'The Ultimate Newsletter for Minor Hockey'
Click here for our archive of past "Well Said" Newsletters
WELCOME to WELL SAID! - 'The Ultimate
Newsletter for Minor Hockey'. This Newsletter, along with The Hockey
Source comprehensive website, radio show, exclusive training and product line is part of our vision to help you make sound decisions, optimize performance and
most of all, have more fun! Whether you
are a Player, Coach, Manager, Official, Trainer, Scout, Agent, Parent or Fan,
you are sure to find valuable information on hockey topics.
You are a Coach…or Want to Be?
In the world of sport, regardless of the sport, there are unending challenges to those who play and those who Coach. This article, written by a local coast sports writer, possesses a great lesson for keeping perspective. Coaches…we challenge you to read this and take stock before this season gets too far along.
"On the 21st of the month, the best man I know will do what he always does on the 21st of the month. He'll sit down and pen a love letter to his best girl. He'll say how much he misses her and loves her and can't wait to see her again.
Then he'll fold it once, slide it in a little envelope and walk into his bedroom. He'll go to the stack of love letters sitting there on her pillow, untie the yellow ribbon, place the new one on top and tie the ribbon again. The stack will be 180 letters high then, because the 21st will be 15 years to the day since Nellie, his beloved wife of 53 years, died.
In her memory, he sleeps only on his half of the bed, only on his pillow, only on top of the sheets, never between; with just the old bedspread they shared to keep him warm.
There's never been a finer man in American sports than John Wooden, or a finer coach. He won 10 NCAA basketball championships at UCLA, the last in 1975. Nobody has ever come within six of him.
He won 88 straight games between January 30, 1971, and January 17, 1974. Nobody has come within 42 since.
So, sometimes, when the Basketball Madness gets to be too much -- too many players trying to make Sports Center, too few players trying to make assists, too few coaches willing to be mentors, too many freshmen with out-of-wedlock kids, too few freshmen who will stay in school long enough to become men -- I like to go see Coach Wooden.
I visit him in his little condo in Encino, 20 minutes northwest of Los Angeles, and hear him say things like "Gracious sakes alive!" and tell stories about teaching "Lewis" the hook shot. Lewis Alcindor, that is...who became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
There has never been another coach like Wooden, quiet as an April snow and square as a game of checkers; loyal to one woman, one school, one way; walking around campus in his sensible shoes and Jimmy Stewart morals.
He'd spend a half hour the first day of practice teaching his men how to put on a sock. "Wrinkles can lead to blisters," he'd warn. These huge players would sneak looks at one another and roll their eyes. Eventually, they'd do it right. "Good," he'd say, "and now for the other foot."
Of the 180 players who played for him, Wooden knows the whereabouts of 172. Of course, it's not hard when most of them call, checking on his health, secretly hoping to hear some of his simple life lessons so that they can write them on the lunch bags of their kids, who will roll their eyes.
"Discipline yourself, and others won't need to," Coach would say. "Never lie, never cheat, never steal," and "Earn the right to be proud and confident."
If you played for him, you played by his rules: Never score without acknowledging a teammate. One word of profanity and you're done for the day. Treat your opponent with respect.
He believed in hopelessly out-of-date stuff that never did anything but win championships. No dribbling behind the back or through the legs. "There's no need," he'd say.
No UCLA basketball number was retired under his watch. "What about the fellows who wore that number before? Didn't they contribute to the team?" he'd say.
No long hair, no facial hair. "They take too long to dry, and you could catch cold leaving the gym," he'd say. That one drove his players bonkers.
One day, All-America center Bill Walton showed up with a full beard. "It's my right," he insisted. Wooden asked if he believed that strongly. Walton said he did. "That's good, Bill," Coach said. "I admire people who have strong beliefs and stick by them, I really do. We're going to miss you." Walton shaved it right then and there. Now Walton calls once a week to tell Coach he loves him.
It's always too soon when you have to leave the condo and go back out into the real world, where the rules are so much grayer and the teams so much worse.
As Wooden shows you to the door, you take one last look around… the framed report cards of his great-grandkids, the boxes of jelly beans peeking out from under the favorite wooden chair, the dozens of pictures of Nellie.
John Wooden died on June 4, 2010 at the age of 99 years.
The John Wooden article reminds us of the true essence of athletics and coaching. Unfortunately, the values that John Wooden held close to his heart are not always present in today’s athlete nor can they be found in his or her parents.
