Mike Knuble, a United States Olympian and four-time U.S. Men’s National Team selection, has continued his involvement with the game through coaching. In addition to serving as an assistant coach for the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, Knuble helps coach the Michigan Nationals’* bantam major and peewee minor teams.
Living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife and three kids, Knuble savors his time spent on the bench, which sometimes doubles as family time.
“Both of my boys play. It’s fun to be involved on their teams. I feel like it is my duty and responsibility,” he said of his involvement in youth hockey. “I help kids navigate their young careers. I can teach them things I didn’t know at their age and hope that someday it will click with them.”
Knuble describes hockey as a microcosm of life. Everything he learned through the game he applies to his life today. He learned to deal with adversity, how to work with different personalities and how to use different communication styles depending on the person and the situation.
As a youth hockey coach, he quickly learned that kids aren’t little adults. “Just like you need to tell a kid 100 times to brush their teeth, you need to do the same thing on the ice with a play,” he said.
Some advice he tries to impart on young players is to have fun, but also learn to embrace hard work to become a good player. “It is important to work hard on and off the ice with your team,” said Knuble.
Though he admits that his sons sometimes may wish their dad wasn’t their coach, it’s obvious that the teams Knuble coaches in western Michigan are lucky to have such an accomplished international player as one of their coaches.
*Michigan Nationals will be known as Fox Motors Hockey Club starting next season.