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'Lessons I Learn From Hockey' Essay Contest Winner Announced

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 05/31/16, 2:00PM EDT

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Finalists and winner revealed for the 2016 Essay Contest

The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is proud to announce the grand prize winner and finalists of the second annual Essay Contest presented by Respect in Sport. This year's theme was 'Lessons I Learn From Hockey'. The contest was designed to engage players in an educational manner while encouraging them to express their ideas and thoughts on why they truly love to play hockey. 

Over 200 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.

Lawson McCann of the Brighton Minor Hockey Association is this year’s winner who wrote about the lessons he's learned both on and off the ice. For being named winner, Lawson will receive  four tickets to a Toronto Maple Leafs home game in the 2016-17 season, hotel accommodations, tickets to the Hockey Hall of Fame and $200 spending money.

“The essay contest proved that life skills such as, fair play, teamwork and respect are clearly evident in the programming of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association,” said OMHA Executive Director Richard Ropchan. “Thank you to all our players who submitted an essay. Your words were extremely uplifting and reinforced the fact that the future of our game is in a great place.” 

“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."

Aaron Edward (Essa Minor Hockey), Adrian Reynolds (Plattsville Minor Hockey), Gavin McIver (Paris Minor Hockey) and Joshua Wong (Unionville Minor Hockey) were selected as the four finalists. For their tremendous writing abilities they will receive an OMHA prize pack.

Grand Prize Essay

The lessons I learned from hockey are….

I have learned that you can’t always win. This year my team has not won a game, however last year my junior IP team won a lot. This has been hard for me because I like to win. I have learned to respect other players. I always tell my goalie ‘good job’ even if the goal goes in. Also, if a player gets hurt, you take a knee until he gets up, then you tap your stick on the ice.

I have learned you have to listen to your coach and training staff. You also have to listen to the referees. Hockey teaches me new lessons every game and practice. I now can get dressed all by myself, except my parents still help me with my skates and the back of my socks. I have learned to pass the puck this year and not always keep it to myself. I have made new friends playing hockey and we always have fun together, even if we don’t win. I have also learned more about numbers playing hockey. I now keep score myself without looking at the scoreboard.

I love hockey so much I play it in my basement, waiting for the bus and in the driveway. I have learned a lot from hockey and this is only my second year. Every year I play, I am sure I will learn even more.

- Lawson McCann, Brighton Minor Hockey (Initiation)

Finalist Essays

The lessons I have learned from hockey are teamwork, sportsmanship, support, listening skills, focus, quick thinking, time appreciation and leadership. In the following sentences I will explain how I have acquired these life lessons.  

I love it when our team works together which shows great teamwork. This makes the game fun and exciting to play.  

I communicate with my wingers and defensemen by giving them pointers of what I pick up from the other teams goalie so we have an advantage in the game to score. This also shows leadership skills. I show sportsmanship by giving up my player of the game award to another player on my team.  I show support by tapping my injured teammate on the helmet and back when they get up from being hurt.  My listening skills are better by paying attention to my coach when he is explaining a drill or play.  This also helps my game by adapting what I have learnt in practice to my game.  

I learn responsibility by keeping track of all my equipment when I put it on and take it off.I show time appreciation by getting up early and getting ready for my game and practices.  

The game is fast paced which teaches me to make quick decisions. An example is when my team has a 2 on 1 play and I need to decide to pass or shoot the puck.  

In conclusion, hockey is an amazing sport which everyone can learn very important life skills.

- Aaron Edward, Essa Minor Hockey (Novice)


The lessons I learn from hockey are... to respect my teammates, the referees, the coaches, the fans, and myself.

After every game I learn to push myself harder, to become better, on and off the ice. I learn what it is like to have sportsmanship, dedication, drive, courage, and the will to get better and push myself harder.

I learn to be respectful when I suffer defeat, and when I win. I learn what it takes to be a leader, to encourage my teammates through the toughest of times.

I learn to leave it all on the ice, so when the final buzzer sounds, win or lose, I know that I gave it 110%.

I learn to love hockey for what it is, and not to be obsessed with winning. I learn to enjoy my teammates, not just play hockey with them.

I learn to be myself, on and off the ice. I learn what effort actually means, and what it takes to win.

I learn that my parents give tons of their time and effort to take me to hockey games and practices. I am appreciative that my parents spend a lot of money on my equipment, programs, tournaments, registration and tryouts.

I learn to have fun.

- Adrian Reynolds, Plattsville Minor Hockey (Peewee)


The lessons I learned from hockey were teamwork, respect, determination and how to have fun. Teamwork is the idea of working together in order to reach a goal. In hockey, teamwork is important to help us play well together, win or lose. In my life, teamwork is important. For example, in class the teacher and students work together to create a happy environment for learning. I also learned about respect, such as the respect of other players, referees and the coaches. In my family, respect is very important and my parents taught me to treat other people like I would like to be treated. Determination was another lesson I learned from hockey. When I think of determination, I think about the Steven Stamkos commercial where as a child, he was practicing his shooting all evening and never stopped. Determination means to always work on something over and over again and to improve. In my life, determination helps me do well in school as I work very hard to always become a better student. For my hockey skills, I am determined to be the best I can be. The most important lesson I learned from hockey is that hockey is a game and is supposed to be fun. This is why I play hockey, not just for the lessons I learned but also for fun.

- Joshua Wong, Unionville Minor Hockey (Peewee)


The lessons I learned from hockey are endless and an important part of shaping who I am, both on and off the ice. Throughout my years playing hockey, I have had the opportunity to learn from a number of different volunteer coaches with various perspectives on what makes a successful hockey player. My family, always my number one fan, has provided positive support with my decision to engage in a sport they didn't know much about. The close friendships I have made may change year to year but we continue to bond over the support of each other's team or by attending our local Junior B games. Last but not least, although I may not always agree with their calls, the referees I have met have taught me to accept differing opinions often by taking the time to add a little humour to a sometimes very serious game. Together, my coaches, the referees, my family and my friends have taught me life lessons such as the respect for all, perseverance pays off, hard work and teamwork creates a stronger we than I, that success can be reached on an individual and group basis by reaching our goals one at a time, that minor setbacks which may seem huge at the time are part of the journey, and that my love for hockey motivates me because of the sport itself and those it brings me closer to.  Each year I continue to grow in skill, life lessons learned and have a greater passion for a sport that brings so many people together in a positive way.  

- Gavin McIver, Paris Minor Hockey (Peewee)

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