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BenBreeg

Being a Hockey Parent

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On 7/24/2018 at 10:32 AM, chippa13 said:

Davideo wrote:

"Now kids are pushing to try to get on a junior C team, or having press releases for committing to a DIII school that is essentially a community college."

So that rinky-dink university I attended that had DIII hockey at the time, Fairfield University, was essentially a community college? Thanks for the heads up.

I could certainly understand your being offended, if I said anything like that. But of course, I did not. You will note, that I said "a D III school", not "all D III schools". Apparently an anecdote about a particular D III school being not very good academically should mean that every D III school is not very good? That's quite the leap. I will also state that going to a lower tier college could be quite an accomplishment for many and worthy of celebration. However, this individual stated they were considering ACHA schools that bluntly put, were much better schools. But clearly hockey was the number one priority and the quality of the school did not really seem to be a consideration, even though his chances of a professional hockey career were effectively zero.

I intentionally did not name the school before or now because I don't want to offend anyone, but I just checked and in US News & World Report it is ranked just about at the bottom of the roughly 200 "Regional Universities - North" schools and has an acceptance rate of 99%. So no, it is not Fairfield 🙂

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8 hours ago, marka said:

Howdy,

Replying only to a sliver of that (good) post...

Around here it seems like house / rec teams for kids are becoming more popular.  I see two drivers, either the financial/parent commitment level or the kid's commitment level.


Its a WHOLE lot more affordable for a parent to sign up for a session of "kids play for an hour at the local rink on Saturday morning), both financially and time commitment-wise.  And that also seems to map reasonably well to kids who like playing hockey, but don't want to devote every waking minute of their lives to it.

I think that's a really good development for the sport in general.  A lower commitment rec team like that is good just on its own, but it also can be a gateway for a kid to discover he loves the sport and wants to commit more, can provide the kid that's crazy about hockey another chance to play during the week, etc.

Root Beer League is a good name for it.  🙂

Mark

I cannot necessarily take credit for "Root Beer League".  I could've sworn it came from someone on here. 

There's a "No-Check Hockey League" in my area that (functionally) helps fill the recreational void for the tweens/teens - aside from a 1 practice/1 game per week league, they have regular weekly pick-up games for kids and it seems to be very well attended.  The company that operates the state-owned rinks also offers learn-to-play for 12+, as does one of the town leagues up in the Merrimack Valley.  Those are, as far as I know, the only available opportunities in an hour radius of Boston.

I think CigarScott is right that soccer may be better in that regard than hockey, baseball, or American football, although there was a really great article recently in The Atlantic about how US Soccer expends a lot of time and effort into the travel system and funneling kids into their Development Academies.  It also brings up (once again) the point that early specialization is physically hard on, if not outright damaging to, growing and developing bodies.   

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I read that article in the Atlantic last week and it was interesting. I always knew that there were access issues to hockey in the US due to the scarcity of ice rinks versus fields and basketball courts, especially outside traditional hockey areas. I never really thought about kids having to drive hours to play soccer as every town in America has a field of some sort that can accommodate soccer. Then again, it goes back to the adult issue of the scarcity of knowledgeable adults that can coach soccer (and referee) in this country outside major cities or regions were soccer is more prominent and ingrained in the culture.

 

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Thank God for getting an Olympic bid in 2002.  Because of that I have I have 9 rinks(11 sheets of ice) within an hours drive.  Not too bad with a population under 1.75M(that’s generous I think).  Ice time isn’t bad either, we do a private drop in for $185(think that’s what we pay, not more) for 1.25 hours every Sunday from April to September, when the ice dries up due to youth league play.

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Before that we had 2...  I guess I didn’t count the Maverick Center, that we skate on as well...so 10/12.  Really 10/13, when the Olympic Oval opens up the other side for hockey.

 

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15 hours ago, badger_14 said:

I cannot necessarily take credit for "Root Beer League".  I could've sworn it came from someone on here. 

There's a "No-Check Hockey League" in my area that (functionally) helps fill the recreational void for the tweens/teens - aside from a 1 practice/1 game per week league, they have regular weekly pick-up games for kids and it seems to be very well attended.  The company that operates the state-owned rinks also offers learn-to-play for 12+, as does one of the town leagues up in the Merrimack Valley.  Those are, as far as I know, the only available opportunities in an hour radius of Boston.

I think CigarScott is right that soccer may be better in that regard than hockey, baseball, or American football, although there was a really great article recently in The Atlantic about how US Soccer expends a lot of time and effort into the travel system and funneling kids into their Development Academies.  It also brings up (once again) the point that early specialization is physically hard on, if not outright damaging to, growing and developing bodies.   

Most towns have their hockey associations that are available for ages up to U18 and will play in the same few rinks for the league that they participate in playing against other towns.

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12 minutes ago, chippa13 said:

Most towns have their hockey associations that are available for ages up to U18 and will play in the same few rinks for the league that they participate in playing against other towns.

Oh, the towns around me do have bantam and midget (most are half or split season midget, because high school is big here), but it's in the same travel league with all the other town teams, so it's still 2-3 practices and 1-2 games per week.  The No-Check league and the LTP programs are the only really "in-house" opportunities I know of for 12+.  

I have no experience with or much knowledge of the private programs, so I can't say anything on that count.

