Hockey Parenting: 101

Posted: September 4, 2010 in General

I am entering my third year as a hockey parent.  It is also my third year as a hockey coach.  Two years in novice and this upcoming in Atom hockey in Edmonton.  There is so much to learn for parents when it comes to hockey.  Even for myself.  We all would love our kids to grow up and make the NHL, in some cases even if they have that dream. (Hopefully you caught that.)

Personally, it is only mildly an aspiration for me.  As someone who is very close to my 8, turning 9 year old, I know him…well.  He likes hockey.  Always has liked hockey.  But I see him on the ice and see him as a good, smart, little hockey player that is a great team guy.  He is the kid that would pass to the little girl in front of the net to ensure she got her first goal.  Only one of the many things I love about him.  But, he doesn’t have that passion.  That twinkle in his eye when it is time to lace up the skates and go out on the ice.  He likes it, while some kids love it.

For some of us even today, if we won the lottery, we would buy/build a house….with an indoor rink in the back.

So I think the first key for Hockey Parenting has to be the understanding of your child and what they want.  Not what you want.

As a coach you have to walk the fine line of “It is not my job to tell a kid what to dream.” and realizing that even the best kids on your team, in your division, in your city, might have a minuscule shot at the show.  You just help them work on their skills and hockey citizenship and allow for the next coach along the way to build on those blocks.

A few years ago I did some scouting for an NHL agent.  I watched the best AAA kids in some U.S. states.  I watched some of the best kids in the USHL.  I checked out as many AA and AAA kids in Northern Alberta that I could.  I didn’t see one kid that has developed into an elite AHL player yet.  That is hundreds of kids.

Now I do evaluations for Edmonton Minor Hockey.  I see lots of kids that all have a dream or have been steered towards a dream.

The issue is that most parents aren’t realistic in their expectations of what their little hockey player will be.  I have see parents with a twinkle in their eye that they honestly believe that their youngster is going to be an elite player, whether the youngster knows it or not.

You don’t want to tell a parent what to dream either for their child, or tell them how to parent.

You just hope that they read Bob McKenzie’s book ,  and find a little bit of reason every now and again.

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