Dallas Eakins has had a tough go so far in Edmonton with the Oilers. The rookie head coach, who spent years as a head coach at the AHL level and was a professional player himself, was the man charged with leading the rebuilt Oilers into playoff contention. So far, that hasn't happened as Edmonton is off to a 3-9-2 start, good for last in the West.
As an NHL head coach in a city that loves its hockey team and is frustrated, life can be tough even away from the rink. You're not even safe when walking your kids to school, apparently. The following video from TSN's SportsCentre (via Justin Bourne) is rather heartbreaking.
If you can't watch, Eakins shared this story:
“I'm walking my daughter to school yesterday and I got one kid yelling to everybody ‘That's the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers' and my 5-year-old gets all excited, because ‘Oh yeah, that's my daddy.' And then I got another kid yelling ‘You suck.' Then the look on my daughter's face is... something different.”
Ouch. Not even safe from the playground tough guys.
It's a hard lesson learned in NHL coaching. Everyone is a critic, even the kids, and whether or not we choose to believe it, professional athletes and coaches are people that have feelings. Eakins didn't seem too happy about what transpired, which is no surprise, especially since it involved his daughter.
This is kind of how it works though. When you're winning everybody -- even the playground bullies -- likes you. When you're not? Well, at least you have your friends and family.