The Importance of Minor Hockey, News (Oakville Rangers Hockey Club)

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The Importance of Minor Hockey
Submitted By John Verdon on Tuesday, August 01, 2017
This is the time of year when minor hockey club websites announce the drafting, signings and scholarships of their top alumni.  Profiles and background stories are written and the players’ respective accomplishments are deservedly recognized and celebrated. But, what about the other 99.6% of kids who have spent years in rinks – the kids who are now headed to university intramural teams and beer leagues?  Well, let me suggest that this is where you actually find the real power of hockey, the real gift of hockey and some of the most important hockey stories.

About a week ago, I was having a beer in my buddy’s backyard – a guy I met through minor hockey incidentally.  While we were sitting there, we received an email from another buddy (who we met through minor hockey) who was hosting four 17 year old boys (including our own) up at his cottage.  Looking at the picture of the four boys that was sent to us, he said, ‘you know Johnny – this is the real story of minor hockey.’  You know what?  He is right and so, I decided to write!

 All four boys met back in Minor Atom.  From that point, their journeys’ took them to different teams from AE to AA; to four different high schools and high school hockey; to house league; to the GTHL and back again.  Along the way, they won some impressive hardware; we coached some of their teams; they had a ton of fun; made memories and they are now friends for life.  That is a great ride and story in itself but it doesn’t end there. 

Additionally, today they are all heavily into physical fitness; they are all great students who are off to different universities; they are all (somewhat) respectable kids who know how to work with others; they all understand the importance of discipline, team, determination and effort and they will all enjoy hockey for decades to come.  This story, along with literally millions of similar stories, is the reason why minor hockey is so important despite all its flaws. 

Minor hockey is helping to create great young men and women.

So, sincere congratulations and good luck to the elite few who were drafted or signed – we’ll be pulling for you.  But also, ‘cheers’ to the rest of you who just wrapped up your minor hockey careers.  I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours and hope that you can find a way to give back to the game sometime in the future.

 

John Verdon

Oakville Rangers Hockey Club - President

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