News for Thought!

Jun. 12, 2015

Letter from a Volunteer Coach

Submitted By Kelly Beamish on Monday, June 01, 2015 - taken from the Barrie Minor Hockey Site

"Today I heard a comment made about me behind my back. I started to turn around and look, but then decided better of it and kept my eyes on the field.

My wife hears things like this more often than I do, because many of you don’t know who she is. She tells me what you say. I have received... angry emails, full of “suggestions,” about who should be playing where and how I... lost that day’s game for the kids. I thought I’d write an open letter to all of you parents, even though I might never send it. I’ll start it this way: “I am a volunteer.”

I’m the one who answered the call when the league said they didn’t have enough coaches. I understand that you were too busy. I have some news for you. I’m not retired. I’m busy too. I have other children and a job, just like you do. Not only do I not get paid to do this – it costs me money. I see you walk up to the game 15 minutes after it started, still dressed for work. Do you know I’ve already been here over an hour? Imagine if you had to leave work early nearly every day. I’ve never seen you at a practice. I’m sure you’re plugging away at the office. But I’m out here, on the field, trying my best to teach these children how to play a sport they love, while my bank account suffers.

I know. I make mistakes. In fact, maybe I’m not even that great of a coach. But I treat the kids fairly and with respect. I am pretty sure they like coming to my practices and games, and without me or someone like me, there’d be no team for them to play on. I’m part of this community too and it’s no picnic being out here on this stage like this. It’s a lot easier back there with the other parents where no one is second-guessing you.
And I also know you think I give my son or daughter unfair advantages. I try not to. In fact, have you ever considered that maybe I’m harder on him than on the others? I’m sure he hears plenty of criticism at school from classmates, who hear it from you at home, about what a lame coach I am. And if, even unconsciously, my kids are getting a slight advantage because I know them better and trust their abilities, is that the worst thing in the world, considering the sacrifice I’m making? Trust me, I want to win too. And if your son or daughter could guarantee we’d do that, I’d give them the chance.

After this game is over, I’ll be the last one to leave. I have to break down the field, put away all the equipment and make sure everyone has had a parent arrive to pick them up. There have been evenings when my son and I waited with a player until after dark before someone came to get them. Many nights I’m sure you’ve already had dinner and are relaxing on the couch by the time I finally kick the mud off my shoes and climb into my car, which hasn’t been washed or vacuumed for weeks. Why bother cleaning it during the season? Do you know how nice it would be if, just once, after a game one of you offered to carry the heavy gear bag to my car or help straighten up the field?

If I sound angry, I’m not. I do this because I love it and I love being around the kids. There are plenty of rewards and I remind myself that while you’re at the office working, your kid is saying something that makes us all laugh or brings a tear to my eye. The positives outweigh the negatives. I just wish sometime those who don’t choose to volunteer their time would leave the coaching to the few of us who do."


Author Unknown

BIG ADVICE - A Bantam Parent Reflects 

Hockey Parents Blog March 16, 2015

It's over. All done. Yesterday, I watched my second-year Bantam play his last ever youth travel hockey game. Yes, he will go on to bigger and better things in high school hockey and I'm excited for what the future has in store for his hockey career.

But what I wasn't prepared for was how hard and how incredibly emotional it would be to say goodbye to youth hockey. How did it end so quickly? Where did the years go? 

There was a mite game on the ice before our championship game yesterday. The players were so little and cute and it made me reflect on just how much this sport has been a part of not just my son's life but our family's life. I remember the days when my goalie was shorter than the net and the team could hardly see over the boards even though they were standing up. Wasn't that just yesterday? Who is this big, smelly, goofy man-child that lives in his room now? 

So my advice to you is this....embrace every single moment of today. When the alarm goes off at 5 am and you're driving to the rink when it is still dark, remember that this is not forever. The early practices, the long days in cold, smelly rinks sitting on hard benches, the occasional bad ref or pain-in-the-rear parent....those things don't matter. They're the insignificant part of what you are doing right now.

Right now you're making memories that will last a lifetime. You're forging bonds with other families that will be like no other friendship in your life. Hockey family isn't LIKE IS family. You will spend countless hours in rinks and cars and hotels with them. You will celebrate holidays and birthdays with them. You will support each other through life tragedies. You will love them like your own brothers and sisters. Get to know them. It will be worth it, I promise. 

