that he treated everyone equally despite coaching his kids.
“Admittedly I have had to work at developing my ability to leave coaching at the rink, but being involved has allowed our family home time to be just that, home time and not coaching time. If you are going to coach your children, I think it is important you have the ability to separate your role as coach and parent at the rink. You need to ask yourself this question, “am I committed to the development of all the players equally, or is my focus my child?” If it is the later, it will be very difficult for your coaching to be a positive experience for anyone, including your child.”
Despite his own success, thousands of hours at the rink and on the road with his children, and the on ice growth of his kids, which is likely to soon start reaping the rewards of those efforts at a higher level, Stonehouse says that all he and Lisa want as parents, if for their children to pursue what they love, and for them to take positive lessons from their athletic journey.
“As parents, Lisa and I hope whatever our children chose to pursue is because they are passionate about it. We have never pushed our children into any activity they did not ask to do, but we have always been willing to provide the resources, opportunities and support we could for each of them to pursue their passions. With regards to their athletics my hope for all three is whenever that journey ends for them, it does so positively so they can look back and appreciate the lessons learned and experiences gained.”