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Welcome to WYH's home on the web!
Welcome to the Westfield Youth Hockey Web Site.  This website is fully integrated with the GSL website and will load schedules directly from the GSL.
Evaluation Process Open Forum

New to Evaluations? Have questions about evalutions? 

Plan to attend an open forum!

Members of the evaluation committee will hold 2 open forums to answer all your questions.

Monday, 2/25 from 5:30 - 6:00pm

Thursday, 2/28, from 7:00 - 8:00pm

Both at Amelia Park

 

Mark your calendars!


by posted 02/19/2019
WYHA Board Meeting - February 20th @ 6:00pm

Westfield Youth Hockey

February 2019 Board Meeting Agenda

Approve January 2019 Minutes

President Report – Aaron Michelucci

  • Miscellaneous Updates
    • Fire and Ice final updates
  • Evaluation Committee Update
    • Schedule to be posted
    • Open forums to be scheduled - Monday 2/25, 5:30 - 6:00 PM and Thursday 3/28 from 7:00 - 8:00 PM 
    • Parent Evaluations
    • Coaches Evaluations
    • Coaches Applications
  • E-Board Nominations:
    • President
    • Second Vice President
    • Secretary
  • State Championship – District 6 Champions

1st Vice President Report – Chris Bard

  • LTS / LTP Update
  • Novice Update
  • Equipment Return

2nd Vice President Report – Mike Shea

  • Evaluation Schedule

Financial Director Report– Paul Braccialarghe

  • Financial update   

Communications Report – Tim McMahon

  • Registration for 2019-2020 season

 

Secretary Report – Kerri Tymeson

 

Fundraiser Report – Heidi Leonard

  • Miscellaneous Updates

 

GSL Report – Darrin Burniske

 

USA Hockey Report – Jennifer Ondrick  

  • Fee increase in 2019-2020 - USA Hockey - $40 to $46, Mass Hockey $8 to $10.50  due to new screeening requirements

 

Merchandise Report – John Millard

 

Miscellaneous / Open Forum – ALL

 


by posted 02/19/2019
Important Documents for End of Season

WYHA,

As we approach the final weeks of the season and with evaluations for next season around the corner there are a couple of important documents for you to consider. 

First, is the Parent Opinion Survey which is used to provide the Executive Board feedback on your child's coaching staff. The results are only seen by only the President and 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. Please, submit your feedback online prior to the registration period ending on March 5th.

Second, is the Coaching Application for those who would like to help out on the ice next season.  All prospective coaches must declare their intentions each season. These forms should be submitted online prior to the registration session ending on March 5th.

Lastly, is the WYHA Executive Board Nomination Form for those who would like to support our organization. The six elected positions serve for a period of 2 years with the election cycle alternating for half of those each year.  This year the position of President, 2nd Vice-President - Scheduler, and Secretary are to be elected.  Some of our current elected officers have agreed to run again.

President - Aaron Michelucci

2nd Vice President/Scheduler - Mike Shea
Secretary - Kerri Tymeson

For a description of these roles you can view a brief write-up on the board positions under documents.

Please, take some time to view these necessary documents which can be found online under the Forms tab on the left side of the webpage.

If you have any questions, feel free to talk to any Executive Board Member.


Thank you for taking the time to make our organization the best it can be.

Tim McMahon
WYHA Communication Director


by posted 02/17/2019
2019-2020 Season Evaluation Schedule

Date

Time

Level

Type

Last Names

Goalies

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/11

(MON)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

8U - MITE

SKILLS

TBD

N/A

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

8U - MITE

SKILLS

TBD

N/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/12

(TUES)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

8U - MITE

SKILLS

TBD

N/A

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

8U - MITE

SKILLS

 TBD

N/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/12

(TUES)

6:50PM – 7:40 PM

12U -PEWEE

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

7:40PM – 8:30 PM

12U -PEWEE

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/13

(WED)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

10U - SQUIRT

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

10U SQUIRT

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/13

(WED)

 

 

6:50PM – 7:40 PM

12U - PEWEE

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

7:40PM – 8:30 PM

12U – PEWEE

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/14

(THURS)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

8U - MITES

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

8U - MITES

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/14

(THURS)

6:50PM – 7:40 PM

10U - SQUIRTS

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

7:40PM – 8:30 PM

10U

SQUIRTS

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/15

(FRI)

5:20PM – 6:40PM

14U – BANTAMS

SKILLS & SCRIMMAGE

ALL

ALL

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/15

(FRI)

6:50PM – 7:50 PM

GOALIES

SKILLS

ALL

ALL

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/18

(MON)

5:20PM – 6:50 PM

BANTAM

SKILLS & SCRIMMAGE

ALL

ALL

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/19

(TUES)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

SQUIRTS

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

SQUIRTS

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/19 (TUES)

6:50PM – 7:40 PM

PEWEE

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

7:40PM – 8:30 PM

PEWEE

SKILLS

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/20 (WED)

5:00PM – 5:50 PM

SQUIRTS

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

5:50PM – 6:40 PM

SQUIRTS

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/20

(WED)

6:50PM – 7:40 PM

PEWEE

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

7:40PM – 8:30 PM

PEWEE

SCRIMMAGE

TBD

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/21 (THURS)

 

5:30PM – 6:30 PM

BANTAM

SCRIMMAGE (IF NECESSARY)

ALL

ALL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


by posted 02/16/2019
2019-2020 Season Registration Information

WYHA,

It has come time to prepare for next season. Tomorrow we will begin our online registration for the 2019-2020 season. The online registration period will begin Sunday, February 17th and will end Sunday, March 3rd. You must register before evaluations to be placed on a team next season.
 
Families looking to register their skater for the 2019-2020 season can go to the www.westfieldhockey.org web-site and click on the "Register Online" selection in the left-hand side navigation bar on the home page.
 

