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By: Likes:
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As a non-parent volunteer coach for 20 years (Bantam & Midget AAA), I always took great pride in raising the bar and getting the best out of the kids, finding a place and a role for each and every one , and teaching the game at a high level, with some hard life lessons thrown in along the way.

Now I have a 7 year old who LOVES hockey, crazy about the game and it's all he wants to do. Has good skills for his age and honestly you'd think he's a superstar if you saw him...... in practice.

In games (playing AAA Novice), there is close to no level of compete. He is happy enough standing around watching other kids battle it out, happy just slapping the puck away when it comes to him, happy scoring the odd freebie while he's standing on the backdoor waiting for a pass. It's very confusing, since he can skate well, stickhandle well and has a great shot. For some reason in games, he forgets what he knows... or just isn't confident enough yet? Positionally very sound, up and down the wing and usually in the right spot, but again, very soft iwth the battles or when he gets the puck.

So for me...its a little different on the other side of the coin, where I'm now "the hockey dad."

Of course I love the excitement and joy my son gets out of what HE considers. is hockey. (Even at the pace he goes, he thinks he's the next coming of Crosby). I take pride in the friendships he's making at the rink and am happy that he's a nice, polite kid.

But its driving me up the wall seeing his "level of compete" at such a very low level. Kids with far less core talent and skills are having greater success, simply because they are hungrier and outhustling him, and because they come to the rink with a much higher competitive spirit and aggressive nature.

I am used to coaching 13-14-15 year old elite level kids, to play like warriors.

How fellow coaches, do I approach getting the "tiger" out of my own 7 year old son, (without being a mean old crazy hockey dad).

Or, should I just be patient and proud that he's loving the game and having "fun" on his own terms - even if that means that for the time being, he won't be that hungry animal out there that I want him to be?

Registered: 05/30/09
Posts: 5
By: Likes:

4paw, I coach several of my young children and have found that the best approach for them is "less is more." The less I initiate conversation about their performance, the more enthusiastic they are about playing their sports. For children that are not naturally aggressive, I think confidence and competitiveness can be developed over time as a child starts to experience small successes (winning a loose puck, making a poke check). I saw my children's competitiveness in hockey grow as a result of success in other sports, like house league soccer and swimming, that are not nearly as intense as AAA hockey. So, my recommendation would be to try to bring out the competitiveness by participating in other, less intense sports leagues. Another suggestion, but one I have no experience with, would be to drop down to the AA or A level so that your son is more likely to start experiencing the small successes in games that grow confidence and competitiveness.

Registered: 03/30/10
Posts: 34
By: Likes:

Some articles containing information for parents of hockey players - from Minnesota Hockey website.


Haven't read them, but perhaps they will help shed some light on your issue. Some of the titles might pique your interest. Also check the "Master List" of all the articles:


More stuff:


Well, one should really put some time into this site as there looks to be some excellent resources on here (videos too!)

rcmat has provided some sound advice (and an EXCELLENT avatar!) I can't really speak from the voice of experience as my kids are under 3 YO so aren't playing organized sports yet. All I could say would come from a coaches / administrators point of view... and it would be - don't push your kids or try to live life vicariously through them. They need to develop the passion themselves. If they do develop the passion, great. If not, they need to find something they are passionate about. (I suspect I will have trouble NOT pushing my kids as I am a Type A; so I might choose not to coach them!!!) I think it would be best for you to hear from those who coached their kids... feel free to chime in here - whomever falls into this category!

Good luck and keep us posted.

M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

Active Member
Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2059
Location: Calgary AB Canada
By: Likes:

Today is a day that I really think of my days coaching my son. I just took him to the airport to go back to Ryerson in Toronto.

I had been coaching college at SAIT and U of C in Calgary and been watching my son play the first two years at 5 and 6. Practices were standing in line and the second year all the coach did was skating drills. I volunteered to coach but wasn't selected because they had 11 teams and 13 applied. I asked why and the head guy said he didn't like me. I said I don't even know you so how can you like or dislike me. Anyway I was asst. coach for a few years but ran all the practices.

I was still the asst. at the U of Calgary but they practiced between 4-6 and played on F and S evenings but there wasn't that much conflict in times. I also coached my youngest daughers team when she tried hockey in div. 10, That is another story.

I became the head coach by the time he was 10. Anyway he played with a lot of the same kids through the ten years I was in minor hockey. We won many championships and minor hockey weeks and tournaments including the Provincials when he played on teams that could win that title.

