How many times have we heard junior hockey clubs refer to their team as a family? We hear it again and again from coaches as they try to build the team or as the season winds up.
How can any junior hockey team model themselves after such a long-term institution that families represent? Year after year, junior rosters fluctuate with each new season. Players aged out, new guys come in, and everybody fills certain roles and responsibilities.
A team's personality can often change like the tide and it's up to the coach to try and guess how each component of the group is going to mesh with the others.
A kid could come into camp and absolutely dominate play on the ice, but be a disrespectful, arrogant, pile of manure off the ice and force a coaching staff into a difficult decision. Many coaches have a hard time passing on such an on-ice phenom, and end up paying for the mistake in the end. Like death, disappointment is inevitable.
Such players have a tendency to alienate every component of the team, staff, even the fan base. Folks, it's never good when the boo-birds come out after a home team goal. We have all witnessed the one-man celebration when the rest of the team stands there and just watches the display. Great, the jerk has scored again.
Its funny how a lot of coaches will grade on the curve when it comes to team discipline. A fourth line banger generally does not get an inch of play when it comes to the team rules. But a three-points a night pantydropper can get caught drunk, while banging the billet mom and her four best friends, without facing any consequences for his actions.
Like a family, it does not take long for the group to absolutely break down when the chosen one is immune to the rules. As in the real world, cancer has a way of catching up with a team and it's going to end badly when the disease starts to spread.
Author: Stephen Heisler
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.
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