My grandson is just starting hockey; he is 7. I have been a big hockey fan all my life and am thrilled he is picking up the sport I love so much. My son went through hockey, enjoyed most of it (some coaches were Coach Q wannabe’s) and is involved to this day.
10 lessons I learned along the way might just help parents new to the game.
1) Your child can not hear you from the stands or pick out your voice from the crowd while trying to skate, watch the other players, get the puck, handle the puck, avoid other players and shoot the puck. Shout if you must but if you are so controlling that you have” to tell your child how to play” on every shift, you are not going to enjoy the game as much and you will annoy everyone around you\; including your spouse.
2) This is s learning experience and while some players seem to pick up the skill set faster, they will not be drafted in Division 1 hockey until they are at least 18. Let them learn at their own pace; they will have more fun.
3) The referees are not very good and blow calls. Get used to it; they are learning also. If you do manage to get in their ear, they will likely get worse because they are not concentrating on what they should be concentrating on. “But, but, the referee cost us a goal and we lost by one.” Take it easy Gomer, even Stanley Cup Champions lose a game. It’s what they do about the loss that makes them champions.Teach your child that losing is a learning experience just as important as practice.
4) NEVER go over the game in the car ride home. Use the time to investigate if he/she is enjoying the experience. Your child just got juice and Oreo’s and is not interested in how to did in the corners for the puck. By the way, back check and fore check means nothing to a 7 year old.
5) You will run into coaches who are more interested in winning, yelling and demotivating players than give them a positive experience. These concerns need to be addressed with the governing team board and not in the rink after a game.
6) I know you have Hawks tickets and you watch games with your buddies but your playing days are over. Deal with it and let your kid have fun in their own way.
7) If you are unlucky enough to have raised a goalie, teach them that letting goals in is part of the game. Again, just try to get better every game. Remember 7 year olds don’t get drafted.
8) If your child is going anywhere in hockey after high school, they need a “B” average or better. No one is going to take the time to work with a “C” student who may not be able to cut the grades portion of college. Got $8,000; Pay to play Juniors? Just another youth league for young adults on the road to nowhere but making someone else money.
9) Most important, your 7 year old will be 17 before you know it. Have fun along the way; it is a great ride when you are having fun. Words can affect your life; choose them wisely. Be positive and your experience will be positive.
10) Beware of the HOCKEY BUG! Once inside you, it can last a lifetime!