I remember one critical time. He was about 9 and we were talking about the game that just finished. I said something about the way he played and he looked at me and said; "So you don't think I am a very good player" I said to myself "woowh I can't talk to him like I do to college age guys" and I said something like "no I think you are a really good player" and from then on I was very gentle with any negative and very sure to point out any positive.

Only one team in 10 years was my coaching a problem. We had won the bantam 2 cities and bantam 1 city and provincials and when we went into midget the midget 1 parents from the year before made the association promise all their kid's could play div 1 as they were convinced I would chose players who had played for me. I was forced to keep them and not keep players who were much better. We came in first but when things got tough these write in's couldn't rise to the occassion. We won Provincials the next year with the players who deserved to be there.

After midget my son went to the Edge School for Athletes and I paid the tuition and hockey fees by doing three skills practices a week for them. He led the team in scoring by 40 points and the head coach of MHat came and watched him skate with some boy's who are now in the NHL and told him he could play for him but needed to get stronger. He trained for a few months but was still only 6' and 140 lbs and decided he was too light and didn't go to the main camp. That is the deal. You can be skilled but you have to be strong enough to compete and have confidence in yourself. He wasn't strong enough but the biggest thing is that at that time he didn't have enough self confidence.

So, I am rambling now but it takes so many things. It is best to be an early maturer but in my sons case he was tiny all through minor hockey but an astute hockey guy like Willy Desjardins (now with Dallas) saw him and told him he could for sure play and that he wanted him even though he was 19.

So I have gone way past the basic question here but I can say that in my experience.

1. It is great to coach your kid if you do a good job.
2. You have to be very positive in what you say to your child.
3. Once in a while some parents will be a problem.
4. It may take a long time but if a player is really good someone eventually will see it and give him an opportunity.

I gotta tell you that it is really tough to take your best buddy to airport.

'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
Registered: 06/25/08
Posts: 3122
Location: Calgary, Canada
By: Likes:

All excellent responses and thanks for taking the time. What I realized this week is that his young hockey mind works much differently than my intense and passionate coaching noggin does, and that as long as he's loving the game on his own terms then my job is done.

Keep being positive about the good things he does, support and encourage him to try new things with the puck when it comes to him, let him know that mistakes are ok as long as we learn from them.

For the most part I'll stay out of his head, learn how to bite my lip, and let him figure the game out on his own.

Tom your post put things into perspective, and I can only imagine the day when I wave goodbye to him as he boards a plane, still have 10 or 12 or 13 years to go I'll be sure to make the most of it as his dad and buddy 1st, rather than as his coach .

By: Likes:

I thought this article best fit this topic... competitiveness... self-confidence.

Hartikainen making his mark early

March 28, 2011


EDMONTON -- Teemu Hartikainen's sooner-than-expected debut with the Edmonton Oilers came more out of necessity than by design, but the circumstances haven't prevented the Finnish forward from turning heads in his five NHL games.

In a season where little has gone right for the rebuilding Oilers, riddled by injuries and destined for a second straight 30th-place finish, the robust Hartikainen has provided something of a silver lining since he was recalled from Oklahoma City of the AHL on March 17.

Hartikainen, 20, drafted 163rd overall by the Oilers in 2008, not only scored his first NHL goal in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames Saturday, he's seldom looked out of place since being summoned from the minors.

"I'm feeling pretty good so far," said Hartikainen, who has averaged more than 16 minutes of ice time per game with the Oilers.

"I'm in my first year. I'm a sixth-rounder, so I didn't expect anything, but when I saw guys being lost to injuries, I started thinking about it, that I might get a chance this year."

When he attended training camp in September, the six-foot-one, 215-pound Hartikainen was considered a long shot to get anywhere near a roster spot with the Oilers this season.

But after forwards Taylor Hall, Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner went down with season-ending injuries, the door of opportunity swung open for Hartikainen.

So far, he's made the most of it.

"You do have to seize the moment," head coach Tom Renney said. "You can see the depth of a player's confidence, first and foremost, by how they apply themselves.

"You can see the depth of their passion to play by how they apply themselves. You can see how badly they want to be in this league by how they apply themselves. All of those things on the ice, yes, but also in the dressing room, in the weight room, on the bus and on the plane. All those kinds of things.

"This kid is all-in. It's that simple. This kid wants to be an Edmonton Oiler as soon as he possibly can be on a full-time basis, and he's playing every game with the relative importance that is has."

Hartikainen had already started making a name for himself in Oklahoma City, scoring 17-25-42 in 66 games with the Barons, when the call came from Edmonton.

He had not only delivered the gritty, physical game the Oilers expected from him in the AHL, he'd shown better-than-expected offensive instincts than many thought he possessed. The native of Kuopio, Finland has delivered more of the same in his first five NHL games with a goal and an assist.

