Chapman Hockey Coach Sam Uisprapassorn ’05 Leads Colombian National Team to Success, Shoots for NHL

As a tender hockey participant, Sam Uisprapassorn ’05 was once all the time advised that he’d make a really perfect trainer. For a participant who dreamed of being within the National Hockey League, that’s the type of backhanded praise that wasn’t all the time nice to listen.

But now that Uisprapassorn is the pinnacle trainer of the Colombian nationwide hockey staff and affiliate head trainer for Chapman Hockey in addition to in an NHL mentorship program, the theory of changing into a really perfect trainer turns out like one thing that was once all the time supposed to be. 

Uisprapassorn, whose father is Thai and mom is Colombian, began enjoying hockey when he was once 9 years previous –  as regards to the time that Wayne “The Great One” Gretsky got here to play for the Los Angeles Kings and popularized the game in Southern California.

As a scholar majoring in public family members and promoting, he joined the hockey staff at Chapman, the place hockey is a membership game and the staff performs on the within sight Anaheim Ice.

“We were really underground,” says Uisprapassorn about his undergraduate staff. “But we had this cool little group of guys, and we would set up these exhibition games against other universities.”

His training occupation kicked off in a while after commencement, when he was once approached by means of a pal who wanted assist training a peewee hockey staff. Once he began training formative years hockey, it didn’t take lengthy for Uisprapassorn to finally end up again at Chapman, this time as an affiliate trainer for a renewed and more and more aggressive hockey staff.

Uisprapassorn has an afternoon process within the sun trade, plus a rising industry production golfing balls, so training hockey has all the time been an aspect gig, person who wouldn’t have long past any more than Chapman Hockey if he hadn’t gotten curious concerning the international of global hockey. Slightly investigation led him to the Colombian nationwide staff, which had debuted in 2014.

Inspired by means of the relationship along with his circle of relatives heritage, Uisprapassorn fired off an electronic mail, providing his assist.

“It’s one of those emails that you send and you’re like, OK, I’ll never hear back from these people,” says Uisprapassorn.

But he did listen again. “They were getting ready to go to a tournament, and they called me maybe five weeks before and they’re, like, ‘Hi. We’re having a tournament and we need you to meet us in Mexico City,’” he says.

And so he went to Mexico City and, with Uisprapassorn as the brand new head trainer, the Colombian staff gained the match.

“I knew I was going to have a mixed bag of players,” he says, simply as he’d had operating with the Chapman staff. “I’m a keep-it-simple-stupid kind of person, and that’s how I approach coaching. Hockey is a simple game. You just put it in that net and keep it out of the one behind you. I took that approach with them, and lo and behold, we won. At that point, Mexico was ranked 33rd in the world, and we beat them in the championship game for our first Pan American Championship.”

After profitable six global championships with the Colombian staff, Uisprapassorn began to get spotted and known by means of other people within the NHL. He was once nominated to take part within the NHLCA BIPOC Coaches Program, an initiative that helps Black, indigenous and coaches of colour in hockey, and this summer season he was once invited to take part as a visitor trainer on the Anaheim Ducks construction camp.

“A year ago, if you had interviewed me, I would have told you I coach a team that’s so close to me and my heritage, and I coach at my alma mater. What else could you want? I always used to say, short of the [Los Angeles] Kings calling, I have my ideal job as a coach,” says Uisprapassorn.

Now, even though, he’s prepared to do no matter it takes to get a shot at training within the NHL.

“Hockey made me the person that I am today,” he says. “I’m not a natural athlete. I had to work really hard to be a good skater. It’s not like I put on skates and I was whizzing down the ice like some kids can do.”

But patience is one in every of his major persona characteristics, he says, whether or not it’s coming into Chapman, getting forward in his occupation or, now, pursuing luck as a hockey trainer. 

“In May I went to the coaches association. I said, ‘Look, I want to find a way, a path to possibly working in hockey as a coach on some sort of level,’” he says. “I basically used the line, ‘I’ll pour coffee in LA or Anaheim.’ I just want to get some experience under my belt at a higher level. I just want to help out, contribute, learn.”

As the 2022-23 NHL season kicks off this month, Uisprapassorn shall be getting the revel in he craves, below the mentorship of Dallas Eakins, head trainer of the Anaheim Ducks. No topic how smartly the staff does this season, you’ll be able to wager he’ll be capturing for the web. 

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