Tryouts, Cuts, Placements, Coaches, Parents, Kids, Skepticism and a Healthy Dose of Paranoia

Nigel Shackles Seafair Minor Hockey Tryouts Ice Hockey Coach Tips and Drills


Shackles has been described as the “heart and soul” of the Richmond hockey. A long time minor hockey executive and visionary who is passionate about promoting the core values of sport. He continually challenges himself and others around him to make the game better. To Shackles, winning and losing isn’t nearly isn’t nearly as important as ensuring players are afforded an environment that first and foremost emphasizes the love of the game.

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One the best part of our jobs is that we get to meet a ton of great people in the hockey community. From minor hockey to the NHL, our game enlists so many committed individuals who go out of their way to provide a first class experience for players, mostly kids or kids at heart. And in most cases, these individuals don’t get paid. Their reward for donating countless hours of their time to their local minor hockey organization is to see their community rink become a welcoming meeting place for families and social classroom for the players.

Nigel Shackles is the President of the Seafair Minor Hockey Association and currently in his 20th season of service. According to him it will be his last. If so, he will be missed by many. He’s had an enormous impact on a lot of young people’s lives.

Outside of his position as President he has had other roles within the association; coach, dad, fundraiser, mediator, you name it. Heck it wouldn’t surprise us if he drove the zamboni from time to time. Throughout the season Nigel submits a President’s Message to Seafair’s website. Generally it’s reminder to all involved in minor hockey to have fun and enjoy the journey. His latest message was brought to our attention and after reading it we felt it was worth sharing.


..and captures perfectly what so many of us try to preach but can’t always articulate. It’s a long read but worth it. If you feel inclined, by all means pass it along. If it can help shift the culture in your organization than all the better.

Finally thank you Nigel and all the other volunteers who invest their time, energy and passion into ensuring kids have a fun and supportive environment to grow up in at the rink.

Dear Parents

(and before anyone goes down the wrong path, this message is NOT in response to any particular email about any particular situation I have received this year. It’s merely a collection of thoughts based on twenty years of calling the Ice Centre my second home……..and I’ve got the mortgage payments (sticks, helmets, equipment, sock tape, tournaments, team fees, bribes, etc…) to prove it really has been a second home)

By now your kid has been cut……or not. Congratulations. And I mean that both ways and in both circumstances. You can consider this email my way of putting my arm around you and telling you it will be okay. That no matter what the outcome of these tryouts your kids will have grown from the experience. An experience that is good, bad or indifferent. Fair or unfair. Complex or simple. As a once great Canuck was heard to mutter…”it is what it is”

But what exactly is ‘it’.



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