It’s April 3rd. For minor hockey players throughout the lower mainland, it’s official: hockey is over for the 2014/15 season.
Here are 3 things every hockey player everywhere could say about the season that was:
I remember my dad asking me every offseason whether I wanted to play again in the fall. The earliest instance of this I remember was after playing Bantam AAA hockey in Sherwood Park, Alberta. I couldn’t believe he was asking me if I wanted to keep playing - after all, I was starting to get invitations to junior camps, I was the captain of the team - hockey was everything to me. I was a hockey player.
And nothing else.
This is probably the time I realized that I should be a person first and a hockey player second. As everyone should. The offseason, however, is a time for reflection. Ask your child those questions as the summer progresses.
After all, they’re the ones who play, not you.
Here’s four ways to help that process.
Baseball, football, rugby, ultimate frisbee, playing the mandolin - it doesn’t matter what activity it is, but it’s crucial for young athletes to get a taste of what else the world has to offer.
Who knows, you might have the next Milan Turkovic on your hands!
Even mundane activities like moving the lawn or cooking dinner for the family can have a large impact on an athlete’s mental state, and perhaps a larger impact on a tired parent at the same time!
Now, what if your child is hockey-obsessed and they demand extra ice time through spring hockey or other summer camp options. What then? Deprive them of their passion? Of course not, but keep the fires stoked by mandating at least some sort of break. Getting away from hockey and doing something else will only serve to improve the quality of their development when they do go back.
So it’s settled, your child wants to play again next season. Great! Once this conversation happens then shortly after it will be appropriate to set some goals for the upcoming season. Choosing a level of team to make is a worthy goal, but it’s not the be-all end-all, especially if that goal doesn’t coincide with reality.
Set goals that relate to skills on and off the ice. Things like improving a specific skill like skating or shooting, or things like learning leadership skills and what it means to be a good teammate.
As a parent, you should be setting goals as well. How are you going to contribute to your child’s experience? Did you bring your A-game to the crowd last season? Are there ways you could improve in that regard?
Playing hockey is about life skills for both the players on the ice and the adoring fans who cheer them on all year.
Ups and downs. It’s one of the claims every hockey player everywhere will make about the season that’s come and gone. Everyone goes through them and the downs are often a lot easier to remember than the ups.
It’s too bad, but it’s understandable. The key to overcoming the difficult parts of the season is worrying about what you can control.
For instance, maybe you didn’t get very much ice time. Maybe the coach didn’t use you appropriately. Maybe you didn’t like the position you were playing.
None of this is within the control of player or parent. Re-setting mentally after a tough season is crucial toward going into a new season fresh and ready to work hard and have fun. Asking these questions and then stocking the answers in book on a shelf somewhere in the back of your mind will help an entire family build on the positive aspects of the season while moving on from the negatives.
So, are you playing next season?
I sure am.