Tucker Hockey: Your Premier Calgary Hockey School for 19 Years!

       

 

 

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Date: 23/7/2014 5:08 PM UTC



Many parents start coaching hockey when their first child begins to play. After attending an early season weekend coaching certification course they begin their journey. For many rookie coaches they will follow their son or daughter through the minor hockey system from Timbits, to Novice, to Atom etc.

I started teaching the 6 to 7 year old age group back in 1997 during my early powerskating days in the Czech Republic. Based on my experiences, I wish to share a few pointers on what I have learned and incorporated into my teaching over the past 18 years on the ice.

For starters, one of my favorite age groups is the 6 to 7 year old Timbits / Novice level. It’s so rewarding to witness first hand the improvement in player’s skills, their love of hockey grow on a session to session basis and witness the smiles on their faces! However, on many occasions it can be a very challenging task teaching this age and skill level! Why? Like Forrest Grump’s quote – “You never know what you are going to get!” Some days the kids are awesome – they are eating out of the palm of your instructional hand - paying attention i.e. watching and listening. But there are other days when they are indeed a handful – lacking attention, focus and commitment to skill development. They are kids! I have learned over the years as an instructor - always go on the ice being focused and well prepared; otherwise it will be a valuable lesson in the art of teaching. You will have your hands full indeed and the coaching experience and / or results will not be so rewarding.

First and foremost, what I have learned is that on ice instruction for this age group requires a great deal of patience and the ability to be repetitive. If I had a dollar for every time I have said “Keep your head up”, “Bend your knees” or “Keep your stick on the ice” I would be a very wealthy man. However, it’s important to remember that they are only 6 or 7 years old in their physical, mental and emotional development. Often on ice instructors, coaches and parents need to lower their expectations of what the kids can handle for hockey advancement on a daily basis.

There are often many factors beyond your control in this vocation. Over the years, the Tucker Hockey staff has discovered that many players show up at the rink and can be challenged by any of following:


  • Equipment that does not fit properly especially skates, sticks too long, improper skate sharpenings etc. which endures performance.
  • Lack of a good meal. Players of all ages need proper nutrition and good calories to spend energy.
  • Lack of a good night’s sleep. Player’s need proper rest to enjoy and perform well on the ice.
  • Home and / or school issues can distract players and their enjoyment of the sport.
  • Hyper personality from too much video games being played in their spare time.
  • Sometimes it’s the parent’s wish not the child’s desire to be on the ice. It’s important for parents to listen to their child and understand what activities their child wants to do and enjoy. Do they desire more or less hockey?
  • Also many 6 to 7 year-olds are physically ready, but some kids are not ready because they lack the emotional maturity, to participate in a group hockey program.


This past season I conducted a power skating team session with a Novice minor team. The kids lacked focus, and where quite hyper on the ice. One of the novice team coaches said jokingly “Maybe they are off their meds!” Never thought of it in this way… but there may be a little truth to this statement for some players especially after school during the late afternoon 4 pm team practice ice sessions.

We enjoy and preserve what we love
We love what we understand
We understand because we have been taught
The Tucker Hockey Way!

The Tucker Hockey Way has been to provide a positive and fun learning environment for the kids. The role of the instructors is to teach skating, hockey skills, life skills, and to have fun in the process so as to instill and grow the love of the game. There’s an art and science to connecting with the kids and helping them improve on their skating and hockey skills. It’s a balancing act to teach skating skills, not get too serious and make it an enjoyable experience.

Often we will start teaching a skill and see how long we can work on the skill before we have to change things up! 2 repetitions or 3 repetitions, 1 length of the ice or 2 lengths of the ice of skating, 5 minutes or 10 minutes of skill development. It’s like squeezing juice from an orange. We will see how much we can get out of the group today!  Work on 5 to 10 minutes of skill development and than switch to a fun skating game such as hockey soccer, British bull dog, gorilla drill, battle ship, relay races, tennis ball scrimmage etc. We are always trying to adapt and to be flexible because the group dynamics change from one on ice session to another.

 Here are a few coaching tips that we have employed in our programs to be successful.


