Mike McLachlan is “sticking” with hockey these days. The Franklin Lakes native grew up playing the game at Indian Hills High School, followed by club hockey in the Penn State Men's League. Taking a timeout for marriage, career and family, he coached at Don Bosco before transferring to his current position as Head Coach of Ramapo High School’s ice hockey team.
In 2016, a group of parents approached him about starting a team for players in Wyckoff, and the Wyckoff Generals were founded as an independent spring co-ed hockey team for players aged 17 and under. The group grew to 100 players and five teams in three short years, with players coming from as far away as Livingston, Ringwood, and New City, New York.
“Traditionally, hockey teams begin practicing in August or September and don’t finish their season until March,” says Mike. “Spring hockey is a great opportunity for kids coming out of an intense travel season. Our teams offer structure and instruction but in a more fun, laid back atmosphere.” The Generals play 16 games in a season spanning four months and practice two to four times together at the Ice Vault in Wayne. The program is made up of five teams, so scrimmages are incorporated into play time as well. Mike adds, “we balance skill development and competition and encourage creativity in the game, which helps players avoid being too rigid.”
The team welcomes young women to its roster and currently has nine female players; two of whom play on the Ramapo High School team.
Mike enjoys seeing the growth in popularity and development of a sport he loves, and he feels the most important aspect of any sport is to develop positive life skills in kids and young adults.
“I get satisfaction in seeing our players improve their skills and finding effective ways to motivate them. You have to find the balance of giving compliments along with constructive criticism. I love coaching because sports affect kids in a positive way.”