Victorious is more than just any word and it means many things to many people. So before we get too deep into this thought, let's see what the old dictionary has to say about it.
having won a victory; triumphant.
"a victorious army"
synonyms: triumphant, conquering, vanquishing, winning, champion, successful, top, first, second to none; More
antonyms: unsuccessful, defeated of or characterized by victory.
"he'd participated in the victorious campaigns of the Franco-Prussian War"
In the world of junior hockey, and the development of hockey players, the word can mean so much more than just wins and losses, because it can also refer to climbing up and over that final step towards reaching a goal. For some players that is just getting to junior hockey and for others that means raising the Stanley Cup. It's all just a matter of perspective.
2020 has been a nightmare for the game of hockey. Follow the science, deal with the reality, or fall somewhere in between, COVID is a word that has wrecked havoc on almost every area of normal life. We can't let it damper any world-class athlete's ambition, drive, or passion.
As schedules alter and plans change, hockey players need to keep the bigger picture in mind and keep their eye on the prize. Now is not the time to let off the developmental gas pedal, now is the time to accelerate through the curve and into position to take advantage of all the hard work to date. It's time to come out ahead, it's time to be victorious.
The games most successful influences have been able to victoriously help transition a flock of young boys into productive young men. It's the game's leaders that have consistently put the development of their players' character ahead of on ice wins and losses. It's funny how those same coaches always seam to also end up with a pile of wins.
Players of unquestionable character and high intellect deserve to enhanced opportunities to succeed and do so when taking advantage of the chance to align with the game's best.
We've all had a life full of personal wins and losses. I passed the fifty-four year marker a few months back and can't help but ponder a basket full of what-ifs and should've could'ves. But looking back over that journey, the thought is that there were a lot more personal victories than losses.
When it comes to the game of hockey, there is little doubt that the work that we have done to date has been very productive.
The lion's share of that success has occurred long after the skates were hung up. After a phone conversation with an old friend from Anchorage, a conversation from the past was pulled from memory.
The Grandfather once said this to the ten year-old me:
Son, the game is simple, stay honest and always do the right thing.... regardless of the cost.
After a dozen years of grinding away with this article on JuniorHockey.com, the biggest victory has come in the way of positive relationships that have been built within the game. That network of coaches (and friends) has delivered an unprecedented advantage in the role as a family advisor. The biggest victory has been the various lessons and principles many of those coaches have passed onto me.
In the advisor's role, we've tried to push our players into the mindset of being victorious in everything they do. It's funny but, I find myself telling our own children to do the same thing.
We tell players to take victories in the off-season conditioning program, in their nutrition, and in the classroom. In season we are talking about leaving it all on the ice for 30-45 seconds to get the win, one shift at a time. Putting in the extra ice-time, work in the film room, and even getting the victory at night with a solid sleep.
Here at home it's all about starting the day off with a winning streak. Make a good looking bed, straighten up their rooms, wash their face, have a great breakfast, and brush their teeth. There's nothing like a pile of early victories to start the day.
In the past few years, there has been an astonishing number of new advisors that have jumped in and out of the market. The reality is that the vast majority come and go within the same twelve month period because they lack a real connection to the levels of play, outside of a small circle of influence. That's regrettable.
We have raised the bar in regards to what the role of the advisor should be. An elevation of service, contact, and developmental progress. An entity that gives players an entirely new degree of respect when they walk into the changing room.
Over the next three to six weeks, the expectation is that a large number of players will be forced to seek other opportunities due to changes with their existing leagues and teams. Don't make the mistake of navigating that journey uninformed.