As we roll through the summer, my son and I are anticipating the upcoming hockey season. With fond memories of the Canucks almost winning the Stanley Cup, it is difficult not to have “what if” moments when I see my son out on the ice. It is a nice dream many hockey parents share, as long as it is just a dream.
My son plays hockey and I am a hockey coach. I do my best to coach and teach, and strive to provide a good hockey experience for all the players. Playing hockey has not only been an amazing experience for my son, but also for me. He has had great coaches and made some good friends. With over 25 years coaching experience in other sports, I have found coaching hockey to be different. I appreciate the support from the hockey community which accepts, encourages and believes that each person has something special to offer the organization.
Richmond is fortunate to have two very strong, and very well-run hockey associations to choose from,
I am often asked “Richmond or Seafair? Which hockey association is better and why?” Since they are both good, the question comes down to which one is the best fit for your child and your family.
Richmond Minor Hockey and Seafair Minor Hockey. Dedicated volunteers who have the best interests of our children in mind run both associations. They offer the opportunity to play, learn and develop in a fun, safe and sportsmanlike environment.
Here are some tips:
•Go online and review both websites and registration packages.
•Attend the “Try Hockey” events that each association sets up for interested players.
•Ask your friends how they made their decision. They will tell you their personal reasons – sometimes it is money, particular coaches, schedules, who you know, perhaps just because friends are on the same team or it might be as simple as orange versus blue!
Both associations ask their players to agree to these basic principles:
•Play by the rules of hockey and in the spirit of the game. Show respect for on-ice officials, and abide by their decisions.
•Control your temper. Fighting and “mouthing off” can be detrimental to the team and spoil the activity for everyone.
•Respect opponents and do not intentionally hurt or try to hurt any other player.
•Be a true team player. Respect team members and do not intentionally do things that can spoil the fun of the game for them.
•Remember that winning isn’t everything – that having fun, improving skills, making friends and doing your best are also important.
•Acknowledge all good plays and performances – those of your team and your opponents.
•Remember that coaches are there to help you. Accept their decisions and show them respect.
Parents should observe these principles of fair play:
•Do not force your child to participate in hockey.
•Your child plays hockey for his or her enjoyment, not yours.
•Encourage your child to play by the rules and to resolve conflict without resorting to hostility or violence.
•Teach your child that doing one’s best is as important as winning so that your child will never feel defeated by the outcome of the game.
•Make your child feel like a winner every time by offering praise for competing fairly and hard.
•Never ridicule or yell at your child for making a mistake or losing a game.
•Remember that children learn by example. You should applaud good plays and performances by both your child’s team and their opponents.
•Never question the official’s judgment or honesty in public.
•Support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from children’s hockey games.
•Show respect and appreciation for the volunteers who give their time to hockey on behalf of your child.
Determine if your schedule allows you to get them to the practices on time. Hockey season is September – March and the schedule is not finalized until early October. Depending on age, expect a minimum commitment of twice per week. There is preparation in ensuring your child’s equipment is clean, maintained and ready for each practice.
Can you afford it? Hockey requires a commitment to the team, ice time, and equipment before stepping on the ice. (There is help available for families that require assistance so that no children are excluded.)
Here is a guideline of costs:
Registration (depending on age and ice time): $260 – $780; Extra skills programs (depending on number of sessions and instructor): $80 – $800; Skates: $40 (used) – $400. Average new skate is $180; Shin Pads $30; Hockey Pants $34; Hockey Gloves $69; Practice Jersey (game jerseys will be provided) $20; CSA approved neck guard $16; Shoulder Pads/Chest Protector $50; Elbow Pads $30; Protective Cup (jock strap) built into shorts with Velcro to hold up socks $22; Hockey Socks $12; Leggings and undershirt $60; Water Bottle $5; CSA Approved Helmets with full face mask and chin guard (no bicycle helmets) $89; Hockey Stick (not plastic) $20; Equipment Bag $40 – $150. Goalies require additional equipment.
For children who are starting out, you can buy equipment packages from Canadian Tire. Cyclone Taylor Sports, Ice Level Sports and Sportchek sell all the equipment and can also provide assistance in size and fit. Some stores offer programs for trading in skates each year. There are also many places to buy used equipment.
Children register based on their age and only move up if they are exceeding their level:
Hockey 1 born 2006/2007
Hockey 2 born 2005
Hockey 3 born 2004
Hockey 4 born 2003
Atom born 2001/2002
Pee Wee born 1999/2000
Bantam born 1997/1998
Midget born 1994-1996
Juvenile born 1991-1993
What is Rep hockey? Higher-skilled players will typically play on a ‘representative’ (a “rep” or “travel”) team that will travel to play rep teams from other areas.
Now that you have made the big decision, take a moment and imagine many years from now, when the Cup is being raised. While you are daydreaming about this magic moment, remember your little one still needs help lacing up those skates!
Dave Gillis is the co-ordinator of Sport and Instructional Programming for the University of BC in the Department of Athletics and Recreation and a coach of Soccer, Softball, Football, and Hockey in both Richmond and Vancouver. For over 25 years Dave has been working with adults, youth and children in health, fitness and sports as both a professionally certified coach and master level trainer with IDEA, the International Association of Health and Fitness.