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WSU Owl's Benefit Skate to Help Fight Cancer


by posted 02/25/2020
Bruce Landon Book Signing - Feb 29th, 10a - 1p

Many professional hockey players have gone on to write books after their career on the ice has ended. Bruce Landon never wanted to. It was only with the urging of his beloved, late daughter, Tammy Jacobson-Landon, that he decided to put his memories on the page.

Landon, a retired professional ice hockey goalie and longtime part-owner, president and general manager of the former local hockey team, the Springfield Falcons, will be signing copies of his book,  “The Puck Stops Here – My (Not So) Minor League Life,” at Amelia Park Arena on Feb. 29th from 10am to 1pm. Landon said this is the first event in Westfield.

“The important thing is getting the message out about the book and my daughter,” Landon said.

Landon began writing the book in May 2017, after telling Jacobson-Landon stories about his life.

“Dad, you have to start writing this stuff down,” Landon quoted her as having said to him. With her motivation, he did just that.

“It was something that she wanted me to do, and I didn’t really want to, but she encouraged me,” Landon told Reminder Publishing. He said he didn’t want to write “a typical hockey book with lots of statistics.”

“It’s a lot of behind-the-scenes. People will be surprised by the openness,” Landon said. “I talk about growing up in Canada. There will be a lot of surprises.”

Jacobson-Landon continued to encourage her father to finish the book, even after her cancer diagnosis in 2018. Landon finished the book shortly before her death in Feb. 2019 at the age of 43. The book was published in June 2019.

“I know she’s smiling down at me,” Landon said of his daughter. “It was a great way to stay connected to her while I was writing the book and a great way to stay connected when I do these signings.”

“The Puck Stops Here – My (Not So) Minor League Life,” is available for $19.95 at signing events; the Springfield Thunderbirds team store during home games; Steve’s Sports at 94 Front St., West Springfield; or directly from Bruce Landon at   or 433-4625.

Proceeds from the book go to the Tammy Jacobson-Landon “I Can Hear You Now” Scholarship Fund at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech.


by posted 02/15/2020
Evaluation Procedure and Parent Survey

All,

The evaluation documents shared at the evaluation open forum have been posted to the website for everyone's review.  Please, take some time to review them and prepare your player for the skills that evaluators will be looking for.

We are requesting your feedback. The Parent Opinion Survey  is used to provide the Executive Board feedback on your child's coaching staff. The results are held in complete confidence but help to ensure that our coaches meet the overall goals and standards of our program. Your comments are very important and this is one way we gather information to make our organization better for all players. These forms should be submitted prior to the evaluation period starting on March 9th.


Tim McMahon
WYHA Communications Director


413-454-4615 (c)


by posted 02/14/2020
Executive Board Nominations and Elections

WYHA,

Annually in March WYHA holds an election for one half of the Executive Board. This year the positions of 1st Vice President, Finance Director, and Communication Director. It takes a number of volunteers to run this organization but the roles of the Executive Board are vital ensuring a smooth operation each season.

1st Vice President and LTS/LTP Coordinator
The 1st Vice President's primary purpose is to assist the President in every endeavor. He/She must be knowledgeable of the duties and responsibilities of the President. The 1st Vice President will assume the duties and responsibilities of the President in case of an absence or incapacity of the President. This officer may be asked to assume additional responsibilities, as assigned, by the President and/or the Executive Board of Directors. The 1st Vice President is also responsible for cultivating new leadership for the association and overseeing the LTS/LTP Coordinator and the ACE Coach Coordinator.

