By Mike Pickles
I think parents and coaches would agree with me, that as we age, the most important thing we can hold dearest to our hearts is sharing memories. My point is that sometimes the focus on competitive hockey can be narrowed towards just winning, but there’s much more behind what this great game encompasses. The hustle and bustle of getting to practices, games and tournaments during a hockey season can leave families forgetting what it’s really all about.
In my years of training minor hockey players and getting to know families and their weekly routines for making hockey a success, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not always fun and games, but merely just stress and work. I’m sure most parents must think, there has to be some kind of reward at the end of all this, whether a scholarship, or National Hockey League (NHL) draft. Whatever the outcome, families should embrace the journey and share the entire experience with each other no matter where a young hockey player ends up in the future.
It’s a fact that a small percentage of players make it all the way, so what about all the players who don’t get scholarships or make the NHL? What does the whole process over the years of minor hockey really mean to players and their family? My advice is, don’t miss out on the real gift of this great sport and know that no matter what, it’s more about sharing the whole experience of personal growth and building confidence for future life endeavors. Don’t think for a second that hockey is ‘everything’.
Success is all in the mind of the individual in knowing that they’ve done the very best they could possibly do, to become the very best they can possibly be. The game of hockey is simply a road towards achieving this quality in life. Don’t forget about the memories along the way, make every effort to embrace every experience in a positive manner, and do your best to be there to inspire and support players along their journey.
My top 5 things to do to share the game of hockey and give the gift of this great game:
1. Make time to watch every game, practice or tournament (both parents).
2. Take pictures or videos to look back and remember the good times.
3. Spend time participating in moments that make a memorable experience, like practicing shooting or stick handling at home with your kid(s).
4 Help dress your kid(s) in the locker room and speak positive and motivating words.
5. Celebrate after games, win or lose… making every experience memorable.
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