The Athletic’s Sean Fitz-Gerald on solving the minor hockey complex

Rising costs, exclusivity, and a decline in enrolment have our game on the brink.
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At The Coaches Site and Glass & Out podcast, from the pros to the grassroots level, we’re all about tackling the important issues facing our game.

This week, we welcome Senior National Writer for The Athletic, Sean Fitz-Gerald to the podcast. He is the author of Before the Lights Go Out: A Season Inside a Game on the Brink, a book that details the many issues facing minor hockey in Canada. According to Fitz-Gerald, rising costs, exclusivity, and a decline in enrolment across the country have the game heading towards a state of crisis.

A season following the OHL’s Peterborough Petes provides the back drop of the book, as Fitz-Gerald attempts to get to the root of the problem by explores the motivations and expectations of the players, coaches, front office staff and hockey fans in the city. While Before the Lights Go Out focuses on some of the systemic issues that exist in hockey, it also sheds light on what is good about it and what steps can be taken towards creating a better sport.

Fitz-Gerald is one of the most well respected journalists in Canada, and as you’ll hear, a gifted storyteller. As a reporter, he’s covered the Olympics, Pan American Games, Super Bowls, NBA playoffs, and NHL playoffs. In 2015, he was named the Sportswriter of the Year by Sports Media Canada.

As a passionate, lifelong fan of the game, and hockey dad himself, he’s also seen the good and bad of the sport firsthand. The “minor hockey complex,” as he describes it, presents a big challenge to everyone involved in the sport. Whether you coach youth, junior, college, or pro, he believes we must all focus on creating a more affordable, more accessible, more diverse, and more inclusive game.

Don’t miss out on this important discussion on the current state of hockey!

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Glass & Out

The Coaches Site Founder Aaron Wilbur sits down with some of hockey’s top coaches to learn about their coaching journey and dissect the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Each episodes features key takeaways for coaches of all levels. The Glass & Out podcast is required listening for coaches looking to gain key insights from hockey’s most influential leaders.

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