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Teambuilding 'Player of the Game' Award Gone Wrong

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It's been a while since I posted. I’d like to get some advice from you folks.

Some background:

The ice hockey team I was put on by the beer league I joined is a group of decent enough guys. As with every team in this league, there is a wide range of skills, from people just learning the game to guys with some talent. I’ve been with the team for a season and a half now. Like many teams, they have an award (a goofy hard hat) that gets passed around to the ‘player of the game’ in the locker room after each game. The recipient is picked by the previous winner. I’ve seen a lot of teams do this to build team spirit and camaraderie; even my kid’s team does it (although it’s the coach who hands it out).

The issue:

Talking to a long time team member, the award was initially used to recognize a key play, or to acknowledge when someone had a really good game, or when someone really stepped up and played their socks off. What it’s turned into is the four or five highest rated players just passing it back and forth to whomever scored the most goals during the game. Here’s an example of what has been going on: Two games ago, the lowest rated player on the team (he had three assists the year before in 36 games) potted a goal and picked up an assist in the game. He was over the moon. After the game, the hat got handed to one of the skilled players who scored two goals (he does this pretty often), ignoring what was a banner night for the lower rated player.

In the last few months, it’s come up in conversation with a few of the other players on the team that they like playing for the team, but that “the hat thing” is becoming a bit of a piss off. The four or five guys who keep passing it around to each other are oblivious to how they’ve created a select group within the team.

Do I address this, or just shut up and leave it be? If I do speak up, how do I address this – bring it up in the locker room with the team, talk to the captain on the side, or what?

Thanks for your time.

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We’ve never had problems like that with ours. They rarely go specifically to goal scorers unless it’s a hat trick, big game tying goal, a players first goal, or for a situation like we had a few weeks ago where a guy took the puck off the opening face off, skates across the blue line, and ripped a slapper off the post and in. I gave it to him because I felt like he set the tone.

That said, if it became an issue like yours, I would try three things. First, just say something. Tell the guy who has it that he should give it to whoever because of x play and that it’s not just about goals.

Next, the captain is the one to give it out every game. Sucks for the captain because he’ll never get it but it breaks the cycle. Maybe the guys get the hint.

The final thing I’d do is just get rid of it altogether. It sucks to have to do that but clearly the guys are missing the point anyway. 

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On 10/28/2017 at 1:02 PM, IPv6Freely said:

We’ve never had problems like that with ours. They rarely go specifically to goal scorers unless it’s a hat trick, big game tying goal, a players first goal, or for a situation like we had a few weeks ago where a guy took the puck off the opening face off, skates across the blue line, and ripped a slapper off the post and in. I gave it to him because I felt like he set the tone.

That said, if it became an issue like yours, I would try three things. First, just say something. Tell the guy who has it that he should give it to whoever because of x play and that it’s not just about goals.

Next, the captain is the one to give it out every game. Sucks for the captain because he’ll never get it but it breaks the cycle. Maybe the guys get the hint.

The final thing I’d do is just get rid of it altogether. It sucks to have to do that but clearly the guys are missing the point anyway. 

The BEST suggestion. 

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2 minutes ago, 215BroadStBullies610 said:

The BEST suggestion. 

For THIS situation, yeah probably. Though normally I'd 100% encourage the idea. But then again, our player of the game award is F-ING AWESOME.
 

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I wear the C for one of the teams I play for.  We have a player award that I hand out after each game.  One game we were on fire, two guys with hat-tricks and another guy with 2 goals.  The award went to the 2 goal scorer because that is not a typical game for him.  I am not taking anything away from the guys with the hat-tricks but they are consistent goal scorers, so before we left the ice I confirmed that they were on the same page with me.  They agreed as well as my goalie and a few other players who could grab my attention.  