Director of Finance

The Director of Finance shall be responsible for the overall direction of WYHA Financial Affairs, including but not limited to fee administration, disbursements, preparing financial information for Board Reviews (quarterly) and tax returns. The Director of Finance is also responsible for the following duties:

  • Prepare and review an annual operating budget for the Association.
  • By March of each year, recommend the first ice payment fees for the Executive Boards review and approval, for the upcoming season.  The second ice payment will be announced upon completion of the annual budget for the October board meeting.
  • Approves all specific expenditures in conformance with the Executive Boards approval.
  • Is also responsible for pursuing delinquent accounts within accordance to the Executive Boards policies and procedures.
  • Coordinating with outside businesses for a WYHA Corporate Sponsor.
  • Disbursement coordinator of cash outlays upon the Executive Board of Directors Approval.
  • Maintain cash-payment log.
  • Disbursement of funds to team representatives for timekeepers and referees.
  • Disbursement of any budgeted funds to each team to help defray the costs of tournament play.
  • Perform monthly bank reconciliations and preparation of Financial Statements for review and comparison against Annual Budget.
  • Investigation and collection of outstanding balances.
  • Works closely with and oversees the Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Fundraising Coordinator.


Director of Communications

The Director of Communication shall be responsible for maintaining an open communication between WYHA, Amelia Park, the outside media and the association’s members. The Director of Communication shall be responsible for the following duties:

  • Plan and implement a contingency plan in case of bad weather, with the Executive Boards approval.
  • Maintain a workable internal communication system that would inform the members of all activities of the WYHA.
  • Works closely with the entire Executive Board of Directors and their communication needs throughout the season.
  • Works closely with and oversees the Web Master, Public Relations Representative, Team Rep Coordinator and GSL Representative.
  • Oversee media and community relations as necessary.

 

You can submit a nomination application online with this link:

https://www.leagueathletics.com/UserForm.asp?RegID=181353&n=&org=westfieldhockey.org

Forms must be submitted by March 1st.

 


Tim McMahon
WYHA Communications Director

wyhamcmahon@gmail.com
413-454-4615 (c)


by posted 02/13/2020
2020-2021 Player Evaluation Schedule

WEEK 1

Date

Time

Level

Type

Last Names

Goalies

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/9

(MON)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

8U - MITE

SKILLS

TBD

N/A

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

8U - MITE

SKILLS

TBD

N/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/10

(TUES)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

8U - MITE

SKILLS

TBD

N/A

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

8U - MITE

SKILLS

TBD

N/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/10

(TUES)

6:50PM – 7:40 PM

12U -PEWEE

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

7:40PM – 8:30 PM

12U -PEWEE

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/11

(WED)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

10U - SQUIRT

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

10U SQUIRT

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/11

(WED)

 

 

6:50PM – 7:40 PM

12U - PEWEE

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

7:40PM – 8:30 PM

12U – PEWEE

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/12

(THURS)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

8U - MITES

SCRIMMAGE

Posted on 3/10

TBD

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

8U - MITES

SCRIMMAGE

Posted on 3/10

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/12

(THURS)

6:50PM – 7:40 PM

10U - SQUIRTS

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

7:40PM – 8:30 PM

10U

SQUIRTS

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/13

(FRI)

5:00PM – 5:50PM

14U – BANTAMS

SKILLS

TBD

ALL

5:50PM –

6:40PM

14U – BANTAMS

SKILLS

TBD

ALL

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/13

(FRI)

6:50PM – 7:50 PM

GOALIES

SKILLS

ALL

ALL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEEK 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/16

(MON)

5:40PM – 6:50 PM

BANTAM

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/17

(TUES)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

SQUIRTS

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

SQUIRTS

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/17 (TUES)

6:50PM – 7:40 PM

PEWEE

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

7:40PM – 8:30 PM

PEWEE

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/18 (WED)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

SQUIRTS

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

SQUIRTS

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/19

(THURS)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

PEWEE

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

PEWEE

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/19 (THURS)

 

6:50PM – 7:50 PM

BANTAM

SKILLS & SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

8:00PM – 8:50 PM

BANTAM

SKILLS & SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


by posted 02/11/2020
Mite White Team Won The Jr. Thunderbirds Mite Cup Jamboree


by posted 01/24/2020
Summer Hockey Clinic hosted by Kacey Bellamy
 

Amelia Park Arena Summer Hockey Clinic hosted by local Olympian Kacey Bellamy! The Summer hockey clinic is a 3 day clinic (July 22nd-24th) that includes both on ice time and off ice time.

