The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is proud to announce the grand prize winner and finalists of the sixth annual Essay Contest presented by Respect in Sport. This year's theme was ‘I Love Hockey Because...'. The contest was designed to engage players in an educational manner while encouraging them to express their thoughts on what life skills they learn from playing hockey.
Over 150 essays were submitted and the Ontario Minor Hockey Association in partnership with Respect in Sport want to thank everyone for their participation. Based on the quality, creativity and passion demonstrated in their submission, five finalists were selected with one of them emerging as our grand prize winner.
Briar Deckers of the Guelph Minor Hockey Association is this year’s winner who wrote about how hockey can be played by anyone and brings you into a second family. For being named winner, Briar will receive a $1000 worth of CCM Hockey Gear.
“The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is proud of all of the Essay Contest participants for their examples of positive life skills and the impact they are making on and off the ice in their hockey communities," said OMHA Executive Director Ian Taylor. "All of the essays submitted showed that the future of hockey is in a great place and that what we are teaching our players is more than just hockey skills."
“Respect in Sport is about providing a positive environment for all, so that hockey players can enjoy the game, and learn from the positive adult role models around them, like parents, coaches, and officials,” said Respect Group's Ontario Director Mark Allen. “Respect Group is very proud to support the OMHA Essay Contest and wants to thank every player who submitted an essay and also congratulate the five Finalists."
Braydon Bruce (Richmond Hill), Myles Fuchs (Brampton), Nyal Pathak (Oakville) and William MacMillan (Ayr) were selected as the four finalists. For their tremendous writing abilities they will receive an OMHA prize pack.
Briar Deckers (Guelph)
I love hockey because it is the most fun game on earth. I love playing hockey, watching hockey and dreaming about hockey. It brings my whole family together. Not only just my parents and my sisters but my extended family as well. My grandparents, aunts and uncles and all of my cousins come and watch me play and play with me. I love that I can play hockey any time of year. Hockey can be played on a cold winter day on a frozen pond or in 30 degree heat on a driveway in July.
I love that hockey lives within the heart and soul of Canada. It’s part of our history and identity. Every time I hold a hockey stick I feel like I’m a part of something so much bigger than just a game. I love hockey because it has become so inclusive. It doesn’t mater if you are a girl or boy, born in Canada or half way across the world, you can play hockey. It’s a sport where your teammates become not only your best friends but your brothers and sisters.
I love hockey because it teaches me things that will help me in life beyond the rink. Things like fair play, sportsmanship, respect and discipline. I love hockey because it makes me feel like I can do anything I put my mind too. This sport has also provided me with so many amazing role models. Especially many very talented women that are paving the way for girls like me. Without hockey my life would not be the same. I hope that in the future I can give back to this game I love for all of the amazing things it has given me. I love hockey more than any other sport because of the community that goes with it. It brings together everyone that loves the game from every corner of the world. What’s not to love about that?
Braydon Bruce (Richmond Hill)
I love hockey because it plays a huge role in my life and teaches me many life lessons. Hockey has allowed me to quickly find common ground amongst strangers and has given me the opportunity to meet many new friends on different teams. I have travelled throughout Canada, the United States and Europe representing my home town as well as my country.
Hockey has taught me grit, determination and perseverance. The strong bond between teammates built during the hockey season is strengthened with every practice and game, with every win and loss, with every sweat and tear. Playing hockey is a game where you are accountable to not only yourself but also your teammates and your coaches. Adapting to different playing styles and different coaching styles is a life lesson that applies to many situations outside of hockey.
Hockey allows me to be in excellent physical condition. It is great to be able to have so much fun while playing a sport that keeps me healthy. I have been very fortunate to have had excellent coaches throughout hockey. These coaches are great role models and mentors. The incredible feeling of fresh cold air on my face when I step onto any ice surface will always remind me of the amazing childhood that I experience because of hockey.
Myles Fuchs (Brampton)
Ever since I watched Auston Matthews and sitting with my Dad watching the Toronto Maple Leafs, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try to play the game I enjoyed watching.
Hockey means fun to me. I come to the arena excited to see my friends and teammates. I enjoy the pizza after the games when we can and enjoy shooting around before or after the game and making great friends. I have a great coach and hockey has helped me come out of my shell. I was quiet and shy before and hockey has brought excitement and happiness with just being part of something.
I look forward to Saturday games, Sunday practices and fun events the coach plans and my coach is awesome. He teaches us new drills and skills and makes us feel great, even if we are having trouble at times with certain drills. Our team is great and I am enjoying my first year playing and working on my skills and what I can bring to the team. My Dad is now one of the assistant coaches and that is great because it is something we can share together. Our chats in the car or just talking hockey is fun and brings us closer together.
I love hockey for the simple way that is brings me joy while having fun with my Dad, friends and coaches. It was a big step for me to try hockey and I am very happy I did.
Nyal Pathak (Oakville)
I love hockey because it’s diverse, develops and build skills for the future, as well as improves your physical and mental health.
Hockey is diverse and inclusive of males, females, race, age, ethnicity, sexuality and religion. Players are diverse in their shapes, size, and skin colour. I am South Asian and my ancestors come from India but I was selected for my skill level and have always felt included on the team. Hockey is inclusive and the criteria to play is simple: love and passion for the game. I love hockey because it welcomes all backgrounds.
Hockey builds and develops life skills. It prepares us for the future while in school or when we begin working. Hockey is about teamwork and discipline. Just like hockey games and practices, students and employees are expected to have regular attendance, come prepared, put in your best effort, work as a team, and have goals.
Finally, I love hockey because it improves physical and mental health. Hockey keeps us fit. It makes players think about their nutrition and sleep which directly impacts our physical and emotional well being. Individual player and as a team performance levels can make you feel very positive and happy. Hockey improves your physical and mental health because it consistently releases energy in a positive way which supports our well-being.
I love hockey because it’s an amazing sport played around the world and is diverse, develops our skills for the future and improves our overall health.
William MacMillan (Ayr)
I love hockey because it's very fun. I like playing with my friends and making new friends and hockey develops great friendships. I've been playing hockey since I was 4 and every year I get new teammates. I miss my old teammates but my new teammates support me and help me when I need it and I’m there for them.
I admire my coaches. They keep practices fun, make me better and keep me active. I want to be a hockey coach when I grow up and have fun making kids better hockey players.
When I'm nervous hockey makes me confident. When I’m mad hockey keeps me happy. I love hockey games and whether you win or lose hockey is just for fun. That is why I love hockey!
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