Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Keeping Parents In Check


   We all want our our kids to come out of  their youth hockey experiences as winners and there's no question parents play a vital position. But you have to question some of the behavior that goes on during the youth hockey season.  From cussing in the stands to back stabbing coaches, what kind of harm comes from parents going overboard with criticism? Plenty says the Vice President of HARBORCENTER in Buffalo and director of the Academy of Hockey. Kevyn Adams is well-respected, with a LOT of hockey background. He was an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres following a 10- year playing career in the NHL. He's played for six clubs including the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets.

HARBORCENTER Vice President Kevyn Adams

After years of playing, coaching and going to rinks with his own son, Adams has seen a  lot  of  inappropriate behavior from parents on the sidelines after games. The VP was kind enough to take time out of his hectic schedule to share his personal philosophy about hockey and parenting. 

        I think the harm created by parents' criticism can lead to a child's lack of interest in the game, confidence issues on and off the ice, and impaired relationships with the child. It is also very important to never criticize coaches or referees in front of your kids. Respecting authoritative figures is a crucial value your child must learn to be successful in the real world. By undermining your child's coach, you're taking away the coach's credibility and giving your child a reason not to listen to them. This not only can hurt your own child;s development, but it can influence how other teammates view and act towards the coach, resulting in a negative experience for all.

Let Coaches Coach

From my experience as a coach, my advice to parents is to leave the coaching to the coaches. While you may think you are helping your child by correcting them, you actually put yourself at a risk of sending mixed signals to them because what they are hearing from you is completely different than what their coach is telling them in the locker room. The best thing you can do as a parent is provide the emotional support your child needs because their chances of being successful are much greater in a positive environment.

Teachable Moments
       I have yet to come across a kid who likes losing. This is where a parent plays a crucial role, because it is their job to teach their kids how to deal with a loss or a bad performance and be able to move on and turn their focus to the next game. This is an invaluable lesson because this attitude will carry over and affect how their kids deal with other disappointments that they face in life. Winning comes and goes, but the values they learn through playing sports remain for the rest of their lives.
Congratulate your kid after a win and don’t beat them up emotionally after a loss. Kids face enough pressure coming from their teammates, coaches, and classmates, along with all of the pressures associated with school and their social lives. The best advice that you can teach your kids is to “leave it on the ice.” Encourage your kid to control the factors that they have control over, such as giving 100% effort on the ice. This will naturally take pressure off of your child and allow them to enjoy the game more and not worry as much on the outcome – something out of their control. 

Fun at All Costs 
    The number one thing that a parent has to try to keep in perspective is that youth sports are meant to be fun. There is nothing more discouraging and physiologically damaging to a child than receiving the cold-shoulder treatment or being yelled at by a parent after a game. If your child performed poorly, your child should never get the feeling that you love them less or that you aren’t proud of them. As a parent, your job is to empower your child and encourage them to chase their dreams. Be the best that they can possibly be on and off the ice, while gaining experiences and learning life lessons in the process. In those cases where you do become upset, remove yourself from the environment so your child doesn’t see your negativity. This allows for yourself and your child to cool down and regain one’s composure after a game. On the way home, ask your child if they had fun and remind them that you love them and are proud of them – win or lose.
     It seems that in sports today, the concept of good sportsmanship is lost and we, as parents, should remember to behave in an honorable way that we would want our kids to emulate in the future.

Cool Facts about HABORCENTER in Buffalo, New York 


  • HARBORCENTER’s two NHL-size rinks combine with First Niagara Center – home of the Buffalo Sabres – to make the only three-rink complex in the NHL. Rink 1 has a seating capacity of 1,800+ and is home to the Buffalo Junior Sabres, Canisius College, and Erie Community College.
Academy of Hockey
  • The Academy of Hockey is dedicated to being the premier development destination for hockey players and coaches. The Academy provides on-ice, off-ice, and classroom programming to hockey players and coaches.
(716) Food & Sport
  • The Ultimate Fan Experience – (716) embraces the passion of sport enthusiasts by providing a premier entertainment destination for all major sporting events. Western New York culinary favorites are delivered through locally produced ingredients, in addition to signature cocktails and craft beers.
IMPACT Sports Performance
  • HARBORCENTER’s state-of-the-art training facility is operated by IMPACT Sports Performance. IMPACT combines an unmatched facility, expert coaching staff, state of the art equipment, and movement-specific programming for total athletic achievement and individual success.
Marriott Hotel
  • Scheduled to open in Spring ‘15, the Marriott at HARBORCENTER will offer 205 rooms and suites, 5,000 square feet of meeting space for groups up to 450 persons, a fitness center, a business center and other amenities.
Parking Facilities
  • HARBORCENTER includes a 750-space parking structure that is designed to meet parking demands for not only the hotel, rinks and restaurant but also to provide additional convenience for First Niagara Center and Canalside visitors.
Retail Space
  • Retail space at HARBORCENTER is designed to provide visitors with additional shopping convenience. A one-of-a-kind Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop is accessible from the street level at the intersection of Main Street & Scott Street, across from the site of the former Memorial Auditorium. The restaurant pays tribute to the life and career of Tim Horton, as well as the history of downtown Buffalo.

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