Age groups for this camp will be split into two groups 8-12yrs & 13-17yrs.

The clinic will conclude on July 24th with a class for Parents and the participants from 1pm-2pm.

Clinic dates and times are: 

  • July 22nd - 9am-12:30pm
  • July 23rd - 9am-12:30pm
  • July 24th- 9am-12:30pm with parent and participant class from 1pm-2pm

Cost is $250 pp.

Summer Hockey Clinic Hosted by Kacey Bellamy Flyer


by posted 01/21/2020
Congratulations to Squirt Black - Fire & Ice Champions!!!!


by posted 01/19/2020
12U Black Runner-up at Avon Hockey Thanksgiving Tournament

12U Black Runner-up at Avon Thanksgiving Tournament 12/1/19


by posted 12/02/2019
Ice Breaker Tournament Stars

MITE RED CHAMPIONS AT HOLY NAME STARS ICEBREAKER TOURNAMENT

NOVEMBER 24, 2019

 

 

SQUIRT RED RUNNER-UP AT HOLY NAME STARS ICEBREAKER TOURNAMENT

NOVEMBER 24, 2019

 

by posted 11/25/2019
Westfield Jr Bombers 10U White Champions @ CMA 3v3 Tournament

WESTFIELD JR BOMBERS 10U WHITE TEAM CHAMPIONS AT CHARLES MOORE ARENA 3 VS 3 TOURNAMENT
NOVEMBER 10, 2019


by posted 11/13/2019
Westfield Planet Hockey Camp 2020

Hockey players and parents:

It’s time to secure your 2020 Summer Hockey Camp…at a DISCOUNT. See our Early Registration Specials below and register today for a $99 deposit! Hurry, offers expire soon.

 

We invite you to join Planet Hockey this summer in Westfield, MA

 

Dates

August 10-14, 2020 (M-F)

Location/Rink

Amelia Park Arena

Host

Planet Hockey & area Hockey Associations

Tuition

$529

Discount

$30

Final Tuition

only $499  

Discount Code

PHSAVE30

Details

View camp details & features             Register

 

View all 2020 Planet Hockey Summer Camp Locations – click here

 

EARLY REGISTRATION SPECIALS! Our TOP promotion of the year...Register NOW and you can get:

Early Registration Special - secure your camp spot for only $99 – expires 12/31/19

  1. Receive your Camp Discount (see above)
  2. Your balance is not due until 60 days prior to camp.
  3. Become a Camp Rep and earn a discounted or free camp – start now
  4. Custom Sportswear Special – Ends 11/22/19

 

Early Registration Special - Register before December 31st and you can reserve your camp spot for only $99 (deposit)…AND receive your exclusive Camp Discount! Camp balance not due until 60 days prior to camp. Simply select this payment option at check-out.

 

Camp Discount - Must enter applicable Coupon Code from above. Discounts cannot be combined. Largest discount always applies. Coupon Code must be applied at time of registration. No refunds/credit given for missed discounts. Goaltenders – do not enter above discount code, goaltenders automatically receive a $100 discount (off of full tuition).

 

Custom Sportswear Bonus – Jerseys, Socks & Shorts. No additional cost to customize sublimate with your name and number! Order custom Planet Hockey sportswear with your NAME & NUMBER in time for the Holidays! Registrations must be received by November 22nd. View Sportswear

 

Register now & Camp details

 

SPECIAL CAMP FEATURES
3 ELITE Camps in 1
 | TOTAL Player Development

You receive: Power Skating – Quickness, Mobility, Speed & Efficiency | Stickhandling | Scoring | Small Games | Team Play | Body Contact, Battles & Puck Protection | Professional/Certified International Staff | Dryland Training | Video Lectures & Focus Sessions | Personalized Player Evaluation | Free Training Video Clips | Free Camp Jersey | STP Program | Pre-Camp Preparation Workbook & Videos | Final Day Game & much more!

