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A Former NHLer’s Take on Youth Hockey

02/22/2016, 11:30pm EST
By Kevin J. Johnston

You Need To Know This

Former NHL star Ray Ferraro was asked to talk to parents of a club that was going through a tough time, with parent expectations at an all-time high.
This is what Ferraro told the parents.
Minor hockey is out of control in terms of Parents chasing the dream for their kids instead of kids deciding on their own how passionate they are for it and how bad they want it.
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In the last 10 years only 21 kids who either played at NSWC or BWC have appeared in at least ONE NHL regular season game. Point is, if you are banking on your son collecting an NHL paycheque to solidify his and yours financial future you seriously need to stop and come up with a new plan and now.
The odds of going pro are extremely low but the odds of having to find a career and a job to pay bills and be a husband and father are extremely high and it’s not dictated by if you played AAA hockey.
Parents need to enjoy the ride while you have it, your son’s minor hockey days end too quickly and often times people end up regretting what they did not know then and what they ending up missing because they were focused on everything but their kid having fun.
As a parent who devotes time and money to your son, the only right you have to ask is they give it their best, not how much ice time they get, if they play on the PP, who is their winger or D partner.
Don’t pay for power skating, dryland training, skill development and expect your son to score 50 goals, if you decide to invest in extras do it because your son asked for it and wants to improve and has a smile on his face each and every time. Too many parents decide what they want their kids to do instead of their kids asking to do it.
12 month hockey is wrong, organized skills sessions, tryouts, spring hockey is too much and too taxing … kids can shoot pucks, stick handle, play street hockey but they need out of the mental insanity of a hockey rink and need to be engaged in something other than hockey, the time away reinforces the passion to want it
Coaches are coaches we all know the game and think this should be done a certain way, how come we never tell our kids math teacher how to teach calculus but we think as parents we have the right to tell a hockey coach how much ice time and with whom and when our kids should play.
When you evaluate your kids season, never base it on how many banners they won, what provincial they won, what tourneys they went to and won, ask yourself what improved from September to April, what did he learn or improve upon including non-hockey stuff, evaluate the season besides wins and losses but gains and improvements.
I have a son who is going through the rigors of pro hockey in the AHL. Hockey is a tough racket. Growing up, my dad never talked to me after a game or practice, I did that with my kids. Just let them play, learn and develop. Pressure is high enough, no need to make it worse.

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