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From the Press Box: Good clean fun


It’s a new year. It’s halfway through this hockey season. There is a ton of hockey coming over the next several months. Most of us gear up in September, get rolling by November and hit the first peak at the World Juniors and Christmas tournaments. Then January hits and there is a bit of a pause, but before we know it, it will be time for spring tryouts, winter 2015 AAA tryouts, provincial championships and spring tournaments. Not to mention the spring hockey travel plans for hundreds of teams.

Here at HockeyNow, this got us thinking about what’s ahead for us and others in the hockey community this year. When we launched our rebrand in August 2013, one of the first things we did was create a values list and really focus in on why we do what we do. A real “what gets us out of bed each day” type of thing.

One of the key pieces we figured out in that session is that HockeyNow is “the brand built to engage the active hockey community in Canada.” This really was a way of distilling down what we already knew and were doing, but helped define exactly who we are. With that in place—and in reality that is a really exciting place to be, but also a big responsibility—we knew what our purpose was (and is): “Everything we do, we believe in promoting and finding ways to grow the game of hockey.”

Our focus always revolves around telling the good stories happening in the world of hockey. We really are all about the things that hockey can bring us; and how it helps make us better people, better family members, better leaders, better teammates, and just all around better citizens.

When it comes to controversial topics like concussions, body checking rule changes, so-called crazy hockey parents and so-called nutty hockey coaches, we weigh in, but try to tell both sides and focus on isolated events rather than wide-sweeping trends.

That brings me to last week. I received a call from a reporter from one of the main daily newspapers in B.C. He wanted to talk to me about the impending court hearing of the parent of a backup goalie who had uttered threats to a 10-year-old . I must admit I am always a little leery of weighing in on a incident that I didn’t witness and have no inside knowledge of.

However, I took the opportunity to impress a few things upon the reporter. I believe that as Canadians, we tend to beat ourselves up about our national sport on all fronts. I also find it interesting that the TV networks and mainstream media never tell any good stories about the game at the minor level, but the minute a salacious story presents itself, they are all over it. I get it, their mandate is not to cover minor hockey, but once in a while it wouldn’t hurt to tell a good story.

I also believe that although it’s good that the percentage of these stories is low compared to all the good things happening in the game, they should never happen in the first place. This should serve notice to all of us that we shouldn’t get emotionally invested in our kid’s sports—especially to the point that we would swear and utter threats to a child.

Think about that for a minute. This was a case of a 57-year-old threatening a 10-year-old. Think about that the next time you are driving your kids to the rink. Breathe, calm down—the kids will enjoy their game or practice time all the more.

This brings us to our cover story. What happens when your team isn’t winning? Is it still fun? How do we keep it fun? At the end of the day, hockey at all levels can teach us so much about being a good person, teammate and neighbour.

All of us in the hockey community are responsible for making sure kids know that. The next time your kid doesn’t get many minutes on the ice or doesn’t make the Atom 1 team, remember that even Gretzky got cut and go out and play hard and have fun.

Tags: minor hockey

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