Registration Process (8U through 14U):
In order for a child to register with Westfield Youth Hockey Association, the following items must be completed by March 4th:
1. Select the appropriate level of play below and register online.
         6U & 8U:                 birth years 2011 and sooner
         Squirts:                   birth years 2009 & 2010
         Peewees:                 birth years 2007 & 2008
         Bantams:                birth years 2005 & 2006
2. Copy of Birth Certificate (If new to WYHA)
3. Jersey Order Form (if needed) & Payment
  •  Approximately, $178/set is the cost for purchase of home and away jerseys

4. Payment of WYHA Registration Fees
  •   $100 per skater for the first 2 skaters in a family 

  •   $50 for each additional immediate family member

The following items must be completed for September 1st
1. USA Hockey Registration
  • All skaters and coaches are required to register directly with USA Hockey. Online registration is available beginning in April.  Payment of $56.50 is made online via credit card.

  • Registration will not be complete and players will not be allowed to skate until registration number is submitted online through our website or the bar coded confirmation page is turned in.

2. First ice payment completed and paid in full.


Evaluation Schedule:
For those who are not familiar with our evaluation process, this is not a "try-out".  All registered skaters will be placed on a WYH team . . . no skater will be "cut".  The evaluation process allows us to place your skater on the appropriate team with players of comparable skill level. There will be three open forum sessions for parents and guardians to attend to learn more about the process, to be scheduled after February break.


Evaluations will run between Monday, March 11th and end on Thursday, March 21st.  The schedule will be posted on the our web-site.  Please consult the web-site periodically for schedule updates and pay attention that e-mail blasts that come from the association regarding evaluations.

All players at 10U level and higher must declare if they are going to tryout for Goalie or Skater. 12U and older skaters can choose to evaluate as either Defense or Forward. A player may only try out for one position, Goalie or Skater, and that is the position they will play for the entire season.
 
Cost:
The cost of registration will be $100.  There is not a registration fee for 6U (Novice) players.  We have a 3rd skater discount of 50% for families with 3 or more players. 
 
Registration fees are due by the first night of your skater's evaluation session. A Westfield Youth Hockey representative will be on hand to verify payment has been made.  Only credit card payments will be accepted.  No cash will be accepted. Registration fees are non-refundable.

USA Hockey:
The evaluation registration process does not include the USA Hockey registration for the upcoming season.  After April 1st, but before the start of your first practice in September, you must register your skater online with USA Hockey, a separate $56.50 registration fee.  Parents will then need to edit their skater's WYHA record on the web-site and enter the assigned USA Hockey number.
 
Commitment Payment:

We'll release the initial rosters on March 31, 2018.

WYHA will continue with the process of placing more players on the lower teams until final rosters are set, however we will be making these final roster spots earlier than ever.  The final roster spots will be announced on April 15th, 2019.  To make this possible though, WYHA will be collecting a commitment payment that is due by April 8th, 2019.  

 

 
Commitment Payment:
8U:                       $210 
10U & 12U:           $310 
14U:                     $385
 
Please understand this is not an additional cost, but an adjustment of the ice bill process.  There will be 3 payments to be made (April 8, September 1, and January 15). The costs per age level are listed below, please notice the final January ice bill is still estimated and will be set at the October board meeting. 
 
This allows you, the members, to know which team your player is on earlier and allow teams to begin the process of planning their seasons far in advance to organize fund raisers and build team chemistry.   Your commitment also allows WYHA to purchase the appropriate amount of ice which helps us control our costs and keep ice bills appropriate.  
 

2019-2020 Ice Payment:
The first ice payment schedule for 2019-2020 is below.  The first ice payment is due into Westfield Youth Hockey by September 1, 2019.
 
6U:                         $210 per session
8U:                         $460
10U & 12U:           $660
14U:                       $760
 
The second payment will be determined by October 1, 2019 and be due on January 15, 2020.

Please, note this season we will offer a 50% discount to all full time goaltenders in 10U - 14U ages.


Questions:
Please consult the WYHA web-site or e-mail your questions to  . If you have additional questions please feel free to reach out to a WYHA board member.

Tim McMahon
WYHA Communication Director


by posted 02/16/2019
First Step Hockey School 2019


by posted 02/10/2019
Blazing Speed February Break 2019 Clinic

February Break 2019

 

February 19,20,21 (Tu-Th)          

11am-1pm Group-A (7-10yrs)        

1pm-3pm Group-B (11&Up)           

 6 hrs/on Ice with coach  caz   

 $180 ($210@Door)                       

                                                   

 Olympia Ice Center                   

 West Springfield, MA

 

https://www.blazingspeedhockey.net/

 


by posted 12/12/2018
Planet Hockey Summer Camp Discount

Hockey Players & Parents,

 

It’s time to secure your Summer Hockey Camp and we have just the Early Registration Special that will allow you to do this…for only $99!  Hurry, offers expire soon.

 

We invite you to join Planet Hockey this summer at Amelia Park Arena. 

 

Dates:

August 12-16, 2019 (M-F)

Location/Rink: 

Amelia Park Arena

Tuition:

$509

Discount:

$30

Final Tuition: 

only $479

Discount Code: 

PHSAVE30

Details:

View camp details & features

 

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

  1. Early Registration Special - secure your camp spot for only $99 – expires 12/31/18
  2. Receive a Camp Discount (see above)
  3. Balance is not due until 60 days prior to camp.
  4. Custom Sportswear Special (receive before the Holidays) – expires 11/23/18

 

Camp Discount – You must enter Coupon Code:  PHSAVE30.  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 - 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 23rd.  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 2019 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 this camp 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 2019 Westfield Planet Hockey SUPER Skills Camps.

 

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 11/06/2018
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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