We’re in an interesting stage of the hockey season. By now, coaches know their players inside and out. you know what makes them tick, you know what they’re good at, and you damn sure know what they’re bad at. You’ve spent the entire season to this point working with your players and your staff to ensure every individual involved with your team is having an enriching, life-changing experience.
But that’s all about to change. I think it’s safe to say that the team here at TCS HQ supports fair and equal treatment of young hockey players. It’s our job to do right by our players. They deserve the chance to experience both success and failure on the ice. Hopefully you share those views to some extent – the reports out of Edmonton’s Minor Hockey Week indicate there are still some dinosaurs who view ice time at the minor hockey level as some sort of currency, or perhaps every single hockey parent on planet Earth is delusional, or perhaps it’s somewhere in between.
I digress. The home stretch is here for many of us. I believe this is the logical point in the season for individual players to put their egos to the side and focus on the good of the team. That might mean spending more time on the bench as the team shifts their focus to winning a little bit more. That might mean cheering hard for a teammate in a shootout or an overtime period. My team has gone to overtime in three of our last four games, losing twice and winning once, and it’s not easy to sit on the bench and watch your teammates do their best to decide the outcome of the game.
But it beats not getting there at all. Every situation is different, and every coach will have a different philosophy when it comes to distributing ice time during the stretch run. Whatever your philosophy is, be prepared to explain yourself to your players. they deserve it, and it will help you when the pressure is on.
Oh, and have fun. This time of the year is what we were built for.
From last week, in case you missed it…