Supplemental Training Program (STP) offered at this camp! Receive 1 additional hour of on ice skills training the first 4 days of camp (4-day program). This optional 'add on' program will conveniently extend your day by 1 hour. Players LOVE this program. Limited to 30 total players.

All New ELITE SuperCamp format - All 2020 summer programs are ELITE workshops specifically designed for players who are serious about improving their hockey skills. These ELITE camps follow the same format and methods we use when training NHL and European professional players. This camp will be instructed by Planet Hockey Certified Instructors.

 

OTHER PLANET HOCKEY SUMMER PROGRAMS

 

HURRY...CAMPS FILL QUICKLY

We expect camps to fill quickly, so register before it is too late. Planet Hockey limits group sizes, so REGISTER NOW to ensure your spot and discount in the upcoming 2020 Planet Hockey SUPER Skills Camp.

 

See you at Planet Hockey this summer!

 

Planet Hockey, Inc.

720-304-3880

planethockey.com

Professional Hockey Training • Worldwide Camps • European Hockey Tours • Planet Hockey Ranch • Consulting


by posted 11/08/2019
Westfield 350th Parade


by posted 05/21/2019
WYHA Jr Bomber Logo Merchandise Available From Gateway

Mike Shea and Jon Millard have been working over the summer to secure a new vender for WYHA Jr Bomber merchandise. We're happy to report that we've partnered with Gateway at the Olympia to provide this service. This will allow families to see merchandise that is available but also take advantage of their services like custom orders, printing, and embroidery as a full service vender.

 

New this Season WYHA Merchandise will from Gateway Hardware Sporting Goods at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield.

 
In their newly expanded store they will carry a variety of WYHA Jr Bomber Logo merchandise. They will also offer custom printing and embroidery onsite.
 
 
Here is a couple of new items that can be found at the store.
 
 
We'll be organizing an appareal fitting night at Amelia Park in September so families can try on merchandise for proper sizing.
 

by posted 08/16/2018
Kacey Bellamy's Keys to Development

No matter where hockey has taken two-time Olympian Kacey Bellamy over the past decade – and it’s taken her an awful lot of places – home is always Westfield, Mass. 

Westfield is where Bellamy grew up playing roller hockey with her siblings. It’s where she skated with them on the pond. And that’s where the memories of developing her skills take her when she’s thinking about playing on her family’s backyard rink west of Springfield. 

“I was actually thinking about this the other day,” she said after coming off a recent trip home from her Team USA residency in Tampa, Fla. “I would say right around the age of 6, or 7 or 8, going out in the pond in the winter or the backyard rink when I was in sixth or seventh grade, getting out there before and after school with my siblings and my neighbors. That's when I truly fell in love with the game. Such a great childhood memory.”

Always Wanting to be Better

Westfield is where the now 30-year-old Bellamy fell in love with the game, but it is her work ethic that has taken her across the country and around the world.

“I would say prep school is where it started, when I was around 15 or 16,” she says of her days at the Berkshire School, which were elegantly referenced in her popular post for The Players’ Tribune in July 2016. “I didn't understand if I was really good at hockey or if I just really enjoyed it. But I was getting closer to college and realized I was getting attention from D-I colleges. Work ethic and working toward something was a big thing for me at Berkshire. I always told myself I wanted to be the best at whatever I was doing. And, if I wasn't, I made sure I was going to work hard to get there.”

In many ways, work ethic is as much a talent as shooting and skating and passing. For Bellamy, that work ethic has continued to fuel every effort of developing her game, too.

“My motto on the ice is I try to go into every game like I'm the best,” she says. “But I practice like I'm No. 2. Because I always wanting to be better.”

