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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Creed

I recently did an web cast with Carl Lake on The Sports Page and one of the topics on the agenda for the evening was a controversy that was going on between a local girls hockey team and HNL(Hockey Newfoundland & Labrador). The debate was whether or not this team in question should be permitted to travel for a weekend to a tournament in which they were invited. Well, the decision was quick and in the end the girls were not permitted to attend without facing sanctions and probably not being able to play another game again this year. How there can be any possible reasoning behind this is way over my head, but I was told that it was made because the house league teams would suffer and that was not allowed to happen because of FAIR PLAY. Ok, if this is the philosophy then fine, I don't agree with it but thats how HNL feels.

In keeping with this, I also recently received a phone call from a friend in Corner Brook who has kids playing minor hockey as well. Now this Association would love to be able to travel and play but the only problem with being on the West Coast is like most things in life....out of sight means out of mind. My friend called me in an outrage as he was just informed that in this years provincial tournament they would be the lone participant in their category from outside and that they would now be competing against 4 teams that have been formed from 9 Associations on the Avalon to form 4 All Star teams. These teams also compete in a regular season league and from all accounts will probably play anywhere in the vicinity of 60 games of hockey this winter. Hey thats great if you ask me because when I grew up my last year in midget we only played 20 games all year so what a chance these young players have to excel. But hold on for a second, this means that Corner Brook when they compete this year will be happy not by wining a provincial title but staying within double digits in goals, that would be a success for them.

How can this be classified as minor hockey or fun for the kids, this is nothing short of demoralizing and will probably push them away from the game instead of into it deeper. This team just happened to be on the Avalon for a tournament this past weekend and like always whenever there is a team from home in the area I try to take in the games. I spoke to the coach after the game and congratulated him on a nice game and little team he has. This was only their 4th I believe organized game of hockey against their peers this is there something wrong here with this picture or no??? You be the judge!!

In keeping with all of this both gentlemen in question with their respective teams asked me what I thought about there respective situations and I came across a speech I did last year when I was asked to be the Key Note speaker at the 2011 Telus Cup which was hosted by St. John's. During my prep for this event I came across an article about a program in Massachusetts for at risk youth. The Hockey Project was founded in 2007 by Don Moorhouse in Springfield, Mass. They have this Creed which basically is an overview of what this program is about and it is very very good and was something I believed warranted a place in my speech and definitely does here.

The Creed starts off with the following quote:

"While I have not yet achieved greatness, I am traveling on the upward way!" 

Jas. A.R. Kinney, who was the Manager of the Halifax Eurekas of the Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes in 1915.

This was a very powerful message that was then followed by the Creed itself, which goes like this.......

We Believe

The game of hockey builds character. 
Because of the commitment needed to even begin to participate, hockey develops characteristics that carry over into all parts of a player’s life:
Perseverance, Adaptability, Drive, and Determination.

We Believe

The game of hockey teaches life lessons...
When you fall… get up and move forward. If someone knocks you down…get up and move forward. If you reach a goal… celebrate. If you fail… try harder. If you are put in a no-win predicament… find a way to win.

We Believe

The game of hockey teaches life skills. 
Unlike typical ball sports, hockey requires a person to learn a new way to physically get from Point A to Point B. The moment you lace up the skates you are immediately faced with an obstacle that must be overcome in order to continue. This game is all about overcoming adversity. It is a constant learning process

We Believe

This game can change your life. 
Because of the unique elements of the game; the sheet of ice, the curved stick, the Zamboni, hockey is a whole new world for those that engage in the game. That world can become a refuge, a place to dwell, evolve, and thrive.

What a powerful and spot on piece of literature this is. Even though it was developed to help at-risk youth in the U.S. it is something that all parents and coaches should read and heed for it is during these crucial years that they will be molded. I believe it is a perfect read for all involved in the game here in NL not only today but for generations to follow because this game will outlive us all.


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