Clayton Beddoes understands to grow in the game of hockey it takes hard work, dedication, a willingness to learn, possibly a bit of good fortune and not to worry about things out of your control.
The Bentley native came up through minor hockey, junior, college and the pros with that in mind and today he has the same philosophy when it comes to coaching.
This year was the perfect example of making the best out of a disappointing situation.
Beddoes went into the season as the head coach of the Italian national team, which will play in the World Championship, but also coaching a club team in Italy. However, the position with the club team fell through at the last minute, leaving the 47-year-old in Bentley until he joins the national team.
“Because of it, I had a lot of down time, which isn’t a lot of fun, but at the same time I tried to make the most of it,” he said.
He spent his time watching the Red Deer Rebels, midget AAA Chiefs, Innisfail Eagles and Lacombe Generals practice and contacted RDC Kings head coach Trevor Keeper.”
“Keeps let me come on board. I didn’t know him but emailed him and asked if it would be OK to observe and to see his ideas and what he stresses … I’ve learned a tonne.
“It’s a great time for me to watch and learn. If I was with a team full time I wouldn’t have learned as much as I have these last two months.”
Clayton played minor hockey in Bentley winning the provincial bantam D title. He joined the Red Deer bantam AAA Chiefs, which won the Western Canadian title and played two years of midget AAA in Red Deer. He spent the 1988-89 season with the AJHL champion Red Deer Rustlers.
“I had a couple of WHL opportunities, but was a bit homesick, and I wasn’t ready to move on mentally, or even physically.”
The Rustlers folded and he joined the Weyburn Red Wings of the SJHL for a season before playing four seasons at Lake Superior State in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), winning NCAA titles in 1991-92 and 93-94.
Beddoes helped Canada win the Spengler Cup in 1992-93. In final season at Lake Superior, he was named to the NCAA All-tournament team and the second team NCAA West All-American.
It was the NCAA tournament that grabbed the attention of the Boston Bruins. The fact Bruins head coach Brian Sutter knew his name didn’t hurt either.
“The Bruins were watching our goalie, and they noticed me at the same time. As well the fact Brian was their head coach also played a role in it.
He played a season with Providence in the American Hockey League under coach Steve Casper, who took the Bruins head job the following season from Sutter.
Clayton played 39 games in 1995-96 and 21 the following season. His contract wasn’t renewed, and he played a year in the IHL with the Detroit Vipers.
“Following the season I realized I wasn’t going to get another shot in the NHL, and it was getting late in my career so I made the move to Germany.”
He played three years in Germany before injuring his shoulder.
He then joined Anchorage Aces in the West Coast Hockey League but “my heart wasn’t in it”
He returned home and worked on his journeyman carpentry degree at RDC, however, an offer to return to Italy in February pulled him back and he playing 13 games to finish his playing career.
Three years later he got the itch to get back into the game, which turned out to be as an assistant coach with the Iserlohr Roosters in Germany.
“It came out of the blue,” he said. “There was a Canadian coach in Germany who was looking for a young guy without coaching experience to help him, and I was the perfect young guy with zero coaching experience.”
He spent a year with Iserlohr, three with Kolner, two as an assistant coach and one as head coach, and one with Frankfurt before moving to Cortina, Italy, for two years. In 2014, he worked with the Rebels as a skill coach before receiving an offer to return to Italy.
“I missed it and my family was still young so we moved, which led to signing with the national program.”
He’s been an assistant coach with the national team the past two years before signing as head coach.
Beddoes will return to Italy in the middle of October for the first of three tournaments.
“It’s exciting working with the national team as you’re working with guys at the top of their game and guys who are motivated.”
As for his future, he wants to coach at the highest level, including the NHL.
“Like anyone I want to compete at the highest level and as a coach that’s the highest level,” he said.
“Realistically, I would like to coach at a high level in Europe and if I know someone, or an NHL team gives me a chance, it could happen. If I don’t have those contacts, it likely won’t.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com