Inexperienced coaches don’t know what they don’t know. They are looking for knowledge without letting on that they don’t already have it. Experienced coaches know what they know and know what they don’t know. Some experienced coaches know they don’t want to know what they don’t know, while others seek to know what they don’t know.
Coach Wooden’s focus was never on winning. It was always on how you played the game… is yours?
The Jim Kyte Story!
So get this. You want to eventually play in the NHL…what a lofty goal! You are probably one of thousands who have the same dream, along with the normal challenges of numbers, spaces, interests, contacts, and all the other factors that feel like a “roll of the dice” at times.
So stop and think how you would be feeling if you also knew that you had a significant “hearing” challenge, to the point of being legally “deaf”. Would that inspire you to try harder, or allow you to settle for whatever level you could achieve? If you selected the last response, you could not be faulted and you would be part of the vast majority. If you said yes to “try harder”, then you put yourself in an elite body of people, best represented by Jim Kyte…first round draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 1982. He played 13 seasons in the NHL for Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, Calgary, Ottawa and San Jose.
Jim was a member of a family where the father and his five brothers all experienced the same hearing disability, and they all played hockey. Jim explained in several interviews, that the family structure and belief system was the key to rising above the disability. Jim explained that everybody in his family was always encouraged to do the best they could and to push themselves. Jim was proud that his father was named “Athlete of the Half Century” at St. Francis Xavier University, and that his father represented Canada at the 1948 Olympics in London. Following that, he pursued an academic career at McGill University graduating in Dentistry. As Jim would recount with immense pride…”he never used his hearing impairment as an excuse not do to something”.
Jim is the first legally deaf player to ever play in the NHL, and was twice nominated for the NHL’s Masterston Trophy. He has also been awarded many Honours for his community service and was nominated for the NHL’s King Clancy Award while playing for the Winnipeg Jets.
Jim’s philosophy is stunning. He says, “I think that if anybody has a disability, it is important for them to advocate for themselves…that’s what you need to do”. And don’t feel ashamed…”I’ve always said ‘this is who I am, and I need help’. Biggest issue is to not be afraid to ask for the help.” Jim’s other favourite saying and theory of life is “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it”.
Jim learned as a father (when his son was just under 3 years old) that his son was autistic. And he learned further from his mother that you cannot rely on the system, and so he adopted her belief that “knowledge is power”. From this, Jim agreed to be National Spokesperson for the Registered Disability Savings Plan.
When asked to reflect back on his NHL playing career and ponder how he overcame such a disability in a way that allowed him to succeed at the elite level, Jim responded with statements such as:
- I was proactive with my teammates. I would sit down with them to come up with strategies that would help.
- When it was an icing call, I would look at my goaltender who would indicate to me an icing by putting his arm in the air. My inability to hear a whistle or skaters coming in on me made me vulnerable for the proper play and self-protection. My goalie saved me.
- I also asked arena management to ensure that the plexi-glass on the ends of arenas was clean for each game. This way, I could use the glass to see what was coming in behind me and thus try to make the proper play.
- And I reminded my coaches that they needed to look at me when they were talking so that I could read their lips…that way, I was on the same level as my teammates when it came to strategy.
And so, for the hundreds or more of readers who are concerned with the trials and tribulations of minor hockey (and there are challenges and obstacles), it is probably a good idea to settle back for a few minutes and analyze your situation and ask yourself:
- Are my challenges on the same level as Jim’s?
- If not, then what would Jim tell me to do to deal with my situation?
Well, his advice would go something like this. He would recognize the reality of feeling sorry for oneself. Or he would talk about realizing that you have to keep going because life will not wait for you. Jim would say that when he finally got clear on those facts he started waking up each morning and deciding whether it was going to be a good day or bad day. Why? It was his decision to make.
The Hockey Source: Still Growing!
It has been some time since we shared some of the excitement that is happening with The Hockey Source. After a full season of being on XM/Sirius Radio – The Hockey Source Live quickly earned the title of #1 grass roots show on satellite radio. The guests included current and former NHLer’s; Team Canada and Team USA players from the Men and Women’s National Teams; Senior Executives from the NHL, Hockey Canada, USA Hockey and the Canadian Hockey League. The show was also able to get guest spots with TV personalities from Leafs TV and TSN.
