From Last Year:
A YEAR AGO:
and BTW Mark Messier came out since then that only 1/10 kids are playing Hockey because it is no fun
“I coach Hockey, today, Sunday, I was lucky enough to only coach for 3 hours (4 hours is normal). Many weekends I start at 6:30 on the Saturday to finish at 6pm on Sunday evening with little trips to and fro, home for lunch, and back out again. Many people might hate it. I love it…but don’t get me wrong I despise so many elements about the “Structure” of Canadian Hockey. Canadian Hockey is rife with a level of politics which would make a Roman Senator blush, then faint.
I have two boys, one is 10 and one is now 5. They both play Hockey and their chance for Hockey Stardom may already be over. I don’t mean that they aren’t good or athletic or any of the other qualities that would make a decent Hockey player. My older son is probably the fifth fastest skater in his house league . He is scoring at about 1 point per game pace and is dogged on the puck. My other son is an afterthought on the JR bruins because he never touches the puck. He is placed on Defence and they just go around him. He will get better but he is almost the youngest in the league yet I am patient.I will spend the requisite hours on the shinny rink with him…he will be fine
If you are Familiar with Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Outliers” you would know that you can almost sculpt a Hockey team based on Birthday…January Babies have an advantage and so on. It is a very pessimistic thought to harbour as you watch the parents praise the January kids and you watch your September child and December Baby get glossed over. When I say glossed over I mean they are patronized and given spirit awards instead of taught to play hockey.
What is interesting is the phrase “Well it has to be fun for the kids”…I stare at the people and say to myself…”is IT!!!?’ Parents have adopted this habit recently of not asking but telling their kids what will be fun or not, instead of finding out what they truly like.
The only thing that saves the children is that they are oblivious to the ideas I am espousing. But one day they will not be. And although I speak and write these thoughts I know I am just a messenger. And not the only one. Two thirds of all Hockey Parents are walking around dissatisfied and don’t even know it. They can’t, won’t or are afraid of articulating their feelings about a system that subsidizes a select few that reach the highest levels. It is the Canadian pyramid scheme that values athletic prowess and victory or over health, welfare and most of all… your childs happiness
Bobby Orr once said (I am paraphrasing) “the way to improve Hockey is to get rid of the parents and the coaches.”
We are stealing from children the desire, the intrinsic motivation to do it for themselves. They are coached or at least the notion of being self-motivated. Sure they can skate better than we did, or serve with better technique or or they have the perfect one-timer…but do they want it more?
Tim Horton’s has become the bribe for the early games. Wendy’s for the late. Either way it isn’t for the sport itself. Never.
The thing that is missing from sports is the spirit, the essence, the hunger. Even in the pro game, mostly in the pro game.
The secret is shinny, No pads shinny, That is Hockey. Keep the puck down, two hour shifts, no face mask, feel the wind on your face. I even used to play with gardening gloves. I used to walk downtown to an outdoor rink on the night of exams to get that natural high and get “A’s” on those exams. I know a guy who worked so hard on a shinny rink that he was able to parlay it into a hockey career in Europe. I love that story…
Which brings me to The Juniors. I saw a lack of passion. And way too much coaching. I know that the IIHF has neutered Canadian Hockey. I know that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was supposed to be a saviour. I know there was a goaltending controversy. I know that people will try to blame the Coach, Steve Spott. I know he over coached. But I won’t blame him either. I want to blame the whole system from the Narrow minded narcissistic coaches that coach my Tyke…all the way up who emphasize winning over development. The inefficiency in that concept was proved the other day when 20 American players who are picked from a pool much smaller beat 20 Canadians who are picked from a much bigger pool.
Someone will think of changing our system but he won’t get credit for it maybe I will just get a participation medal”
And the Canadians Lost again