by Paul Osborne, Guelph Mercury Tribune
How do you measure passion when it comes to something you love? New Guelph Storm assistant coach Chad Wiseman measured it in commitment and kilometres as he started his drive to coach in the NHL. This year his commute from his home in Puslinch to the Sleeman Centre will only be a few kilometres each day, but over the past three years he has kept a schedule that makes the daily trip into downtown Toronto look a Sunday drive in the country.
In 2015 he became the head coach of the Metropolitan Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League in New Jersey. Around the same time he agreed to become a skills development coach with the New York Islanders. He worked with prospects on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (the Islanders top farm team) preparing them for a shot at the NHL.
With his family still in Puslinch, he would drive Tuesday to New Jersey for a Riveter practice; he’d then head to Connecticut for Tigers practices on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Thursday afternoon he would drive back to New Jersey for another practice session with the women. Saturday night the Riveters would play, then he’d jump in his car and drive home to his family for a couple of days before repeating that crazy sequence. He was driving 2,500 kilometres a week.
Now that is passion.
“If I wanted to be home for 9 to 10 days a month with my family it was just something I had to do,” said Wiseman. “It was worth it.”
And with that passion came success. The Riveters won just four games in his first season but by year three they won the league championship.
Wiseman played in the OHL with the Mississauga IceDogs and Plymouth Whalers and was drafted in the 8th round by the San Jose Sharks in 2000. After his junior career he had several successful seasons in the American Hockey League. He did get a couple of chances in the NHL playing nine games between the Sharks and New York Rangers. He also played internationally in Germany, Sweden and Japan before retiring from a career that saw him endure 10 groin surgeries and hip surgery.
“The support I received from my wife (Carly) and children was the only reason I was able to play and coach,” said Wiseman. “Even when I played they never came with me. My (6-year-old) son Mason has special needs as he was diagnosed with autism, and my (12-year-old) daughter Kya were always able to stay home with their friends and attend the same school. Carly knew that if I wasn’t playing hockey and got a regular job I just wouldn’t be happy so she encouraged me to keep playing.”
“We are excited to have Chad on board,” said head coach and GM George Burnett. “He is excited to be back in the OHL and will complement (associate coach) Jake Grimes very nicely.”
Burnett expects Grimes to continue to work with the defencemen on the bench so in all likelihood Wiseman will be working with the forwards.
But now the endless drives are over and he will follow his passion a lot closer to home.
“We couldn’t he happier,” he said. “My daughter keeps bugging me to get her a Storm jersey she can wear to school on the first day. To be home in my bed every night will be something special.