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The 5 Virtues of the Perfect Hockey Parent

10/05/2015, 6:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

Did you know that while you’re searching for the perfect coach to guide your child through the ups and downs of their hockey experience, strong coaches are looking for the perfect parent with whom they can join forces? 

You know who else is looking for the perfect hockey parent? 

Hockey players. The kids. Boys and girls. Coaches and parents are going to disagree, sure as the sun will rise tomorrow and the Vancouver Canucks will trade away all-star goaltenders. 

But children and their parents? They shouldn’t be disagreeing, they should be working together to make the most of the sport. 

Here’s 5 virtues that can pave the way for success on and off the ice. 

1. Patience

Expecting success faster than it’s possible is a recipe for disaster. I’ve heard of parents demanding change after the first game of the season, change regarding style of play, how many points a player scores or just how hard they work. 

And while you might be able to push the envelope when it comes to work ethic, children are going to progress at their own pace no matter what the parent wants. The key is to be patient and stand behind them to encourage them instead of pulling them along behind your expectations. 

2. Encouragement

Let’s talk more about encouragement. This is your primary role as a parent this hockey season. You’re a cheerleader, a conduit of energy and yes, a taxi driver. It’s your job to support your child no matter what team they play on. There will be ups and downs throughout the season, but you don’t play the game, they do. 

And the more you encourage them, the more they’ll want to tackle the obstacles in their path. 

3. Understanding

Confusion leads to agitation. When your child makes a mistake it can be difficult to try to correct it if you don’t understand why this mistake occurred. But wait, why are we trying to correct those mistakes in the first place? Trying to fix your child’s problems for them demonstrates an inherent misunderstanding of the process - if a parent fixes their child’s mistake every time they’re made, how will that child ever learn to fix mistakes on their own?

The alternative is to try to understand problems from your child’s perspective so you can help lead them through it. 

Which brings us to…

4. Leadership

Behave as you wish your child to behave. Do you find yourself complaining on a regular basis? Your child will also complain on a regular basis. Frustrated with situations over which you have no control? This will happen to your child as well, so demonstrate leadership when it comes to dealing with those situations. 

Side note: the other day a 9 year-old hockey player told me the drill we were doing was boring in a distinct ‘you-suck-at-this’ tone. Children don’t communicate this way with adults unless they’re modelling a parent’s behaviour. 

Or maybe I’m wrong and the player just didn’t like the drill. But in that case hockey is probably not at the top of this player’s priority list. Because all my drills are amazing.

5. Generosity

Hockey players who live in a home with generous parents that are hard-working and thankful for what they have turn into hockey players with all the same virtues. Being a selfless team player leads to success in hockey without question. Generous hockey players share the puck, they get the puck back and they work as part of a team to help the team win. 

Sound like a kid you’d like to live with?

Kids are their parents. Kids become their parents. Every time. I know of 2 or 3 players in the past 4 years who are stark objections to this rule - and even then, these exceptional players model the behaviour of the other parent. 

Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward this season - at the rink, at the office and most important of all, at home. 

You never know who’s watching. 

…Except in this case you do. It’s your kids. Your kids are watching. So be an awesome, virtuous hockey parent, and chances are you’ll be raising an awesome, virtuous kid. 


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