The action at the rink has looked different this season. Playing under the OHF Return to Hockey Framework,
we’ve all had to make adjustments to keep everyone safe.
This is not traditional 5 on 5 hockey, but it is still "hockey", and the focus of the game remains the same: fun, skill development and teamwork in a safe environment.
Perhaps it looks different because the modified game is not being played in a cooperative, supportive, modified way. All players must learn to play in all zones and support both sides of the puck. This requires more skating, more passing, more puck support, and more communication which will only enhance individual skill AND team play when we return to 5 on 5.
If there exists a suggestion that it isn't real hockey, or kids are forming bad habits, well maybe that is because the game isn't being played in a way conducive to teamwork, support, sharing the puck, and a defence first attitude.
Everyone hopefully wants the same thing for all kids involved in the sport, ALL kids, regardless of gender, age, or ability. Think about why our kids started playing hockey in the first place. Maybe some of the following reasons:
...be physically active and healthy.
...learn discipline and accountability.
...learn how to be a part of a team.
...have fun and make friends.
We invest a ton of time, money and energy in minor hockey, so what is the long term objective?
If the long term objective is the NHL or a scholarship, this may be a misguided approach. Sure, it could happen, but the reality is, depending on the study, about 0.02% make a career in the NHL Similar situation for US scholarships as they are now more likely to support their own young US citizens and often not enough scholarships to go around.
Just maybe a good long term objective goes a little something like this:
“Hockey is something that our child might enjoy and continue to participate in as a lifetime activity or interest, for its physical, mental, and social benefits. If they continue to love the activity and participate as an adult, it will have been well worth the investment. If by chance this is their gift, then this will be their opportunity to see it realized. IF they do not enjoy it, they will move on to other things and be richer for the overall experience.”
Opportunity cost is the loss of the benefit that could have been enjoyed, and this depends on not only choices but perspective. There are many opportunities and the most value will be squeezed out of the experience when players, parents, coaches, executive and all stakeholders focus on the positive while drowning the negative. Encourage and support aspects of the experience that are in your control, and take the light away from those that are not.
If you play the blame game...so will the kids. Blaming other players, the coaches, the organization, the refs, or Covid-19 will give your child the perfect environment to focus on the negatives outside their control.
CLICK HERE for the MYTHBUSTERS of MODIFIED GAME PLAY