  • Name tags on the helmets – it helps to mention player’s names when instructing them
  • Brief intro: of instructors and chat prior to the start of each session
  • Effective communication requires short chats with simple direct language
  • Instructor down on both knees at eye level when talking to the kids, shoulder to shoulder
  • Players have their stick up -  butt end on the ice /  players on one knee
  • Gentle Approach, captivate their interest, instill good values – discipline, respect, work hard and do their best. Instilling good values at an early age is very important.
  • Ask them the odd question to keep them engaged.
  • Keep them active – very little standing around. Explain the drill, demo the drill and get them practicing the drill, correct as they go.
  • Water break every 10 minutes
  • Provide a variety of drills but give them time to play throughout the session.
  • Good hockey stance, strong edge control and balance - the core fundamentals - at this age.
  • Progression for technical skills – it starts with skating fundamentals, progresses to puck control, to passing and then to shooting.
  • Try to improve their skills to do well at the next level – Atom etc.
  • Smile, avoid being too serious or too intense – don’t scare the kids.
  • Avoid negative feedback, lots of praise and positive reinforcement helps learning.
  • Raise your voice to get their attention but a constant diet of yelling gets stale
  • Minimum instructor to player ratio of 1 to 5.
  • High energy – players feed off your energy and mood
  • No sliding on the ice – safety first
  • Notice kids who do a drill correctly and let them demo to the group. Kids want to be noticed and recognized – it helps them pay attention. Their parents like it too!
  • The weaker skating skills include stopping, outside edge control and backward skating. Parents especially love to see their child improve in these areas for sure.
  • Gradual pace - baby steps with more progressions, teaching falling and getting up properly.
  • We often randomly give out most improved helmet stickers to players after each session. They like the recognition and they pay attention and work harder as a result.
  • High 5 the players after each session before going off the ice
  • Praise the kids for a good job well done! Wish them well! Show them you care!


Since 1999, Tucker Hockey has a formula that works, with proven results.  Kids need to feel comfortable on the ice, to be themselves, to be relaxed so that they can listen, watch, and learn. Players will often fall down during the skating drills again and again. We often say you can fall down…we want to see more players falling…it shows that you are trying hard to learn and to improve. But if you fall down you must get up faster than you fall down! Kids need to be instilled with a thirst to learn, to want to come to the rink and to be upset if they can’t. It’s important to have a gentle approach...not to be too intense and end up turning the kids off. It’s so important for player’s to pay attention – to watch and listen in order to maximize their opportunity for advancement. However, not all kids learn the same way, some learn by listening, some by watching, and all by doing. We often use the expression “It’s like throwing a pizza against the wall… more sticks for some kids than others!” It is what it is… have to keep our expectations realistic.

Often parents will ask me what their son or daughter need to work on? My reply “Everything!” at this age level. A player may be a top skater at the Novice level compared to his peers but will he or she be a top skater at the Atom, Peewee, Bantam, Midget or Junior A levels compared to his peers? It’s important to keep working on the skills if a player wishes to progress and excel in the years to follow. A player needs to grow the desire to work hard, to learn to get better.  We want to ensure that we have a positive influence on their skating skill development and love for the game. A better skater becomes a better hockey player. When you become a more accomplished hockey player, you become more successful, and therefore have more fun playing the game.

Bottom line for Tucker Hockey, it’s not about getting players to the NHL, rather it’s about instilling a love for the game, to enhance skating and hockey skills, and to make a “difference” in the life of a child.

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

Date: 3/7/2014 4:36 PM UTC



For decades many hockey experts and fans have discussed and debated the size of the hockey rink dimensions. Is the standard NHL rink 200 feet by 85 feet too small? Should the NHL expand all the rinks to international size 200 feet by 100 feet to make the games more exciting? Expansion would allow an additional 3,000 feet of playing space but it would be a very costly league venture.

For years, I have been one of the believers and advocates that big ice is better for the game. I always felt the big ice allows the more skilled players to showcase their many talents. But I have to honestly admit after watching the 2014 Olympic hockey tournament that I was definitely wrong! The majority of the games in the tournament were played like soccer on ice. The Olympic hockey was a different style of hockey with a very defensive coaching philosophy; of trying not to lose rather than attempting to win. Sure there were at times moments of tension and drama - close games - but it truly lacked the excitement of NHL playoff hockey. Much like a billiard game – not what you make but it seemed what you leave appeared to be the norm throughout the tournament. Often the games displayed very tight defensive hockey – choking defensive hockey – a chess style game on ice!

