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The Hockey Dream For Parents
Parents’ decision to send their children to hockey is usually a simple one. Either mom, dad or a family member has played in the past or the five or six year old really enjoys the game. There are many opportunities to get your kids involved in hockey at an early age. Please consider your decision carefully.
Hockey seems to be a little different than most sports. You still have to drive your kids to practices, games, tournaments, and other activities, like other sports. However, morning practices late at night and skipping school for tournaments seem to be a very common occurrence. Hockey, if you choose, is now a year-round sport. Children play in winter and spring as well as additionally train at a very young age.
So there is a time commitment, Mom and Dad. Be prepared to give up your weekends, long weekends and holidays. Why you ask. Well, the winter season usually starts at the end of August. We’ll talk about that later, but be prepared for all your long weekends, Christmas holidays, spring and even summer holidays to be hockey-based. If you have thought about all this, enroll your children and go.
2) Hockey for the first time
What a great feeling to put your kids on skates, gear, gloves and hand them a stick, push them and encourage them, “You can do it”. Wait, did you think to maybe put them through some skating lessons first? Take them to the ice rink and get out on the ice with them. I believe this is very important. Kids need to know the basics first before appearing for hockey evaluations. People who coach minor hockey are usually volunteer parents, who don’t necessarily have training in how to teach their child to skate. There are many social as well as private programs.
This is a great time to start. All these kids are here to have fun and enjoy learning to skate, shoot the puck, and start building little friendships. Parents get to know each other and get to know all the details of hockey life. For now, it’s easy, because there are no morning practices and there aren’t too many games or tournaments. This is the beginning of your commitment and you have been in it for six months.
3) Second year
So you survived the first year and now you’re ready to go again. September comes and you’re at the ice rink in your shorts. It’s still nice and sunny, and you’re enjoying and prolonging the sun as long as possible. You visit all the people you haven’t seen all summer, catch up and just enjoy the kids on the ice having a great time. People are starting to notice how some kids stand out and talk about who will be on which team. After all, you can play some matches against other associations and even enter some tournaments. This year you will learn about fundraising or simply writing a check for team funds. It’s still a great year as the kids love to learn and the ice skating is going great.
4) You are now 7 years old
Year three and you’re ready for those evaluations. Now you may be introduced to a bit of craziness where some kids might stand out and that kid obviously wants to play with the older age group. He might skate fast enough, even look like he can, but in reality he’ll be closer to breaking even in a month or two. You have to remember, some kids are going to spring hockey, summer camps, and some kids just unpacked a bag the other day, and just to make sure everything was okay. However, some kids will stand out throughout the year and score a lot of goals. He might not like it because of all the goals. Parents will talk positively or negatively about this child, but definitely talk. A positive conversation will be good and encouraging, you just need to pay attention to how you talk about that special person in front of your child.
The negative will be determined according to the PARENT position of the special player. By this I mean how do parents talk about other players? “Oh, you’re the best, even when you try to pass, they never get”. He should play with older, better kids. Where’s the rush mom and dad? He is still a few years away from the Bantam Draft.
5) Last year’s rookie
Are you ready to go again? The two-minute buzzer is gone, hopefully offside is called and that special player wants to try his hand at Atom Rep. Some parents say, yes, let him go, we don’t want him on our team, he never passes anyway. His parents try to convince anyone who will listen to let him try.
This year should be about learning more of the same as previous years, individual skills. Skating, passing and shooting. Some time will be spent learning more about the game, such as the basic breakout and the importance of the back check. You will learn more as a team and what a team is and what an important part of a community is. When you go to different rinks and tournaments, the coaches will talk about appropriate behavior in the restaurant where you will have lunch between games. You will also learn more about respecting the game and all the referees involved, all the coaches and all the volunteers. How about the hotel you stay in while traveling to different locations for that weekend tournament.
This is only your fourth year of playing and there is still a lot to learn.
6) Welcome to Atom and Rep Hockey Tryouts
We ask parents to understand that it takes hard work for your child to succeed. If you think your child is that special player, remember that there is always a better player somewhere. Some of these kids worked all spring and summer to create a rap team. It might not work after all. You, as a parent, will have your own opinion about who should and who should not be there. Judges and coaches do their best to pick the team they believe will be the winning team. You won’t agree with them on every decision whether your superstar makes it or not. After all, he was the best kid on last year’s team. Okay, welcome to the reality that the kids they’re competing against right now are a year older with more experience. There is nothing wrong with your child playing in the second or third team if it is home.
Is the kid here to learn hockey, have fun and learn some life skills, or is he fulfilling his lifelong dream of playing in the series. This is a difficult year for some to get through. Some thought their superstar should be on the national team and failed. So the parents go to another association or winter club to try out. Some quit hockey all together, because the superstar is too good to play house. It’s the first year, don’t worry, there’s always next year.
