I hate to be the guy to call B.S. on the Yahoo Sports story but it was hardly the case that little Jack Eichel just kind of wandered around his local rinks skating 6-7 months of the year playing against local AA players. Having stood next to his dad when the boys played against some of the best teams in America with Teddy Donato coaching him on Boston Mission to the summer camps with Bernie Cassell at Pilgrim as Peewees it's a bit of a stretch to paint the picture that is painted in that story. Sure by Canadian standards (where hockey is the only game) it might be a bit true but his youth hockey was hardly typical.
From the same BS article...
"In the summer, there were no intense hockey camps, sport-specific training or dry land sessions"
"Milano and Eichel met when they were teammates on the Jr. Bruins for a selects camp when they were around seven"
All about USA Hockey's ADM agenda that they are pushing. Eichel is a USA Hockey guy all the way, poster child for them. Cant let the sheeple know that he did the exact opposite of the model they are pushing for your kid. shhhh
So posters point-out the inaccuracies and lies from a story and you need to think they have a vested interest? I was there, my son played with J.E. and I'm telling you that story must have some agenda because it's far from the truth. Next they will be saying he went straight from Chelmsford youth hockey to the NTDP.
Modeling your kid's schedule after a single standout natural hockey player doesn't make any sense. Two things do make sense:
The ADM / USA Hockey model, for any of its shortcomings, was built on a large amounts of *data* - not anecdotes about single players - to look at why the US underperforms in terms of producing top players. So it's a decent set of guidelines to work from.
Second, as written above, you need to do what's right for your kid. If his face droops when you tell him he's in for another summer power skating camp, you might want to consider something else, and have him more psyched when the season comes around. If he asks for more, well then consider more.
And yes - articles about star athletes' childhoods usually come in two flavors: he/she just had fun in the backyard and was good at everything (i.e. he/she is just a naturally talented god); or, he/she was predicted never to walk on two legs but worked through it (i.e. god-like spirit and determination). That makes for more interesting reading than "above-average talent multiplied by above-average work."
Not certain how 'the US underperforms' as it pertains to turning out elite players. In 1980, the US won the gold medal, as it was widely regarded as a miracle. 36 years later, if we (the US) doesn't win the gold medal, everyone is p*ssed off.
Can someone please enlighten me as to how we, as a country, don't harvest elite hockey players?
Oh it's simple. It's just like soccer. We have some of the best athletes in the world, good nutrition, good health care, great facilities, the top support system on earth. Some of the biggest, strongest, fastest, smartest, well trained kids in the history of the universe.........but hockey, like soccer is not a primary sport that attracts the best athletes. Outside of a few communities in a handful of northern states (with maybe the only one where it is a primary sport being MN) it just doesn't attract the kids it needs.
Seriously, I mean, with all our amazing elite youth programs, look at how many Olympians and NHLers Massachusetts produces in hockey! Since we've made these kids mini-professionals with positions at 8 years of age and "signings" we have truly become world beaters. And with this model all over the country, we obviously dominate in the pro and international ranks. Make sure your kid only plays hockey 12 months a year so he can be the next JE. He truly will become that, I know it.
I pretty much agree. Too many parents go running head first into this thing with organized skating for 10 months of the year. Yes the kid improves over his peers to some point but then what is the end goal?
I have one son that loved it at an early age (maybe because he was good at it), once he got to 8th / 9th grade he played in all of the summer tournaments and skated all summer - it became a full-time job, travelled to tournaments, anchored a state championship team in high school and received multiple offers to keep playing after high school (D-3 colleges, T-1 and T-3 Jr. teams in the US & Canada)....and you know what? He decided he was pretty much done with it. For me it was great to know he could keep playing if he had wanted to - which many kids don't get the opportunity to leave on their terms - which I'm good with. I just hope he doesn't regret it.