Right now, you're teaching your son or daughter important life lessons. He's learning how to be a good player and a good teammate and a decent human being. Set a good example. Don't cut down his teammates and coaches. It poisons his mind with negativity that isn't conducive to being a good teammate. Don't scream at the refs. Most of them know the game better than you and even if they don't, it embarrasses your child. They will never say it to you, but they cringe and avoid eye contact with their teammates every time your voice rings out across the rink. (This is one I wish I had been better at myself). Don't dissect his every move after every game. All they need to hear from you is that you love to watch them play. If they want your input, they will ask for it. Keep your feedback positive. Let the coaches coach. Let the refs ref. Let your player play. 

Right now you're getting a unique opportunity to spend sequestered time with your family. You'll spend hours in the car together. You'll have down time in cities you may not have otherwise visited, if not for hockey. Spend that time wisely. Talk to each other in the car rather than burying yourselves in electronics. You'll be amazed at the conversations that will occur if you unplug everyone for a while. Go see some things while you're there. The games are important, but so is allowing your child to see new places and experience new things. Push yourself out of your comfort zone or your current interests and see what the local area has to offer. Go see the giant ball of twine or tour the local microbrewery. Open your mind and give things a chance that you may not have otherwise explored. And take the team. It is a great bonding opportunity. When a team becomes a team, they play FOR each other, not WITH each other. 

Most importantly, just keep it all in perspective. There will be politics, there will be coaching challenges, there will be bad refs, there will be heartbreaking losses, there will be parental drama. All of that is unfortunately part of the package. Don't focus your energy on those things. Focus on the good stuff. The friendships and the sportsmanship and the fun. Those are the things that matter. Only the seeds that you water will grow. Water the good ones.

'It hurts': Refs quitting as B.C. hockey league penalizes abusive parents

Josh Elliott,


Published Thursday, February 19, 2015 8:26AM EST 

Eight parents are in the penalty box and officials are taking a no-nonsense approach to off-ice misconduct in a B.C. hockey league.

Vancouver Island’s minor hockey association has banned eight parents from attending their kids’ games this weekend, in an effort to protect the league’s referees from ongoing verbal abuse.

The Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association imposed the bans after two unrelated incidents last week, making good on an earlier promise to punish misbehaving spectators hurling abuse at on-ice officials. VIAHA president Jim Humphrey says the abuse is getting out of hand, and referees are beginning to quit rather than endure the constant verbal attacks from parents in the stands.

“In the last seven weeks we’ve probably lost 20 officials already,” Humphrey told CTV Vancouver.

Senior referee Deb Lewis says she plans to hang up her whistle after this season. She says the abuse she endures is simply not worth it.

“It hurts,” Lewis said. “As an adult, it’s hard for me to hear those things and I honestly can’t imagine how it feels for a 14- or 15-year-old.”

Most referees in minor hockey are young and still learning their craft, which makes them vulnerable targets to criticism from the stands.

The Victoria Minor Hockey Association’s top ref says even he feels under siege sometimes.

“There could be games where you’re getting yelled at from the drop of the first puck,” said chief referee Kevin Tattrie. He added that younger referees don’t have the psychological training to endure verbal attacks from middle-aged parents shouting abuse at them on a weekly basis.

“A lot of parents are too emotional about their kids’ athletics, and it’s not as fun as it should be,” Tattrie said.

VIAHA president Humphrey has been trying to protect his referees from abusive parents and fans for some time now. Last month, Humphrey threatened to hold a spectator-free weekend of play in which no parents would be allowed to watch their kids’ games from the stands. He also added a fine for team coaches who disputed referees’ calls.

“A very small minority feel they have the right to verbally abuse and harass young men and women, frequently little older than the players in the games they are officiating,” Humphrey wrote in an open letter last month. “The vindictiveness is resulting in a loss of both promising young officials and senior officials alike, as well as making the game difficult for the players to have fun.”

Lewis says the fun goes out of the sport when parents lose sight of the point of hockey and start taking it personally.

“The kids are there to play hockey,” she said. “They’re there to play a game.”

With files from CTV Vancouver 


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