By the way, did I mention open your wallets if you play rap. Extra games, practices and travel tournaments funded by mom and dad or lots of fundraisers organized by the parents of each individual team.
6) Contact time
Well, this is sometimes scary for players, but even scarier for parents. First-year players must attend an emergency clinic before trying out or being evaluated. Great, one hour of hitting instruction before they get hammered on the boards by a sophomore twice the size and weight of your little speedy superstar. Yes, some kids played spring and were exposed to it, but the sophomore monster has more than a year of experience on how to put his superstar straight through the boards. This is a whole other level of hockey and just because your little Johnny played rep in Atom doesn’t mean he’s going to play tailback in peewee. It’s not just contact; it’s about speed, decisions and positioning that’s a whole different level above. Many really fast skaters thrive in the first two years of reps, but struggle in Peewee. You have to learn fast to avoid the Monster, a kid who grew a foot tall and gained fifty pounds and is now thirteen, coming at you at full speed. It takes your superstar a while to think he can do a fancy finger swipe before the other Monster defense man puts him on his back. The coaching staff will then have to scrape him off the ice, and the lovable kid next door, Monster, with whom your superstar plays street hockey, says, “Welcome to peewee.”
This is the first year that your representative teams can qualify for provincials. If you get a chance to go, GO, it may not happen again. Enjoy the experience and congratulate your kids on playing hard to get there.
7) The WHL draft is coming
It’s very important to get into the AAA team because that’s where the scouts are. Yes, this is where scouts watch, but do you remember when Johnny was six years old and wanted to play hockey for fun. Don’t put so much pressure on your thirteen-year-old first-year Bantam that it’s no longer fun for him to play the game. It’s a big year for these guys, freshman year of high school, puberty has hit, girls start calling and they think they know more than you anyway, so why push yourself so hard.
What you need to remember is that all this has to be up to the player, you can guide them and give them suggestions, but you can’t give them. Better yet, find someone who has made it at least as far as junior hockey and what it takes in today’s world. You may be surprised, a minimum of two games per week, two to three practices each week, specific dry hockey at least once per week and also the ability to condition strength depending on the stage of physical development of your players. Oh, and did I mention homework.
Now let’s talk about the second year Bantam. Congratulations on making the AAA team in your association. Now the scouts will be there. Well, consider what level you will be playing. Most scouts will just watch the tip tear. Ok, let’s assume that the team is at its peak. Depending on the professional staff, kiss every night of the week and all weekends a good buy. You will spend a lot of time at the rink. You could play more than 70 games that go all over the country in tournaments. All you will need is an additional source of income. Don’t worry, the player will pay you back when they sign the contract at the big show. Ok, back to the WHL draft. Your player is fourteen years old; he was drafted to a certain team in the league. Let’s understand what this actually means. If he gets drafted in the first or second round, maybe even the third, he could actually play in the WHL. He now belongs to that team and cannot decide to play for another WHL team, he would have to be traded. Unless the team takes them off their protected list, did I mention that this can be done any time the team feels they have found an unprotected player elsewhere?
8) The main dwarf
Let’s pretend your player is drafted. The team wants him to play Major Midget. Great, but Major Midget isn’t always the best team. This is unfortunate, but the best players don’t always choose this route. This could be due to financial obligation or it could be a choice of the coaching staff of any team. You have a choice. There was a AAA Midget team that had better players than the Major Midgets. This was not the plan of KK Hockey, but it happens. Major Midget is supposed to be the Elite Midget program for BC kids.
So you’ve been invited to the Prospects camp in W. Good for you. Do you have a backup plan? You might want to think about it, because most first year players don’t play. Or maybe you’re on the fourth line, feeling everything and suddenly in November, godfather, the coach sends you home. What now. You might want to make sure you have a place to play, like junior A or B. This can happen.
If that decision is made for your player at training camp, have a junior A or B team to work with. Junior A in the BCHL is a great program because most teams want to take you to the next level, not all but most, remember it’s about winning too.
10) Undrafted players
Hey, don’t worry about it. If hockey is what your player wants, then YOUR player needs to prove the scouts wrong. It wouldn’t be the first and it wouldn’t be the last time they made a mistake. Improve your player skills and try out for junior A or B teams. This is a great place to get some great training from former NHL players and sometimes even coaches.
If your player is playing at this level in your minor hockey league, you should be a proud parent. This is the hardest thing to motivate. The player must drive to every practice and game. Trainings are usually at a convenient time of 10 pm or later during the weekend. These kids are dedicated to the team and skip that great party going on in your neighborhood. And remember that most are either in college or working full time. Hey, they still have a chance to play in the Provincials. Be a proud parent.
12) Thank you,
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