Gritty Game

In her own mind, though she has put up points and scored two goals in Team USA’s most recent Women’s World Championship win over Canada this past April, Bellamy is more of a grinder.

“I would like to say I'm pretty gritty,” she says. “I think of myself more as a passer, too. I grew up playing a forward role, but I always wanted to be the last person back. I never wanted to get scored on.”

The effort hasn’t been lost on her teammates, either. When asked who the toughest player to play against, captain Meghan Duggan, a Danvers, Mass. native, spoke volumes: “I’d say Kacey Bellamy. She’s just so solid, so physical and has a great stick.”

“I think that working hard and having a good attitude,” says Bellamy, “those are two things you can control in any situation.”

Battling Adversity

That doesn’t mean the road has always been easy, either.

“I've had a few years where maybe I wasn't playing as much as other players and I wasn't sure of my ability,” Bellamy says. “I lost a little bit of confidence there around the last Olympics. But I think I worked a lot on my mental training and honed in on what I knew I needed to work on. For me, the biggest thing was mental. Physically, I know I have the skills. If I just kept working hard at them, they were going to improve.”

Developing her game and tying to improve is a way of life – whether that’s her first pass out of the defensive zone or shooting at the other end. Constantly.

“I'm here in Tampa, and I pick out little things that I know I need to work on,” she says. “I'm always, always working on my shooting because I know I don't have the hardest shot. But, if I can work on the quick release or getting it and putting it into areas, it works just as well as having the hardest shot on the team. I work on tiny little things here and there – like the precision of my passing. Or the quickness of getting a pass off. And not holding on to it too much. I'm always tweaking my game and I think it's important at the highest level. If you're not trying to get better or make your teammates better, what are we doing this for?

Bellamy’s Biggest Hockey Tip

“Well, I think when you're growing up you can always work on your speed,” she says. “I think over the last six or seven years I've always tried to do extra sprints or extra conditioning because I think at this level speed is the most important thing. Once you get to that age and you maybe don't think you're going to get any faster, it comes to the off-ice training. For me, the off-ice training and off-ice and lifting has helped me tremendously to get to where I am today. I was able to beat someone to the puck, or, when I had the puck, beat them to the middle of the ice.”  

Bellamy’s Biggest Life Tip

“Do what you love, no matter what that is,” she says. “Do it to the fullest. If you do love it and have a dream, go for it. You were obviously put here for a reason, and, you’re passionate about it, go and in life go for it.”

Staying in the Present, Preparing for PyeongChang

Next up for Duggan, Bellamy and Team USA, which will continue to train in Tampa through the naming of the Olympic team, is looking ahead to 2018. In Sochi, Team USA lost a heartbreaking overtime game to rival Canada and would earn silver in the process.

“This year, and the last three years, we just focus on getting better,” Bellamy says. “We try to put that game behind us. For me, it was such a bittersweet game because it was an amazing women's hockey game. As hard as it was to lose that game, it was still beneficial to our game and we learned so much. Where we are today is incredible and we're just trying to look forward. We don't even look to a week or two from now. Everything that we do, we stay in the present. We’re excited for it. I love this year. This is the best year of our lives. We're living together for six months and training and getting better and bonding, and I don't want it to go anywhere. I kind of want time to stand still. But, at the same time, all the work you put forth, you want to showcase it.”

No matter the outcome, Bellamy will look forward to enjoying the ride.

“It would be my third Olympics, and the team isn't picked yet, but, hopefully in January, it will all work itself out,” she says. “I just look at it as a complete honor, especially with everything going on in the world. I take a lot of time and think about how special the Olympics are. It's an amazing thing to be a part of. To be able to do it with my teammates and some of my best friends, it's hard to explain. It's just wonderful.”

Should Team USA return with another medal, there’s a good bet one of the first things Bellamy would be thinking about is taking it home to Westfield.


by posted 10/20/2017
My 13 simple rules for hockey parents everywhere

My 13 simple rules for hockey parents everywhere

BuccigrossBy John Buccigross
ESPN.com
Archive

Women and men used to gaze up at the stars, awed at the sight and size of the universe, much like Detroit Red Wings fitness trainers used to be in awe at the sight and size of Brett Hull's butt during his final Motor City days.

