The Reality Of Hockey In Canada
An Effort To Help “The Cannon Fodder” From Making Mistakes
Hockey has been a passion, an avocation and for a time a career choice that has spanned almost 50 years. I still have a deep passion for the game and believe that involvement in the playing of hockey at an organized level can be one of the best experiences of your life on so many levels. Reality is that more often than not one’s experiences as they move through their hockey life contain both the best and worst imaginable.
The experiences related have been gathered through my involvement in hockey in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario, Canada; however, I believe that my observations hold true for the way that hockey plays out through out all of North America. The GTHL is recognized as the largest minor hockey league system in the world. (by the way I, also believe the lessons I’ve learned are valuable to parents of athletes in other sports)
Forget my personal hockey playing career other than being smart enough to have some figure skating girls teach me about edging (semi-circles on inside edges and semi-circles on outside edges going both backward and forward as well as transitions from one to the other). The important stuff that I’m talking about here is when my two sons wanted to start to play hockey; which by the way was quite late in years for a Canadian children. First I taught them as best I could how to skate. Later I went on to coach and I coached from House League to Midget Triple A in the GTHL. After coaching I went on to work for 15 years or so with what I think is the premier hockey school in this area. Toward the end of my hockey school days I spent as many a 7 hours a day actually on the ice for training sessions. For the most part I worked with youth hockey players, but this school legitimately graduated to the highest levels more elite player hockey players than any other school can truthfully claim. These include such greats as Jason Spezza, Steven Stamkos, Brent Burns, Alex Pietrangelo, and regularly worked with many more greats such as Rick Nash, Mike Cammalleri, Manny Malholtra and many more. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to spend many hours on the ice with these guys and get to know them.
The Learning Curve
I’ve told my children that I’ve made almost every mistake known to man and some twice. My advise to them was to learn from my mistakes as well as their own and do their best to never repeat them. Making mistakes is part of the learning process of life; making the same mistakes over and over again is just plain stupid. As a result, I’ve tried to develop an attitude of awareness, observation, and analysis.
Over the past few years I’ve run into a younger generation of hockey parent. In the course of time they have come to me for advise as they have encountered difficulties with their experience with their children and their involvement in the our wonderful world of hockey/minor sports. I’ve been able to enlighten and help many of them and a number of times the comment has been made … “you should write a book”. This blog is my book.
CANNON FODDER, meaning someone who is expendable or in simpler terms, a tool. It is a very flexible term that is used widely in reference to politics and athletics, but most frequently in combat. The term is a military term that dates back to the civil war, troops would be sent out as distraction to the cannons, or simply as “food …
If someone in authority regards people as CANNON FODDER, they do not care if these people are harmed or lost in the course of their work.
More of Why?
I see too many people without the experience and therefor the knowledge to guide them through. These are new experiences and they have no handbook to guide them. We have a self-perpetuating system. By the time they’ve figured it out, it’s too late and their out of the system. But there’s always new “cannon fodder” coming into and perpetuating the system. Hopefully, I can help a few people.
There is a lot more to come.