As a Captain I feel that I should make the POTG announcement.  Like mentioned previously as Captain I will never award myself the award.  I also don't want to put my players in an uncomfortable position to determine who should receive the award.  I try to watch play as best I can during the game because for me it is not always about what is on the score sheet.  A D-Man may not get on the score sheet but is down there blocking shots and moving the puck up ice, that is considered.  I also like to get my goalies opinion, he sees it all.  So far this has worked out well.  POTG gets to keep the award between games then it is returned to me in the locker room prior to the next game. 

I would suggest talking to your Captain on the side.  Ask him to take over the award process and spread the love as it was originally intended.  This will not put you or the Captain on the spot in the locker room with the whole team present.  A good captain will keep it confidential and change the process not making it uncomfortable for anyone else.

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We do a hat too.  I am captain but leave it to the previous winner to decide.  Our guys are all really good about choices though and we have built a great locker room. Sometimes I will pull the previous winner aside to give him my thoughts.   I would speak to the captain on the side and share your concerns.

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I normally stand up after a game and say "I'd really like to nominate X for player of the game, I thought he/she did an awesome X". Most people will generally agree - then if that band of top players just keep passing between themselves, they'll look more like dicks the longer they go on. That or, to play devils advocate, it may just be assumed now that whomever scores the most/best goals gets it. All too often I find most guys just keep their heads down and don't want to stand up and speak. Maybe even jokingly say after they've passed it between themselves, you know the hat is for player of the game, not goal scorer of the game hey guys?

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55 minutes ago, chippa13 said:

This is beer league, not squirts, who needs a "player of the game" award? Do you also put scoresheets on the fridge when you score?

You must be really fun at parties.

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Howdy,

4 hours ago, chippa13 said:

This is beer league, not squirts, who needs a "player of the game" award? Do you also put scoresheets on the fridge when you score?

That would be the reaction I'd expect for the teams I play on now too.  But different groups will have a different dynamic.

I'm pretty sure if we had an after game award, it would be given to the person that did the stupidest thing.  :-)

Mark

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18 hours ago, chippa13 said:

This is beer league, not squirts, who needs a "player of the game" award? Do you also put scoresheets on the fridge when you score?

100% agree, we aren't playing for the damn Stanley Cup and scouts aren't in the stands.  We play to have fun and drink beer after the game, sometimes before.

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2 hours ago, Haggerty said:

100% agree, we aren't playing for the damn Stanley Cup and scouts aren't in the stands.  We play to have fun and drink beer after the game, sometimes before.

Exactly why we have it. It’s fun. 

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5 hours ago, Haggerty said:

100% agree, we aren't playing for the damn Stanley Cup and scouts aren't in the stands.  We play to have fun and drink beer after the game, sometimes before.

I agree with you and Chippa, but I think the mentality is different for people who played competitive/club hockey at a young age. This is something that probably happens across sports too. I just started playing golf and I saved the ball that I got my first birdie with.. I was then rightfully chirped by my hockey buddies about it, especially since it was just a par 3 :4_joy:

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27 minutes ago, IW Team - Chase said:

I agree with you and Chippa, but I think the mentality is different for people who played competitive/club hockey at a young age. This is something that probably happens across sports too. I just started playing golf and I saved the ball that I got my first birdie with.. I was then rightfully chirped by my hockey buddies about it, especially since it was just a par 3 :4_joy:

Definitely. I still have the pucks from my first goal as a player and first shutout as a goalie. 

But as far as the team award, it's just meant to be fun and a way to recognize a great effort. If it stopped being fun (like OP is describing) we'd probably get rid of it immediately. 

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3 hours ago, IPv6Freely said:

Definitely. I still have the pucks from my first goal as a player and first shutout as a goalie. 

But as far as the team award, it's just meant to be fun and a way to recognize a great effort. If it stopped being fun (like OP is describing) we'd probably get rid of it immediately. 

 

The only puck I've saved is the one I broke in half. 

That said, if our team had a friggin' WWF Champion belt, I'd be pumped to hand it out too. At one point we had a Trump-esc red PotG hat but everyone kinda just lost interest in it and/or just lost it. 

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