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5 Things I Saw at Hockey Tournaments This Spring

06/12/2015, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

This is the best thing I've ever written.

 

I’m a hockey coach. I’m not a parent. It’s an important distinction because it generally dictates where I’m located during a minor hockey game. 

Because of my status I’m normally not privy to some of the things that occur in the crowd.

Have you ever seen Wyatt Earp? Young Guns I & II? Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome?

Why am I asking? No reason. :|

Participating in spring hockey tournaments means you get to see the game from a different perspective because you’re scheduled immediately before and after other games. There’s, uh, a lot going on when you’re behind the glass instead of standing on the bench. 

Anyways, here are 5 things I noticed both behind the bench and as a casual spectator.

1. Kids dressed for other sports

Nice! It’s crucial for kids to play other sports and try new things in the summer. Spring hockey is a great opportunity for plenty of kids, but it’s unfortunate that it’s completely replacing different sports. And not just because playing baseball improves hand eye coordination and playing soccer improves agility and stamina; it’s because they’re fun. 

Kids should have fun in the summer while they’re kids. They’ll have plenty of time to be grumpy when they’re adults and they have kids of their own.

2. LOUD NOISES

The enthusiasm in some of the spectators was something I found hard to believe at first. I’m not mocking anyone, honestly, because who am I to question the impact of such impressive displays of vocal support? Truthfully, spring hockey tournaments are short term competitions. It’s a lot of intensity packed into a small amount of time. 

The only ugly part is when that yelling turns personal, vindictive or downright violent. 

3. Butt-whoopings

Yep, it happens. There’s not a lot you can do as a coach and even less you can do as a parent when your team is simply out-matched. Yell at the kids more? The last thing your child wants when he or she is getting their lunch handed to them in an unceremonious manner is “try more harderer, son!”

Nope, at that point it’s about worrying about what you can control and potentially scurrying off to a happy place in your mind for a moment here or there. 

4. Teaching

The best coaches I encountered this spring taught their players something at every possible opportunity. These coaches rolled their lines for the most part and used both successes and failures to properly embrace the point of spring hockey: development and knowledge.

We’ve all seen the other side, when players find themselves stapled to the bench as the team pursues glory. There’s a time and a place, the problem is it’s becoming too commonplace. 

5. Fun!

Hot damn I’ve had a fun spring. Spring hockey is a challenge when it comes to delivering consistent energy and enthusiasm in the face of the four points above, but the rewards are fabulous. I’ve watched teams grasp the realities of contact hockey with great results, I’ve heard some of the funniest jokes ever told from an 8 year-old on the bench and I’ve seen steady development as a result of good ol’ fashioned hard work. 

It’s been a fun spring. For most of us. 

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