Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top 10 Youth Hockey Myths

When I was new to the sport of youth ice hockey, a well-intentioned hockey dad told me, “Don’t buy big when it comes to skates. Buy the best stick.”  A $200 starter stick?  Gulp!  Thank goodness that didn’t prove to be true.  An inexpensive stick won’t cheat your child out of her goals.  When you’re just starting out, bad advice can spin you in all the wrong directions.  I teamed up with veteran Camillus, N.Y. hockey mom Caroline Stanistreet to help set the record straight with our list of Top 10 Youth Hockey Myths. - 

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Despicable Me vs Respectable Me Hockey Parent

Don't Be That Hockey Parent

as seen in USA Hockey Magazine September 2014


It might sound crazy what I’m about to say …

We’ve all met them before (and if you haven’t met them, then we’re talking about you) – The Despicable Me Hockey Parent. They’re the ones hurling insults during a heated game, chastising the ref’s, or playing Scotty-Bowman-from-the-stands.

Before you fall into this trap, why not consider the following, and make a run for The Respectable Me Parent?

     Learn the value of restraint. It’s something Jr. Coyotes of Az. goalie mom Sharon Enck, AKA Puck Gal, has. “Everyone will forgive you if you forget the team snack, but may not be as quick to turn the other cheek if you spew obscenities at a game.” Enck says it’s best to avoid being the parent everyone hates, for your sake and your child’s.
     As for the game’s sake, parent behavior needs to change says Buffalo, NY HARBORCENTER Vice president and Academy of Hockey Director Kevyn Adams. “It seems that in sports today, the concept of good sportsmanship is lost and parents should remember to behave in an honorable way that we would want our kids to emulate in the future.”
    Back stabbing the coach is a major parent offense. “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,” says Adams. “Should your comments leak into the locker room, how awkward that would be?” asks Enck.  
     Think refs are fair game for insults? USA hockey development program official Chris Costa asks that you think about the impact name calling in the stands can have on calls made on the ice, “For young, inexperienced officials, it could affect the next call, distract them for potential goals or violent plays. The aggression can also develop officials that are fearful to make the right call,” says Costa.  

Active but not Over Reactive
  After years of playing, coaching and going to rinks with his own son, Adams has yet to come across a kid who likes losing. But a loss can be a win, with the right spin. “Leave it on the ice,” says Adams. “Encourage them to control the factors that they have control over, such as giving 100% effort on the ice.” If you lighten up, Adams says your kids will enjoy the game more and worry less about the outcome – something out of their control. 
     There’s no post game analysis for Enck, “I let my daughter talk, uninterrupted for five minutes after a game. Once the five minutes are up, we’re done.”

     Keep the passion positive and let other mamas have the drama. “Talking smack about other kids and parents is bad form. And it’s a small world, so remember that if your kid stays in the sport long enough you will see them again,” says Enck.

     Perhaps there’s nothing more discouraging to a child than post game antics by parents.  “In those cases where you do become upset, remove yourself from the environment so your child doesn’t see your negativity,” says Adams.

Youth Sports
     Sports can bring out the best in us. It can also bring out the worst. Leave “despicable me” at home. Be that Honorable, Active, Passionate, Patient with our Youth parent – you’ll soon learn you don’t to be wearing Pharrell’s oversized hat to be Happy.  

Syracuse hockey mom Christie Casciano Burns is the author of The Puck Hog and Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid.