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A Storied Year

Christmas. Wow. Already?

What a year so far. Every year seems to go by more quickly than the one before. For us in hockey, so much of the year is defined by the various seasons (preseason, tryouts, winter, spring, tournament/traveling, summer, offseason).

For our team at HockeyNow, 2014 was Year 2 of our new focus on creating engaging, compelling, authoritative and informative cover stories. That means pieces that are timely and concern what people actively involved in the game want to talk about.

The year started off with Spring Sensation, an in depth look at the spring hockey phenomenon that has swept many pockets of the country. We shared some good, some bad, and some in between opinions and theories on what spring hockey is, what it should be and where it is going. Clearly it is a big hot button issue that is still very much in play and only time will tell whether it is positive, necessary, or just all too much.

We then published Head Games, where we talked to people in the know on the topic of concussions. This is a never ending debate, but as most will agree, the more we can all be informed, the safer our game will be.

February brought us The Toughest Job in Sports, a look into the role of the referee, specifically as it relates to minor hockey. I admit that I am often one of the first to criticize refs, whether at my rec hockey games or watching a game. But of course if we did not have refs we would not have a game. Full stop.

March led us to The Rise of the Academies, a look into the proliferation of the private hockey academies sprouting up all over the country. Certainly there is plenty of money going into these academies, but there are also plenty of great players coming out of them, and tons of kids benefiting from a great education all while using daytime ice.

In March we also looked into The Road to the NHL. The two main paths, NCAA and CHL, are head-to-head. That debate will go on for a very long time.

April’s Beyond the Rings discussed the opportunities and sometimes lack thereof for females playing our game. After the Olympic aspirations and with the college option only open to a select few, we looked at what’s out there and new opportunities being created for female players. A great piece and a good read.
May, as it has always been and will forever be at HockeyNow HQ, was all Memorial Cup.

June was all in on the NHL Draft. Thanks to our 16-year history, we are able to talk about players being drafted that we have covered since they were five years old. It’s so cool to see the whole story.

July is our signature Player of the Year cover. This year, after 15 years in B.C. only, we added Alberta and Ontario. Our winners this year will no doubt have great careers, become great leaders and maybe, just maybe, become hockey stars. Winners Justin Almeida from Kitimat, Jaret Anderson-Dolan from Calgary and Brandon Saigeon from Grimsby are all players on the rise and phenomenal men.

August’s Development and Direction was all about where our game is going and more importantly where it is being developed. It’s a very cool time in the hockey world.

In September, we took the opportunity to shine a light on a key piece of our hockey system that rarely gets the attention it deserves: volunteers. Where would our minor hockey associations, tournaments, hockey schools, charity fundraisers and so on be without a slew of volunteers from coast to coast? We’d be lost without them.

For October’s cover story, we looked deep into the bodychecking rule change, one year later. The jury is definitely still out, and just as definitely, the debate still rages over the right approach.

In November, we released part two of our look into new development techniques and this time we focused on small area/resistance training. I, for one, am continually amazed at the skill level of some of the players coming into Junior hockey these days. A lot goes into the repetitive training at a young age.

And now December. Wow. Christmas

What a year. I hoped you enjoyed it. It’s not over.

Have a good look at our HockeyNow: Crave Christmas Edition. You’re sure to find ideas for awesome gifts to put under the tree this year.

Stay in touch with us through our newsletter, at hockeynow.ca and on Facebook and Twitter this month and next. We will be profiling loads of products and giving away dozens of great prizes.

Tags: minor hockey

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