Not all skills learned in hockey are on the ice.
With higher standards and more hockey-educated coaches involved in minor hockey today than ever before, it is often easy to overlook the fact that simple life fundamentals are just as important as the X’s and O’s, the perfect practice plan, or the best game strategy.
It’s not always that the most skilled players turn out to be the most successful. If a player isn’t willing to work hard to continue to improve themselves then they could find others passing them who are willing to put in the extra time.
Gord Stellick is a former Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager and New York Rangers Assistant General Manager. He is currently the Hockey Insider and Host of Leafs Nation Pre and Post-Game on Sportsnet 590 The Fan and also a Hockey Analyst on Sportsnet. The passionate hockey dad has been working on a three part series of life skills that hockey teaches for Hometown Hockey Magazine.
The lessons he’s learned in hockey are just as much off of the ice as what happened on it. It’s the life skills he took away from the game that he’s still using today.
“Why not enhance what skills you’re taught then that are life skills that you can apply different ways and carry for the rest of your life even if you don’t play in the NHL?” said Stellick.
The respect for other players, coaches, parents and officials helps you become a better person and teammate. Little things that aren’t always noticed like work ethic and being on time all add up.
“It’s not even just things on the ice, it’s a kind of attitude, someone who inspires the team, someone who’s got a great work ethic. All these other types of things, that even if you aren’t a naturally talented hockey player, these things matter. It should be reinforced that these things matter.”
Sports is about learning to work hard to better yourself. How much a player improves will be up to them and they will see the results of how much time they decide to dedicate to growing their skills. There are many tools available for players to use.
“These things go beyond sportsmanship. I think sportsmanship really is respect. I think it’s about respect for the officials and respect for the opposing players as well. It can be a game that gets a little bit physical at times, it can be a game that gets some bad feelings and heated. At the end of the day, whether it’s sportsmanship or respect, there is that understanding of ‘hey, good game,’ and bringing it back to that level.”
It’s important to remember that hockey is more than the game. It’s about having fun with your new friends and giving back to your community all while playing the sport you love.
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