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Playing Summer or Spring Minor Hockey - Tips & Advice for the Family - Best Online School for Players, Parents, & Coaches to Learn from the Pros

 

Spring Hockey
 
There has been a lot of debate in recent years over young players playing spring hockey.
Over 50 percent of players that I have talked to in the Greater Toronto Area play (or intend to
play) in organized tournaments in May & June this year and they expect to travel to Boston,
Minnesota, Europe, Detroit and Ottawa.
 
Gone are the days of putting away your skates after the season ends and pick it up again in
September.
 
As a kid I played in many tournaments.  I loved it.  Looking back, in retrospect, there are some
clear benefits & negatives that come along with the ride.  Here is my take:
 
Positives
 
  •   Players get to play with, and against many different teams & players.  Summer
tournaments have less administrative rules.  For example, I played on Roberto Luongo’s
team from Montreal in PeeWee, and played with Tim Connolly’s team from Syracuse/NY.
With the age of Facebook & Twitter this is a great way for kids to branch out, network and
have fun outside of their geographical area.
 
  •   Every Weekend is New.  During the course of a ‘winter team’ there are budgets,
line-combinations, schedules, fundraising, politics, standings and statistics that drag on
all year.  During the spring, if you have a bad game, or weekend you can press the reset
button and start fresh.  Issues don’t tend to carry onto the next week.
 
  •   Simple Fun.  Kids needs to be kids.  Though they take the game seriously, some of the
best fun they have is jumping in and out of the hotel pool and having fun outdoors
between games. (...and hey parents tend to have a better time in the spring too)
 
  •   Good Hockey.  Some of the best teams I played against every year were All-Star teams
that were formed specifically to play in these tournaments.   The South West Hawks
representing the London-Sarnia area had Brian Campbell and some guy named Joe
Thornton.
 
  •   Gameplay.  As a player plays more games they will undoubtedly be put into more
pressure situations on the ice.  Finding ways to compete and win under varying
circumstances can serve them well in hockey sense development.  Some players even
get to play a different position during the summer.
 
The Negatives
 
 
 
 
  •   Costs.  Hockey is already expensive.  With registration and increasing travel fees, can
really put added stress on a family.
 
  •   Schooling.  Most tournaments start on Friday which means players usually miss out on
classes.  Education should still be a priority for these students-athletes.
 
  •   Organization.  Spring tournaments (and teams) have become a big business.
Unfortunately sometimes they can be run inefficiently, as they try to bring in money
instead of improving the experience for players and families.
 
  •   Burnout.  Players can be drained physically and mentally after a long year of winter
hockey.  Though they may improve playing in the spring, it may have detrimental effects.
Some kids may be better off playing soccer or lacrosse for variation.
 
  •   Lack of Specialized Development.  Every family has a limited amount of time, resources
and energy.  Playing extensive spring hockey games can limit a player from really
addressing skill areas in need of attention such as skating, strength or shooting.
 
 
Every player and family situation is different.  To me the line come down to FUN.  If you choose
to have your player participate in the spring tournament chaos, be sure that they are enjoying the
experience and coming out with smiles on their faces.
 
Good Luck.
 
Daniel Tkaczuk,
President, iHockeyTrainer LTD
 

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