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Youth Hockey
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Re: Open letter to every hockey dad

My first ever post here. I saw the video and felt I have to comment.

I have to shamefully admit that at one time I was one of these " Crazy Hockey Dads ". Watching the video, I saw a a picture that looked pretty familiar of a father yelling. When my oldest was younger for about 5 yrs until squirt major I was like this. I was a first time hockey parent, my son played up in town and I thought he was an all-star. Then the one day similar to the picture of the father yelling, I saw my son's eyes start to water in front of the entire locker room. My heart stopped and broke on the spot. I have never felt so ashamed or embarrassed of my behavior in my whole life as at that moment. I saw myself and what I was doing to my child. I'd love to say it stopped at that exact moment but it didn't. HOWEVER I was now very much aware of my behavior, and over the next month or two I worked very hard at noticing when I was acting crazy. And it did stop altogether after about 2 -3 months. I also noticed since I changed that my son's love for the game has grown so much and he has improved incredibly without all the pressure. He is in Prep school now and playing at a pretty high level. I am such a different person by now, we still talk about the game on the way home but much differently. He's to old to sugarcoat his play if it's not a good game, especially since, HE not Me wants to play at the next level. But there are ways to point out a poor game without it being harsh. " You've had better games " " you weren't at your best today " and he always knows if he didn't play well and almost always will bring it up first. But then I make sure to point out a great play or plays that he DID make, and we'll talk about that/those instead.

I have a younger son that just started mites and I am watching for what it is. My son playing a game he loves and is having fun doing it.

Any Dads out there that might act like this please listen carefully. Especially first time hockey dads of younger players.

THEY DO REMEMBER.

Now 6 years later. Every once in awhile we'll see a crazy hockey dad at the rink and he is usually brought up in the car on the way home. My oldest will then say " I remember one time you yelled at me and made me cry in the locker room because I didn't play good ". I try to assure him that I'm sorry and that is the single moment in my life that I wish I could have back. And point out how different I am now. He says he knows but I'm not sure he forgives me yet. Hopefully one day he'll see that and forgive me, and its a mistake I will take to my grave.
I have also have made a conscious effort over the last 2-3 years to ask every once in a while if he still wants to play and if he still Loves the game. The answer is always the same. He loves it and wants to play forever.

They are only kids once. Let them play and have fun. Chances are they'll never play past high school, mine included. Don't act in a way you can't take back. Take it from a guy that knows.

Re: Open letter to every hockey dad

Thanks for that post. I will add that it gets much easier to lay off once your kid gets older and starts to realize when he makes mistakes. But the younger ages is when your actions have a much greater impact on their development and love of the game. So it's up to you parents to fight the urge and do the right thing from a young age.

Re: Open letter to every hockey dad

Phenomenal post. I think many, many dads reading this have been in this position. I to had that "moment" when I gained perspective and realized the lifelong relationship with my son was more important than anything that he could have possibly done wrong at the rink. Tears in a 9 year old's eyes after playing a game and taking a verbal undressing from his own father is tragic. We are all so lucky to be where we are with our kids and should hold on to it.

Re: Open letter to every hockey dad

The season is only a couple weeks old and it appears one of the new dads on my son's team fits this description and should read this.

Re: Open letter to every hockey dad

Anon
The season is only a couple weeks old and it appears one of the new dads on my son's team fits this description and should read this.


Perhaps you can share with him based on your quick assessment of his behavior.

Re: Open letter to every hockey dad

Guilty, but have gotten much better...