Some coaches gauge their success on the amount of wins they've accumulated, or the number of banners hanging from the rafters.
Randy Browne, the former technical director of Bay Arena minor hockey, can safely say he played an important role in bringing many championship banners to the Bay Roberts rink.
During his 15-year tenure as director, Bay Arena minor won its fair share, and produced some great teams. So Browne could be excused if he gloated a little, though he wasn't always behind the bench when goals were scored and medals were handed out.
He played more of a guiding role, behind the scenes, helping develop skills and implement systems.
For example, at the end of the 1990-91 season, just his second year involved with the association, Bay Arena minor captured eight medals at provincial Easter tournaments.
It would happen again in the spring of 1994.
Browne chooses not to judge himself by the number championships.
"It was more about developing hockey players and young adults," Browne said during a recent interview.
He recalls a time some years ago when he was approached by hockey parent Ted Trenchard, whose son, Ryan, was a player in the association.
The two were staring at a row of banners in the arena, and Trenchard asked Browne if he "judged himself by the number of banners."
One of the banners on the wall sparked a memory in Browne.
"That year, the bantam team played in the B division with the best team on the island from Conception Bay Central," he recalled. "In the provincial tournament, we lost to them 1-0 in the championship, but we scored two goals that weren't counted.
"So, I said, 'no, I don't judge myself on the number of banners because that year we beat the best bantam team and only got a silver medal.' You can't judge yourself on winning."
Browne takes the most satisfaction from what players who went through his program did after minor hockey.
"What about the kids who are now lawyers, doctors, teachers and principals?" he said. "Or the ones who went on to have hockey careers?"
The likes of David Crane, Keith Delaney, Ryan Delaney, Rodney Mugford, Chad Parsons, Ian Barrett, Paul Brown, Brent Roach and Frans Vokey, just to name a few.
Wade Oates, who was recently elected to the Bay Roberts town council, was also coached by Browne.
"If I'm in the Avalon Mall and I run into an old coach from that era, what's the first thing? A smile and out goes the hand," said Browne. "Or I see a kid, and it's, 'Mr. Browne, what are ya doin'?' That's what it's all about."
To him, it means he was doing something right.
Browne came to the Bay Arena in 1988, looking to guide the Junior Rovers to a championship in what is now the St. John's junior league.
The following year, with the minor hockey association growing and teams moving to the B division, the executive thought it was time to bring in a technical director.
Browne got the call.
"Wes Gosse and Ed Neil thought, 'well, we already have Randy Browne out here, so let's try and keep him,'" Browne said.
The move was met with some trepidation.
"Some people got their backs up when I first came out here. They thought I was brought in to change everything and fix all of the problems, but what problems?" said Browne, who was born and raised in St. John's.
Browne saw the need to shift from a system that focused on developing one set of players above the rest, into a system that fostered hockey growth in all players, whether that was house league or all-star.
Coaches finally "got" it
It took a while, but coaches finally started to use the technical director to its full potential. Instead of coaches doing their own thing, they turned to Browne for help and guidance.
Browne said he worked closely with coaches like Glenn Littlejohn, the late Ron Dawson, Frank Connolly, Brian Hurley and others.
Littlejohn worked with Browne that first year in 1988, behind the bench for the junior Rovers, and then coached with Bay Arena minor when Browne was technical director.
"I don't know if there was ever a more techincal mind that I was around than Randy Browne," said Littlejohn, who was elected MHA for the district of Port de Grave last year. "He had a great knowledge of the game. He could break it down inside and out and it was just a lot of fun to learn from him."
Littlejohn remembers coming home from tournaments and calling Browne.
"I'd go, 'Brownie, we were horrible in our own end or we were terrible on faceoffs. This is a drill that I have, and he might say, 'Glenn, this may be a little bit advanced, or maybe we should try this,'" he said. "There was always that banter back and forth."
When coaches started to mesh with the technical director, Browne said, Bay Arena teams were "beating St. John's on a regular basis.
"Players learned a system in atom, did it again in peewee, perfected it in bantam and by the time they got to midget, we were beating the socks off people."
During Browne's first five years as technical director, the Bay Arena moved from the C division to A division.
Although he was not directly responsible for the overseeing of the teams who made the jump, Browne still takes pride in the part he played during those years.
"Randy was your resource, he wasn't out there to run practices for you, he was your resource," said Littlejohn.
Towards the end of his time with the Bay Arena, numbers were dropping in all associations across the province, and Bay Arena was no different.
"The emphasis was almost totally on all-star ... more than half of the association were wearing the red and white Rovers colours and house league was suffering," he said.
Bay Arena minor put a system in place to try and force all-star players to attend house league games.
"Attendance sheets were developed and suspensions were put in place," said Browne.
There were times he would step on the ice and he would be the only coach.
"I'd look up and see all of the coaches leaning on the rail," said Browne. "They thought, 'I don't need to go out there, Browne will be there.'
"I was starting to burn out, and I said that was the end."
Browne left Bay Arena minor midway through the last decade, and has not set foot in the stadium since.
Many of the principles and coaching techniques Browne used to teach athletes in the association can still be seen today, and some of the players Browne helped develop are now mentoring a new generation.
David Crane is involved with the squirts, while Scott Akerman handles house league and all-star coaching duties.
The atom A team that saw so much success last year was lead by Scott Mercer and Bo Bennett, both of whom also played with Browne's junior team.
"It makes me proud to see them involved," he said.
One of the most fitting compliments paid to Browne and his time with Bay Arena minor came from longtime volunteer coach and executive member with the CBN Junior Stars, Kevin Hurley.
"He thanked me and paid tribute to my program and the development of the core of his junior team that won back-to-back junior league championships," he said.
Littlejohn has high praise for Browne and the work he did as technical director.
"I don't think some of our players would have progressed to some of the opportunities they had (without) Randy helping us along," said Littlejohn.