Many of the European teams such as Finland, Czechs, Slovakia, and especially Switzerland and Denmark played a no flow - trapping style of play - with very little pressure and mostly containment in mind. No fore-checking pressure, often a 1 - 4 system, 1 - 3 - 1 system or worst at times 5 players inside the centre ice red line. Even the powerful Russian team were playing a trapping style at times! Even though many players on the lower rated European teams did not play in the NHL, they all possessed supreme skating skills. Players played smart positional hockey on the larger ice surface with very little body checking. The Finish team especially had many supreme skaters and played exceptionally well without the puck.

Canada dominated Sweden in the probably the best team defensive performance ever played to win the Gold medal with a 3 to 0 score. Bravo to Coach Babcock and his coaching staff on their game plan and execution! It was defence first with tremendous overall team speed, puck possession domination and short 35 to 40 second shifts throughout the tournament. All the players understood and executed the team system and were very unselfish to play a total 200 foot team game – taking backside pressure to another level for the game of hockey. Canada surrendered only 3 goals in 6 games, the fewest allowed by a gold medalist since 1928. Canada also scored only 17 goals, the fewest by a gold medal-winning team in Olympic history. For star NHL players it was a big adjustment to play only 12 to 15 minutes a game when they normally play 22 to 25 with their club teams.

Basically 2 on 1’s, 3 on 2’s were non existent of a dinosaur variety on most occasions throughout the tournament! Team Canada found themselves in the opponent’s zone attacking 2 on 5 or 3 on 5 and in order to generate offense the coaches had to activate their defensemen into the rush such as Weber or Doughty to generate enough offense to create scoring opportunities and win. Teams were conscious to keep players outside the dots. On the international ice the neutral zone is bigger while the offensive zone is smaller than on the NHL size surface. Team Canada had to work hard to get scrams in the net zone area and pucks to the net on a consistent basis. It was difficult to create offense plays and get to the prime scoring area in front of the net. Often the majority of shots were generated from the blue line from the team’s defensemen.

On the men’s side, the most entertaining game was the USA vs. Russia game which featured tremendous skill, flow and excitement that ended in a dramatic USA shootout win. Overall the Olympic hockey had its tight hockey moments of tension, drama with some moments of excitement. By far the best game of the Winter Olympics was the thrilling and unbelievable come from behind 3 to 2 win by Canada over the U.S.A. in the women’s gold medal contest. That was awesome hockey to watch! What a game!

Even with Canada winning double Gold which was awesome to see I personally felt Olympic hockey was a bit of a let down for overall entertainment and excitement.
So I humbly must say I now will take NHL playoff hockey on the smaller ice any day over the less than exciting Olympic tournament style of play on the bigger ice! Is it the size of the ice surface or the style of play implemented by national coaches to try and win or be competitive at this level? You be the judge. But Coach Rex, I am sorry to say is no longer a fan of the big ice game but I still hope the 2014 World Hockey Championship in Belarus this May will generate some exciting hockey to watch! Let’s keep the faith! Go Canada Go!!

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

Date: 12/6/2014 9:07 PM UTC



Dear Friends,

The Kids Hockey Advancement Society was created to provide an opportunity for children to play, develop their skating and hockey skills and to participate in organized hockey – the nation’s greatest sport. The benefit to these children in terms of physical fitness, mental health and well-being and social development are significant and well- documented. The benefits to society as these children mature into exemplary and responsible citizens are even more significant.

The Kids Hockey Advancement Society’s 7th Annual Fundraising Golf Tournament, is scheduled for Monday, September 15th, 2014, at Lakeside Golf Club in Chestermere.

The money raised in 2014 will be used again to donate a large portion to KidSport of Calgary; in addition the Society will fund various grassroots activities in the hockey community. The Society is planning to raise an estimated $60,000 this year via our Annual Golf Tournament.  It will cost the Society an estimated $35,000 to raise this amount.

We are asking for your support with this fun golf tournament. Your participation in this event will contribute to the success of this valued fundraiser.

Support the Society By:
Donating Live Auction Items
Donating Silent Auction Items
Donating prizes to be given away to Foursomes, Proxy Hole Winners or 50/50 Ticket Purchasers
Donating swag that can be added to our Golfer Hospitality Gift Bags – 100 Golfers Total
Be one of our Valued Sponsors & Golf for Free!
Get a Foursome together and enjoy a great day on the Links!

For more information, please visit our website at www.kids-hockey.ca or call Christyne at 403-998-5035.

