Henry Thrun, Harvard University, Drafted by The Anaheim Ducks
I have worked with Coach Dena for six years now and my skating has improved tremendously. Her hands on training, video analysis, and extensive knowledge about edge work can help any player elevate their game to the next level.
Coach Dena pushes you during training while teaching you fundamentals and learning how to apply them to your skating. She has observed my skating over past years and picked up on little elements that I need to work on with her. I then will set up a time with her and she will have a list of things she wants me to work on, but is still also open for any things I think I need to work on. Coach Dena emphasizes staying low to the ice and getting the most out of your edge while skating and turning. She then does an outstanding job transferring these skating tips into drills that mimic game like situations.
Coach Dena is not afraid to get down on the ice during training and help guide your skates where they need to be. She is also an outstanding person that comes to the rink everyday with a smile, but is ready to work when on the ice. Without Coach Dena, my game would be nowhere close to where it is today and I think any hockey player can benefit from skating with her.
Braden Doyle, Dubuque Fighting Saints, Committed to Boston University, drafted by The Los Angeles Kings
When I first joined a team that had Dena as a skating coach, I was overwhelmed by how good these kids’ edge work and overall skating was. I couldn’t do anything they could do. Dena recognized this and she worked with me repeatedly and individualized my instruction until I was able to stay right with them. She was always relentless in trying to get me to be my best. Dena identified skills in me that I didn’t know I had. Through her vigorous training, I eventually acquired the skills needed to be successful on the ice and I developed tremendous confidence in doing so. My mental game increased along with my physical game. Her technique and coaching style really works! She explains to the kids exactly what they are doing and how it will make them better. Her technique makes the players want to be able to do whatever edge maneuver it is until they can do it over and over with no problem. I’ve learned so much from this incredible coach and she’s gotten me to work my hardest. Coach Dena brings out the best in me which really helped improve every aspect of my game. Dena is motivational and incredibly knowledgeable about edges and overall skating, making her a great choice to improve your skating. But watch out for “hockey hell”….that just sucks!
Patrick Moynihan, Providence College, drafted by The New Jersey Devils
Dena Taylor has made me a better person and hockey player. She always pushes me to be my best, day in and day out, on and off the ice. She has always been there for me through thick and thin, supporting me and pushing me to be the best skater and hockey player I can be. Every time I see Dena it puts a smile on my face, remembering the trips from the rink in her red minivan. She’s the only person I know that makes hockey players enjoy skating without pucks… Simply, she cares about you and tries to make it out to any of her player’s games. When Dena’s there watching you know it because you can hear her cheering for you at the top of her lungs! Without Dena Taylor in my life I would not be the person and player I am today. I am forever grateful to not just call Dena my skating coach, but also my friend.
Sean Farrell, Chicago Steel USHL, Committed to Harvard University
I sincerely appreciate the value of skating instruction I received from Dena Taylor. My skating improved dramatically with the hard work that Dena demanded out of the 2001 Flames team. Dena’s help had a direct impact on our team’s accomplishments. I’m personally very grateful for her support, thanks Dena!
Max and Jackson Dorrington
Skating with Dena the past three years has greatly improved our edges, stride, speed, and agility on the ice. We are much improved hockey players and a better people after working with her. Dena pushes her skaters hard on the ice and expects a lot out of everyone. She takes great care in fixing the details of your skating and giving inspiring and helpful advice about hockey and life. Thank you for helping us improve and meet our goals!
I have seen a tremendous amount of improvement in my skating over the past three years while working with Dena. Dena is always pushing me to go harder and faster in all of our skates. She always demands the best out of each of her skaters because she cares about each one and wants all of us to succeed. No matter how hard my session is I always have a fun time on the ice with Dena.
Dena has no problem letting me know when I need to improve on something but she will also be the first to congratulate me. Besides being an amazing skating coach I also view Dena as a mentor, motivator and a friend. I am so lucky to have Dena in my life helping me reach my goals.
Kyle Furey, Varsity Lawrence Academy
Dena has been more that just a coach for the last 4 years. Dena has been a role model, family figure, and a friend. She is always giving me advice and listening to what I have to say. When we are on the ice and I make a mistake I look at her and know exactly what she is going to say. This is one of many examples of the bond we have developed. She has also taught me that you can always give a little more. After skating your butt off doing push cross holds she will ask, “Do you think you can go a little faster? ”, my response, “Ya” but in my head I just gave it my all.
In closing, I want to say “thank you” Dena for all the times you put me through our tradition of end of skating session torture. Even though at the time I might have hated it I thank you because it has made me a better player but most of all a better person. Thanks for always being there for me and continuing to help me navigate my journey ahead.
Will D’Orsi, Yale University
“I needed someone to push me from a young age before I even knew how to push myself. Dena’s passion for getting the best out of her skaters is unparalleled, and is one of the biggest reasons why I’m in the position I am today with hockey. With Dena I developed edge work and skating ability from such a young age that gave me an immediate competitive advantage. I’ve not only learned about skating from her, but about being a kind and thoughtful person, as well as maintaining an outstanding work ethic.”
Robby Griffin, University of New Hampshire
Dena was Robby’s skating coach for the three years he was on the Minuteman Flames. Aside from the excellent skills that she taught the team and the effort that she insisted that the kids put into her classes with them weekly, she also offered summer sessions which we and many others took full advantage of. The kids could honestly never get enough of Dena despite how hard she worked them. They respected her and were thrilled when she would sometimes show up for one of their games. She even surprised them and made the trip to Quebec when the Flames team played in the “Q” (PeeWee Invitational). As a parent who had never played a sport, I personally have leaned on Dena many times when I have had questions about school/team choices, recommended training options for Robby, and questions about the “hockey world” in general. In the future, I have no doubt that Dena will be watching “her boys” in from with pride and she deserves every ounce of joy that brings her. She’s not just a part of their success, she’s a part of their lives.
Michaela O’Connor, Williams College
I had long been told that I needed to improve my skating if I wanted to play at a high level. It was not until I started working with Dena that I was able to make dramatic improvements. Dena is the most knowledgeable and committed skating instructor that I have ever worked with anywhere. She has helped me realize my dream to play hockey in college. Without Dena, her ability to break down my stride, and her unwavering commitment (including many 6 AM practices), that would not have been possible. I love Dena and would highly recommend her to anyone with hockey dreams.
Wyatt Schlaht, Surrey Eagles BCHL, Committed to Brown University
“Dena focuses on the details of how to skate the right way, so that my first 3 steps and stride were more powerful.”
2016 USHL 4th Round Draft Selection (Lincoln Stars)
Collin and Justin Graf
Our boys, ages 14 and 9, started skating with Dena when they were each 3 years old and continue to skate with her on a weekly basis. When people see them skate they often comment on their skating ability and we are often asked who taught them to skate. We see skating as a foundation for their hockey play, and one that has allowed them to play and compete at a high level (Brick, Peewee Quebec, WSI). Both boys have performed well at on-ice combine testing for their ages. Collin was ranked in the top 10 for skating at STX68 in 4 of 7 categories (i.e., weave agility, reaction and transition) and was 11th overall. Justin finished in the top 5 in 5 of 7 categories at a showcase at Notre Dame. We believe that Dena’s coaching has been an important part of their skating progression, and plan on continuing to have them skate with her in the future.
I have trained with Dena since I was eight years old and I’ve seen huge improvements throughout the years. My speed and edge work are better than ever. Dena knows what she is doing and she knows how to coach any age level. She is great on the ice and pushes you to be the best version of yourself.