During the past season a contest providing over $1000 in prizes took place in collaboration with Boston Pizza in Canada. People from across this great country won gift cards to use for their team’s outings at Boston Pizza.
The most recent success has been the growth of the exclusive Team Management Program for Team Managers. Associations in Minor Hockey have shown great interest in the product and program and openly support the content for Team Managers in Minor Hockey.
With a new season comes new activities and growth. In the coming weeks you will get to hear more about The Hockey Source and its efforts to help you get valuable info to make sound decisions to have more fun. As we always say…”we are all about bettering the game by bettering the people”.
Is Hockey All Year?
Welcome back parents and players. The summer is over and the new hockey season has started. You must be excited to be back in the arena and onto the ice. What’s that? You say that there is no excitement about coming back. You played hockey all summer? Do you think there is a correlation between how you feel now and how you spent the summer?
Although Face-Off is normally the section where we present two very valid sides of an important issue, The Hockey Source finds itself challenged on this topic. We know the issue of how much hockey to play is important, but we simply do not understand the side that says it should be played all year round. Some of our thoughts are as follows:
- Too much of anything, even if it is good is too much.
- The game plan in life should be creating a solid skills base, which means participating in a number of activities, rather than focusing just on one.
- Maybe there is an age or skill ingredient that affects this decision. For sure, young kids (everything under Bantam) should simply not be allowed to put all their eggs in the hockey basket.
- If a player at Bantam or Midget really is showing potential to go further in the sport, then perhaps being more involved in the sport is understandable, but not necessarily right or advantageous to development, both mentally and physically.
- Allowing a player to participate in only one sport all year round based on the skill set he shows at a young age is a faulty process. In fact, we even question whether this is more about somebody else’s dream, rather than the player’s.
- Is there any difference in the significance of the action related to whether it is done in open ice or along the boards?
- Again, knowledgeable hockey minds continue to espouse that it is the responsibility of each and every player to be aware by “keeping his head up” and protecting himself along the boards.
- Many NHL stars came out of a system where the summer months were spent on other sports (e.g. lacrosse, biking, etc.) with the deliberate plan of cross training, and thus improving on aspects of hockey while giving a complete mental and physical break from the “same old-same old”.
We know that those supportive of hockey being an activity for the entire year will say:
- You cannot achieve your dreams by doing it part time.
- In order to be good, you have to put in the time.
- Other sports are not compatible to the skill set of hockey, and so act as a deterrent.
Parents…what has happened to the greatest sport in the world? Why are we now allowing our children to play hockey 12 months a year? What value of any kind does this bring them? Have we not gone too far when their favourite colour becomes “change-room green”, or when they claim their favourite eating place is the arena confectionary?
You say they enjoy the game and they want to play it all the time. OK, that has some merit! But there will be other things in life about which they make the same claim that we hope you oppose. Would we ask or allow our children to stay in Grade 9 for years because they like it and are comfortable. Would we jump at the chance to take our kids water skiing 12 months a year at the cottage in Northern Ontario because it is their favourite sport? How about a month off school to play video games in the basement because it is fun and enjoyable?
We complain about the time taken up by hockey, both on and off-ice activities, so we let them play more. We complain about the cost of the sport, and yet as a solution, we play longer and spend more on arenas, sticks, tape, replacing worn out equipment and sharpening skates. We lament the erosion of the family unit, and so our solution is to spend more time in arenas where the entire family is seldom seen together, especially if there is more than one player in the family.
Would the family unit not be stronger if another activity that was more affordable and easier for all to join was chosen?
If the creator of the universe had envisioned hockey as a year round sport, he (or she) probably would not have located it in those climates that have winter. It probably would not have involved water in its frozen state…better known as Ice. In fact he/she would probably not even recognize the concept of “rink”, since the original vision was very cost effective and healthy…swim and fish in the pond in the summer and skate on the pond in the winter…and graduate from life with more than one skill and a larger bank account.
As stated before, we at The Hockey Source fail to really understand the side of this issue that claims value in this sport being a year round venture. If you are one that is ahead of us in this…one who sees the value of “nothing but hockey”, then we would really appreciate you writing to us at email@example.com and sharing your explanation. Your input will hopefully equip us to do this topic in this section, the way it was originally intended…two valid sides to an important issue.
The Hockey Source learned of this new product and did an email interview to find out more facts. The name explains it all…a method of identifying bags and everything in them so that lost articles are retrieved, rather than lost forever. Below are the questions and answers of that interview.
