Today’s Program Spotlight brings us up north to Vacationland to visit a program with players driving up to 4 hours just to play for them.
The Maine Lumberjacks, based out of Bangor, Maine, started 7 years ago with just 1 team. Coach and program director, Jonathan Glazier, has managed to grow his program from the single team to almost 30 in a very difficult area of Maine with its location.
“We started with one team, then each year added 4-5 teams to a peak of 30 teams prior to the pandemic. With multiple programs in the area now, we have far less teams. The biggest difference is it is a much smoother operation now that we have a good handle on the number of teams we have, quality coaches and finding equal opportunity.”
Jon has always had a passion for not only coaching, but giving kids opportunities to stay active and make connections which fueled his desire to start the Maine Lumberjacks.
“My partner, Chris Lausier, and I saw a need for kids to be receiving more quality coaching when the school season ended rather than simply wait until summer camps rolled around. There were a few teams in the area, but not many at the time and we knew there should be more kids playing. Our program, along with many others, has created opportunities for kids to stay active and that is extremely important.”
This ideal comes to light in the Lumberjacks mission statement:
“Maine Lumberjacks strives to make each player realize their unreached potential!”
Running a program of this size comes with plenty of difficulties and responsibilities. Jon tells us the biggest obstacle is allocating time. There are so many moving pieces on a daily basis, providing the best experience requires a great deal of time and detail oriented work.
“The time required in terms of questions as this is a new experience year after year for a lot of people. [We excel in] attention to detail. We make practice time a priority as well because we believe the spring is a great opportunity to come off your school season and work on some things that you might still be struggling with. [We also] hover around a comfortable number of teams so we can continue to provide ample gym time, really helping kids grow which is the number one goal for a spring season.”
Their biggest goal is for each of their players, not just their teams. Sure, it feels great to go home with a big trophy strapped in the back seat while wearing a champ tee, but that’s not all it’s about.
“By providing a great experience for kids year after year, our results will speak for themselves in terms of everyone’s individual growth. We strive to push our players, not just try to win a bunch of trophies in the spring. Our coaches really focus in on individual player development all while incorporating and creating a positive team atmosphere that leads to multiple levels of success. [We] hire quality coaches who really care about the kids therefore in the end, parents and players leave happy when the season is over with, therefore we see a high rate of return the following season.”
It’s a pretty enlightening experience having a program over 7+ years, especially with being able to start with kids as they are young, developing athletes and watching them graduate high school having been by their side for so long.
“My favorite memory is a 7th grade group (all seniors now) started in the B division that year and struggled but by the end of the season they ended up winning the highest division state championship. Great group.”
This led to our final question for Jon regarding the role models for his current players.
“Our former players. We have been so lucky to have an incredible amount of young men and women come through our program that are now doing wonderful things. Some players are in college, some have now graduated college and are working careers and starting families of their own. Success on and off the court is a stepping stone to success in life.”
We had a great time talking with Jon today and we are truly looking forward to watching the Maine Lumberjacks on the circuit this Spring along the #RoadToZGFinals! Where can we catch them first?!
“The Northern New England Championship at the end of March. The first ZG tournament and first weekend of play for a lot of teams. Most every team signs up for this event so its always super competitive and just a ton of fun kicking the spring off.”
Can’t wait to see you guys there!