My understanding of the sky's map is limited to the Big Dipper (good nickname for Buffalo's Tyler Myers, by the way) and the constellation Orion. Orion is located on the celestial equator and can been seen across the world, much like Pat Quinn's head. Its name, Orion, refers to a hunter in Greek mythology. Since my late teenage years, whether I am in Mingo Junction, Ohio, or Vancouver, British Columbia, I always look up and locate Orion. It's my satellite to home and youth.

I first became aware of Orion from the now bankrupt movie production company Orion Pictures Corporation, which made movies from 1978-1998. I remember the company's animated intro prior to the start of a movie: stars from the constellation would twirl into the letter "O" before the entire word "Orion" was spelled out.

It seemed as if 46 percent of movies produced in the late '70s and early '80s, my HBO sweet spot years, were produced by Orion. I am sure this number is probably much lower. "Back to School," "10," "Hoosiers," "Platoon," "No Way Out" and others all began with the animated Orion logo. I would like to publicly thank the now defunct movie company and HBO for my astronomy acumen and the indelible image of Bo Derek jogging on the beach with wet, braided hair. ("Before the Internet, there was HBO." Now there is a slogan to believe in.)

Today, kids, teenagers, adults and Sean Avery don't so much stare up to the trees, clouds, airplanes, stars and 6-foot-9 NHL linesman Mike Cvik as much as they used to; now, most stare down at their cell phones and personal digital assistants (Jim Balsillie's PDA BlackBerry, yo). As a result of all this "looking down," we miss so much up in the heavens. We even look down at these things during dinner, hockey games and Heisman Trophy presentations. People even look down at their PDAs while they drive. Who needs a moon roof on a clear summer night when I can play Tetris on I-95 while I soar through the E-ZPASS lane?

This is my gigantic preamble to why you should one day sign up your young son or daughter to play youth hockey at a local rink near you. If nothing else, it gets them away from electronics and teaches them a small slice of humanity that they can take forward through life, a life with more heart and less battery power. The rink's cold robs electronics of their battery power and signal reception, anyway.

So, if you are a first-time hockey parent, or dream of one day spending more than $10,000 and sacrificing weekends for a decade of glamorous youth or "minor" hockey, here are 13 important things you need to know about the youth hockey universe -- and hockey in general -- to help speed up the assimilation process in joining the "Congregation of Independent Insane in the Membrane Hockey Community Union" or COIIITMHCU. If you move those letters around you eventually get Chicoutimi. A miracle from the star-filled heavens above. (I'm sure my fellow COIIITMHCU members will offer even more, and we can post next week.)

1. Under no circumstances will hockey practice ever be cancelled. Ever. Even on days when school is cancelled, practice is still on. A game may be cancelled due to inclement weather because of travel concerns for the visiting team, but it would have to rain razor blades and bocce balls to cancel hockey practice at your local rink. It's good karma to respect the game.

2. Hockey is an emotional game and your child has the attention span of a chipmunk on NyQuil. The hockey coach will yell a bit during practice; he might even yell at your precious little Sparky. As long as there is teaching involved and not humiliation, it will be good for your child to be taught the right way, with emphasis.

3. Hockey is a very, very, very, very difficult game to play. You are probably terrible at it. It takes high skill and lots of courage, so lay off your kid. Don't berate them. Be patient and encourage them to play. Some kids need more time to learn how to ride the bike, but, in the end, everyone rides a bike about the same way.

Your kids are probably anywhere from age 4-8 when they first take up hockey. They will not get a call from Boston University coach Jack Parker or receive Christmas cards from the Colorado Avalanche's director of scouting. Don't berate them. Demand punctuality and unselfishness for practice and games. That's it. Passion is in someone, or it isn't. One can't implant passion in their child. My primary motive in letting my kids play hockey is exercise, physical fitness and the development of lower-body and core strength that will one day land them on a VH1 reality show that will pay off their student loans or my second mortgage.