"That's my game," Hartikainen said. "I'm battling hard in the corners every game and I try to drive hard to the net and shoot the puck and try to get my goals.

"I'm confident with my offensive play. I create chances every game. I got my first goal and I'm happy and more relaxed now. I even scored more in practice this morning."

Against the Calgary, he took a pass from Jordan Eberle, bulled his way past veteran Cory Sarich and zipped a shot over the shoulder of Miikka Kiprusoff on the short side.

"He plays hard," said Andrew Cogliano. "He seems like the typical kind of Finnish guy. He takes pucks to the net. His skill is pretty good. He's been pretty impressive. I like watching him play.

"This is a time when guys like him can establish themselves for next year. I think he's surprised a lot of guys in the dressing room."

With Hall, Hemsky and Gagner gone for the year and captain Shawn Horcoff, Colin Fraser and J.F. Jacques banged up, Edmonton's forward lines have been in a state of constant flux.

Hartikainen played right wing on a line with Eberle and Chris VandeVelde against the Flames, and Renney will likely go with that trio Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings.

"They're hungry and they don't want to make mistakes," Renney said of Hartikainen and fellow call-ups VandeVelde, Ryan O'Marra and defenceman Jeff Petry.

"They want to play hard. They want to play well. They want to leave a good impression. That's all a good thing."

Completely ready or not, Hartikainen isn't spending a lot of time thinking about how or why he's in the NHL right now. He's simply trying to make the most of the opportunity.

"I feel I'm ready," he said. "Of course, I have to develop my skills, my skating. This summer is going to be hard work for me.

"If I get a little bit faster, I definitely can play over here. These five games, it's been good. I've seen I can do it."

M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

Active Member
Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2059
Location: Calgary AB Canada
By: Likes:

Oilers' call-ups deserved Saturday's win

By ROBERT TYCHKOWSK, QMI Agency, April 4 2011

They're understaffed and over-matched and being force fed a steady diet of humility and defeat, but Tom Renney's collection of rookies, journeymen and American Hockey League call-ups doesn't quit.

They've worked as hard as anyone they've played since their stars went down and the Oklahoma Airlift began, but because of gaping holes where their skill and experience should be, they had nothing to show for it but loss after loss after heartbreaking loss.

They deserved Saturday night.

They needed that win a lot more than Vancouver did, and it showed. During the game as well as after it.

"At some point you look around at the guys in the locker-room and see how much they're pouring into every game," said winger Ryan Jones. "And you just want them to get some sort of victory."

You know it's a good room when players want to win for the guy in the next stall as badly as they want to win for themselves.
And that was the mood after Edmonton upset the President's Trophy winners 4-1 on Saturday's nationally televised stage.

"I'm really happy for the guys," said Magnus Paajarvi. "We've worked so hard. That's what you have to do in this league, you have to give yourself the chance to have the same battle level, even higher, than the other team. Then you get games like that -- goals, momentum. Just a really, really good victory."

Some will argue that Edmonton didn't get Vancouver's best game -- that they took the Oilers for granted two days after clinching first overall -- and that might be true to some extent, but it doesn't matter. What matters to the likes of Linus Omark, Liam Reddox, Teemu Hartikainen and Chris VandeVelde is that their best game really can be good enough.

"The whole night had opportunity written all over it," said head coach Tom Renney. "We responded well to that and that's a team that's growing up before your eyes.

"All we've ever suggested is that this team would do that for its fans. Some of the faces have changed, there's no doubt about that, but we are growing up in front of people's eyes and gaining the respect that we deserve."

The foot soldiers weren't bit players in the win, either. VandeVelde played 20:16, Reddox 19:15 (4:10 of it shorthanded). Hartikainen had a sweet assist and drew a penalty shot. Jeff Petry was plus 1-in 19:10 minutes of work.

"The call-ups have done really well," said Renney. "I don't think there's a guy here who hasn't contributed in his own way to help us stay competitive.

"You can go through all of them, from Taylor Chorney to Petry, VandeVelde doing a nice job for us at centre ice, showing us he has a two-way mentality. Ryan O'Marra with some size up the middle and an ability to win faceoffs. Every one of them has contributed in one way or the other."

That's why nights like Saturday in Vancouver are so special.

"They're really working and really trying to engage themselves in a game plan that will give us some success," said Renney. "They know that they're under some scrutiny in terms of what the long-term picture looks like, but they've really kept the team game in the forefront. I think that's a credit to them. It would be really nice to see them bang off a few wins down the stretch."

M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

Active Member
Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2059
Location: Calgary AB Canada
7 posts :: Page 1 of 1