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Rejuvenating this thread a bit as we have just finished year one of hockey.  We did learn to play and spring ADM last year, just skated and did a little camp over the summer, and regular ADM this year.  A couple things.  One, our ADM program is very nice.  The organization that runs it has coaches who are on the ice for all the practices, so when you take your team out there everything is set up and organized.  No wasted time, parents run the clock to change stations, we get the practice plan every week two days in advance, and you can tell the whole season was planned out.  For example, early in the season they were doing stationary forehand passes.  Eventually backhand passing was added, then passing and receiving when moving.  Same with skating skills.  I know that not all ADM programs are like this (my brother’s kids are in a much smaller program and he isn’t real pleased with how things are run there).

So I think I was a little rambunctious at the beginning.  I knew not to push and that more wasn’t better, but it took some effort and I didn’t always succeed.  I kind of “really encouraged” him to come to stick time or play in the driveway, but I wasn’t too bad.  My son kind of wandered around the ice at times and didn’t pay attention to the coaches a lot of the season.  He is almost 8.  Then something happened.  I don’t know what, maybe just a jump in maturity.  One, his schoolwork started to make pretty significant strides.  Second, he started “getting into” hockey.  He paid attention to the Pens on TV.  He wanted to make his stick bend like the video I showed him of Kessel (this had a big effect, he stopped “swinging” his stick at the puck and figured out how to put some pressure on his bottom hand, passes and shots were way better).  He saw that pic for Daryl Evans and wants to skate with no laces, etc.  Every little success made him want to do more.  He got his fwd crossovers, went to bday parties for kids on the team, etc.

Now he wants to play spring but I didn’t sign him up! 😊  Still a good move I think.  We will play baseball and the closest rink has some sign up small group coaching sessions with a guy who is great with little kids.  We will just do that a la carte and work on his skating.  He should be excited next year to get back into it by the time it ramps up the end of August.

So I have learned to lay back even more.  Last night HE asked me to go out and play hockey in the driveway!

And lastly, he has quit saying he wants to be a ref!

 

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So we have been skating a bit and went to a “pre-tryout” clinic, two days of one hour practices basically at the rink close to us.  The guy who runs it is so good with little kids and really focuses on skating.  My son is now constantly playing in the driveway. Baseball starts thjs week so we will be transitioning to that a bit more.

But the main point of this post was we ran into a kid fron his ADM team at this clinic.  This kid is 6 and is very good.  But whenever we go somewhere, he is there.  Sticktime, he is there.  Clinic, etc.  He plays in two different ADM orgs, goes to these special skill sessions, works private lessons with Tyler Kennedy, and I am sure other things.  At the beginning of our season he was all smiles, by the end, not so much.

But what killed me was the conversation between his dad and another parent about how many things they sign their kids up for.  One asked, “what do you do when “Bobby” doesn’t want to go to hockey?”  “Well, the one night he was crying because he was so tired and had two practices so I told him to just go to practice and kind of take it easy...”

This guy is nice but holy *$&#!  He is pushing him and I have even mentioned in general a bunch of times to him about not overdoing it.  I was just talking in generalities and not about his kid but he just smiles and doesnt get it.

50/50 chance the kid quits by the time he is 10?  If he is allowed to quit...

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Seen this a hundred times. Sometimes it is the parent living vicariously through their kid or they think their kid will make the show. At higher ages and levels I've seen coaches demand the kids who are not their super stars dedicate all their time to hockey. It really is sad. I've seen to many kids burn out or start to hate the game from parental pressure like this. Most of these parents don't even bother asking what the kids want, it what they want the kids to do. It's not just this sport, it's every sport. 

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On 4/2/2019 at 10:03 AM, chk hrd said:

Seen this a hundred times. Sometimes it is the parent living vicariously through their kid or they think their kid will make the show. At higher ages and levels I've seen coaches demand the kids who are not their super stars dedicate all their time to hockey. It really is sad. I've seen to many kids burn out or start to hate the game from parental pressure like this. Most of these parents don't even bother asking what the kids want, it what they want the kids to do. It's not just this sport, it's every sport. 

Agree, has permeated every sport, which hurts every kid and every sport.  We just attended a lacrosse practice last week, but can’t commit due to schedule conflicts with soccer, but it was fun and she can play.  Worse yet, HS hockey overlaps through HS hockey, which I fear is going to cause further issue.  Meh, she’s just going to have to make decisions and see how that works out, maybe they will work with her, maybe not?  I use to think it’d be tough being a kid today with social media(it is), but sports are tougher for kids now, as opposed to when I was a kid.

 

Side note, good week for Vegas hockey.  Playoffs start for the Knights, 16U’s get a National title, Draft Tournament in town and we’re swinging in with our girls and some Minnesota girls for a showcase.  I should have signed up my son and I up for the Draft Tourney, if I knew how this was working out, sure that would have been fun, know a bunch of guys coming in.  He’s also coming in for a bachelor party for the weekend, would have worked out nice, but both of us probably will be busy elsewhere anyway.

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Related to this topic, I wanted to let you guys know about https://changingthegameproject.com

It is a site about some of the issues we have been discussing, specialization, year-round participation, and generally how people approach youth sports.  He has written two books which I haven't read yet and also has a blog with some pretty good topics.

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