4. Actually, I do demand two things from my 10-year-old Squirt, Jackson. Prior to every practice or game, as he turns down AC/DC's "Big Jack," gets out of the car and makes his way to the trunk to haul his hockey bag inside a cold, Connecticut rink, I say, "Jack, be the hardest, most creative and grittiest worker ... and be the one having the most fun." That might be four things, but you know what I mean.

5. Your kids should be dressing themselves and tying their own skates by their second year of Squirt. Jack is 67 pounds with 0 percent body fat and arms of linguini, and he can put on, take off and tie his own skates. If he can, anyone can. I don't go in the locker room anymore. Thank goodness; it stinks in there.

6. Do not fret over penalties not called during games and don't waste long-term heart power screaming at the referees. My observational research reveals the power-play percentage for every Mite hockey game ever played is .0000089 percent; for Squirts, .071 percent. I prefer referees to call zero penalties.

7. Yell like crazy during the game. Say whatever you want. Scream every kind of inane instruction you want to your kids. They can't hear you. In the car ride home, ask them if they had fun and gently promote creativity and competiveness, but only after you take them to Denny's for a Junior Grand Slam breakfast or 7-Eleven for a Slurpee. Having a warm breakfast after an early morning weekend game will become one of your most syrupy sweet memories.

8. Whenever possible, trade in your kids' ice skates and buy used skates, especially during those growing years and even if you can afford to buy new skates every six months. Your kids don't need $180 skates and a $100 stick no matter what your tax bracket is. They will not make them better players.

9. Missing practice (like we stated above) or games is akin to an Irish Catholic missing Mass in 1942. We take attendance at hockey games very seriously. Last week, the Islanders' Brendan Witt was hit by an SUV in Philadelphia. Witt got up off the pavement and walked to Starbucks for a coffee, and then later played against the Flyers that night. Let me repeat that: BRENDAN WITT WAS HIT BY AN SUV ... AND PLAYED THAT NIGHT! Re-read that sentence 56 times a night to your child when they have a case of the sniffles and want to stay home to watch an "iCarly" marathon. By, the way Philadelphia police cited Witt for two minutes in jail for obstruction. Witt will appeal.

10. Teach your kids not to celebrate too much after a goal if your team is winning or losing by a lot. And by all means, tell them celebrate with the team. After they score, tell them not to skate away from their teammates like soccer players. Find the person who passed you the puck and tell him or her, "Great pass." We have immediate group hugs in hockey following a short, instinctive reaction from the goal scorer. I am proud of my boy for a lot of things, but I am most proud at how excited he gets when a teammate scores a goal. He is Alex Ovechkin in this regard.

11. There is no such thing as running up the score in hockey. This is understood at every level. It's very difficult to score goals and unexplainably exhilarating when one does. Now, if we get to 14-1, we may want to take our foot off the gas a tad.

12. Unless their femur is broken in 16 places, Mites or Squirts should not lie on the ice after a fall on the ice or against the boards. Attempt to get up as quickly as one can and slowly skate to the bench.

13. Do not offer cash for goals. This has no upside. Passion and love and drive cannot be taught or bought. I do believe a certain measure of toughness and grit can be slowly encouraged and eventually taught. Encourage your kid to block shots and to battle hard in the corners. It will serve them well in life.

Enjoy the rink. Keep it fun, keep it in perspective and enjoy the madness. In this digital world of electronics, you may find hockey to be the most human endeavor you partake in. Cell phones run on batteries. Hockey players run on blood. Blood is warmer. Welcome.

John Buccigross' e-mail address -- for questions, comments or crosschecks -- is john.buccigross@espn.com.


by timothy mcmahon posted 09/30/2017
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