THS: What was the main reason you started this?
GT: GameTags was inspired by two hockey moms, who were frustrated with losing their children’s hockey gear, because it was getting left behind in arenas and locker rooms. We want to offer parents everywhere, the peace of mind of knowing that their investment in their child’s gear is protected. As all parents know, hockey equipment is very expensive, so why not do everything we can to insure that it comes home after each game? Lost and missing equipment is one of the biggest problems that sport faces; GameTags is the solution to this problem.
THS: What did you expect it to do for you and for Consumers?
GT: Dressing rooms are busy, cramped places, and too often, equipment gets mixed up in someone else’s bag. Kids spend unnecessary amounts of time looking for their gear when they should be focusing on their upcoming game. Many times, kids have the exact same equipment as so many others in the dressing room, and it is almost impossible to detect what equipment belongs to which player.
We were looking to develop a product that would stick firmly, and remain affixed to our kids’ hockey equipment. And overall, this would relieve the stress of having to replace or recover lost equipment. We were also interested in providing a platform for a lost and found recovery system.
GameTags provides an easy, inexpensive solution to this problem, as it is an effective organizational tool. By placing GameTags on each piece of gear, players can easily identify what belongs to them. By registering with our unique web-based Lost and Found system, we are providing added security that your equipment could be found and returned.
THS: Who is it for?
GT: GameTags are for all hockey players who value their investment in their equipment. It is effective for individual players, teams and hockey schools alike.
THS: When is the best time to get started?
GT: Now!! There is no time like the present. GameTags is an important addition to all your gear, and it’s never too late to start.
THS: What are you looking to do with this service/product?
GT: Our goal for GameTags is to be synonymous with sports equipment. When you go to buy equipment, you will naturally buy a package of GameTags as well. GameTags is the best way to protect your investment in your expensive gear.
For those readers who want to follow up further with Game Tags, the website is www.gametags.ca.
(Bleepin’) Locker Room Door
We lost our hockey game real bad,
And it made our coach feel really mad.
He screamed at us in the locker room,
"What the (bleep's) the matter with you?
How could you play so (bleepy) today?
And allow eight (bleepin') breakaways!
That (bleep blamn) play cost us the game!
I can't even look at you (bleepers) the same!"
He hollered and cussed,
Swore and bellowed at us,
And I'm sure he'd a cursed some more.
But to his regret,
Never again to forget,
To shut his mouth or the locker room door!
The Unsung Hero
Congratulations to the great goal scorers
For putting the puck in the net.
But remember, Tac/Toe without Tic is just -
A cacophonous, dissonant duet.
Glory be to the finishers for their roaring success!
Celebrate, it's hard to resist.
But never forget the one who started it all...
The unsung hero…the second assist!
Louise Waronek is a parent of a minor hockey player and freelance writer from Regina, Saskatchewan, currently working on a collection of humorous poetry. She has also written a number of articles including a short story published in Homemakers Magazine. Louise can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quotes from a Time When Language Had Class!
“He had delusions of adequacy.”…Walter Kerr.
“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.”…Oscar Wilde.
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."…Oscar Wilde.
“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening…but this wasn’t it.”…Groucho Marx.
“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.”…Stephen Bishop.
“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”…Winston Churchill.
DEAR VALUED READER, WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
If you would like to comment on anything that you have read in this or past newsletters; if you have some input or opinions on material you have viewed in our website; or if you simply have some valuable information or experience you would like to share with the rest of our readers, please write to us with your thoughts at email@example.com .
Enjoying this newsletter? Great! Forward it to friends! Or tell them where to sign up!
Well Said! © Fire 'n Idea Inc. (producers of The Hockey Source) 2003-2011. All Rights Reserved.
THIS NEWSLETTER IS DISTRIBUTED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
Fire 'n Idea Inc. is not responsible for the interpretations made or actions taken by any person(s) based on the information provided within this newsletter. All information contained within this newsletter is accurate to the best of our knowledge. Information obtained from outside sources is referenced. Fire 'n Idea Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy or content of any information acquired from a third party (i.e., web links, quoted or referenced sources, etc.).
This newsletter may be copied or transmitted under the following conditions:
1. No modifications are made to any part of the text.
2. All pages must be included and transmitted.
Archive of Past Issues of "Well Said"
"Well Said" Archive - Click to read past issues of our newsletter!