Perspective an important factor in minor hockey
I’m surprised this year’s theme for Minor Hockey Week ( Jan. 11-18) has not been used before.
For those not in the know, the theme this year will be “Focus on the Journey, Not the Destination.”
As minor hockey programs are preparing to enter their first week of a new season, it’s something every parent and player involved should remember.
Let’s come back to why it should be remembered and start with the destination.
Of course every child who laces up a pair of skates wants to play in the National Hockey League. But, the chances of that actually happening are against you. Unless you’re name is Sidney Crosby.
Players want to win the Stanley Cup, play in a Game 7 and register their first NHL tally, amongst a score of other accomplishments.
Kids dream it every day, whether the game is being played at the rink, in the driveway or down in the basement. Every youngster has their favourite player that they embody during every game.
It’s a part of growing up a hockey fan. It starts in beginners, probably beforehand, and might not end until they reach midget. For some, it ends before midget.
Then hockey becomes a game of fun and not the means to an end. The dream changes at that point. The dream becomes less about making the professional ranks. Maybe it becomes using hockey skills to get a better education, or maybe it becomes about using the life skills taught through hockey to push yourself further in life. It’s not always about the pros. Let’s face it, there are some steep odds to overcome to make “the show.” On this side of pond, there are some 2,000 plus professional hockey jobs available to players.
Overseas, there may be slightly more. There be a lot more, for that matter, I’m not sure.
Regardless, that sounds like a lot doesn’t it?
Hold up. In this country alone, there are almost half-a-million players in minor hockey (2012 numbers).
Now don’t get me wrong. A child has to have dreams, that’s not what I’m saying.
If dreaming of playing at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, or at the Bell Centre in Montreal is the dream, then, by all means, go for it. Pursue it and work for it. But, you can’t forget the journey that takes you there. You can’t forget what you learn along the way.
This is what I think the point behind the message is. Minor hockey is not just about the NHL. It is not just about sacrificing everything to reach the highest plateau. It never should be.
Minor hockey is about learning a game you can play until you can’t skate anymore. It’s about having fun and learning life skills that can only help you away from the rink.
Players learn to be a part of a team, they learn to respect people older than them and they make friends that will stay with them for the duration of their lifetimes.
I think some parents, and by extension, players, have forgotten that.