As hundreds of players and their families converge on the Superior Propane Centre for the Monctonian Challenge it’s easy to see the passion and love for the game.
Hockey dreams live on in so many of us, in so many different ways.
From the coach, to the player, to referee, to the scout and even the player agent or family advisor, the game offers so many different opportunities for growth and development.
Tournaments like the Monctonian showcase the game in so many different ways.
As scouts are trying to identify the prospects and make their early season lists we shouldn’t lose sight of the value of growth and development.
Of course everyone wants to win, but at the end of the day, what’s the game all about?
What’s the purpose of these showcase tournaments?
Win at all cost or expose the players to the best competition possible to ensure they develop and continue to grow.
You see everyone wins when that’s the main objective.
The Monctonian is excellent Tournament to set a benchmark for player development.
As teams are gearing up for the rest of the season, draft eligible players have experienced their first major test under the scouting microscope and scrutiny of that process.
One can only imagine the self imposed pressure they felt this weekend.
Hopefully that never over shadows the experience of the game, but for many I’m sure it does.
Over the multitude of games this weekend, there were some very impressive performances by countless players.
On Friday night I had the opportunity to speak to a Major Bantam team.
I thought it would a quick 10 to 15 minute meeting with the team after their game in the dressing room.
I didn’t realize my longtime friend and the coach of the team had invited the parents as well.
As I stood there talking about the scouting process and what I’m looking for when I go to the rink, I couldn’t help to think about my journey in the game and all the people that made that possible.
You see I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to talk to people about my journey, my philosophy and perspective of the game.
I feel so fortunate to scout, write, and broadcast the game.
It may have been the three hours of sleep I got the night before, but right at the end of my talk I thanked them for the opportunity to speak and told them it was an honour, I couldn’t say another word, I would have broken down.
You may wonder why I’m telling you this little personal story. In my opinion the game of hockey is way more than wins and losses. It’s way more than draft rankings and identifying the best players with pro aspirations or targeting a kid that you believe could make it to the show. It’s more than standing up for your player to ensure they have the best chances of getting drafted or setting up the best team systems or shortening your bench in the 2nd period to get the win.
One of the last things I told the group of players and their parents is that the game will take you where you want to go.
We all share hockey dreams, we all share a love for the game.
The pivot point of my message to these young aspiring players was to embrace the journey, embrace the grind and work on the intangibles, play to your identity and never forget the value of hard work.
We all have a job to do, we all have great intentions to fulfill our role within the game, but at the end of the day no one is bigger than the game itself.
I would love to think the future of the game is in great hands, but is it?
Some aspects of the game have changed, some aspects will never change.
We all have our place in the game. We all have hockey dreams and aspirations.
We all share the love and passion for the game.
We all have unique journey’s within the game, that’s what makes the game so special.
We all have a place in the game, and when the focus remains on growth and development everyone wins, but most importantly the game wins and that’s what matters most.