Parental Evaluations

Another minor hockey season is upon us and I am happy to say I am once again coaching my son’s Mite team. We had such a great time last year; I hope we have half the laughs as we did in our first season.  Already one of the little guys welcomed me back by saying to me when I walked in the dressing room, “Back for more huh sucker?” Gotta love it.
This is a great time of year when teams are just getting settled and everyone is finding their way on their new teams. I know different programs have their so called evaluations (not tryouts…) at different times during the season. We just had ours the other night. No one ever gets cut now, just placed on a new team…… Not sure what that teaches the kids but that is for a whole other blog topic. Could you imagine the first time they get fired and they are told, “Well Johnny, we have evaluated your work and have decided that we are not going to fire you, we are simply going to place you on Team Unemployed, keep on smiling, you tried!……..”
Anyway, the whole process got me thinking, maybe we need evaluations for the parents as well. I have been called a dreamer before so why not dream a little now.  Nothing on the ice, strictly a question and answer session that would determine if they are allowed to come inside the rink or not.  

Example 1:
Question: “Mr. Smith, what do you want your son to get out of hockey?”
Answer: “Well, he is a very talented player, I think he can someday play professionally if he is coached properly.”
Please wait outside the rink.

Example 2:
Question:“Mr. Jones, what as a coach can I do to make the season a success?”
Answer: “Make sure the kids learn how to be winners. I mean play the best kids in important parts of the game so we win and we teach the kids how to be winners.”
Please wait beside Mr. Smith outside the rink……..

Ok enough of the dreaming. I know this can’t and won’t happen. But maybe this is a great time of year to look at things as parents in the correct way.
Dreams do keep the human spirit alive and I don’t want to be one to squelch anyone’s hopes, but hockey moms and dads should tether their own ambitions. This is minor hockey time. Time to watch your kids and share precious time with them. Just for fun remember.  Chances are Mr. Smith, none of them will ever play professionally.
I recently travelled to my hometown in Ontario and read some interesting information concerning kids making it to the pros. For every 1 Million Canadians, 16 play in the NHL…..A study of Ontario minor hockey players born in 1975 reveals only 22 of 30,000 saw ice time in an NHL game….or how about this, even the elite players, ones that play college or junior, less than 5% make it all the way to the NHL…..Please share this this with any Mr. Jones or Mr. Smiths on your team this season.
All that being said we have to remember that Hockey is an incredible game. It teaches kids invaluable life skills. Among many things it teaches them how to be a good teammate, the value of hard work, discipline, how to interact socially and the importance of physical fitness.
 Above all, it gives us as parents an opportunity to spend so much valuable time with them. Let’s not blow it.

For Perspective
Another story from my trip north is about a report I read about the gregarious and friendly Walter Gretzky probably the most famous hockey dad in history, father of Wayne. Walter was once a very passionate and driven hockey parent and ended up having a son rise to levels that no one had ever reached and may never again. Then in the early 90’s he suffered long-term memory loss from a near fatal brain aneurysm.  In an ironic twist, the only Canadian of his generation who recalls nothing of Wayne’s career is him…..not the cups not the records….
He does acknowledge that the single greatest memory he has when Wayne was the greatest player in the world was his marriage to Janet Jones.
Maybe that is just a little reminder to all us hockey parents what truly is most important.


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