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

Date: 23/5/2014 12:39 AM UTC



On Friday April 11th I attended the last Calgary Flames home game of the regular season against the Winnipeg Jets. The Flames lost the game to the Jets 5 to 3. Calgary Flames defenseman Kris Russell received 1st star honours and Sean Monahan was named 3rd star of the game respectively. These two players are a sample of the new and bright faces of the franchise. The Calgary Flames displayed a “Great Will to Compete” throughout the long 82 game schedule. The team made some very promising strides in a rebuilding year. Many experts predicted the Flames to finish last this season in the NHL.  However, the team played a very competitive and entertaining brand of hockey setting an NHL record with 49 - 1 goal games!

Reflecting back on the season, Coach Bob Hartley delivered a refreshing puck pressure, higher tempo, and more entertaining brand of hockey for Flames fans. The Calgary Flames identity consisted of improved fitness levels, improved work ethic and stronger team chemistry than previous teams. It’s a true testament to Bob Hartley and his dedicated coaching staff. Bravo gentlemen for a job well done! Coach Hartley displayed a very demanding and savvy coaching style. He will probably not receive many votes for the Jack Adams - Coach of the Year Award but he did a stellar job during his first full season with the club. The team became younger, faster, with a little more size, played more physical and showed more grit. Overall the team made some great strides to becoming a playoff contender in the next year or so.  

But after not making the playoffs for the 5th season in row, the Calgary Flames organization will have some important questions to answer to accelerate the rebuilding of this franchise and bring back a winning team to the city. Here are a few thoughts that come to mind. I am sure you have many others!

What is the main goal of the Flames organization?

President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke recently hired Brad Treliving has their new General Manager. Trevliving, 44 served as assistant GM of the Phoenix Coyotes for the past 7 seasons and oversaw their AHL affiliate in Portland. He has been Assistant GM for Team Canada at the IIHF world championship. As well, he previously served as President of the Central Hockey League and President and Director of Hockey Operations for the Western Professional Hockey League, which he founded. The next step is to hire an Assistant General Manager.

With the Flames hockey department rounding into shape, the Flames mission is to continue to develop their young talent both on the team and on the farm. Their objective is to fight for a playoff spot next season. This past season the Flames employed 44 different players in the line up! Injuries to the veterans Cammalleri, Glencross, Giordano, Wideman, Stajan and David Jones etc. did not help the Flames' cause. But when in the line-up each player contributed to the overall success of the team. No one really had a bad season. The Flames have many good young players on the team in Monahan, Backlund, Brodie, with top prospects Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Max Reinhart, Tyler Wotherspoon, Mark Jankowski and Kenny Agostino. The future is igniting for the Flames. With some salary cap room to play with (approximately $25 M+) the hockey operations department will continue to mould the team to Burke’s philosophy and Coach Hartley’s likings. Next season’s salary cap is estimated at $68 Million and the floor at $50 million and the Flames' owners seem prepared to max the cap if necessary.

What to do with the goaltending situation?

It was a major burning question at the start of last season after the retirement of Kipper but not so much for next year. At the conclusion of the season Karri Ramo appears to have the vote of confidence to be the No: 1 goalie next season. RFA’S Joni Ortio and Oliver Roy plus Joey MacDonald UFA’s will probably battle for the backup role  depending on who gets re-signed .The Flames improved their overall team defence from 29th - 2nd worst goals against in the league in 2013 to 23rd in 2014. Looks like Joni Ortio will probably back-up Karri Ramo next season.

What Free Agents do the Flames re-sign?

The most significant Flames restricted free agents with last season’s salary in brackets are TJ Galiardi  ($1,250,000), Chad Billins ($925,000), Ben Hanowski ($900,000), Paul Byron ($643,500), Oliver Roy ($628,333), Joni Ortio ($617,500), Joe Colborne ($600,000), Mark Cundari ($600,000), and Lance Bouma ($577,500). The most important re-signings for the Flames are Colborne, Byron and Bouma. Colborne really developed on the wing after his move off centre. Byron showed his speed and penalty killing abilities while Bouma displayed his grit, shot blocking and hard work every shift this season.

The most significant unrestricted free agents with last season’s salary in brackets are Mike Cammalleri ($6,000,000), Chris Butler ($1,700,000), Joey MacDonald ($925,000), Derek Smith ($775,000), Kevin Westgath ($725,000), Blair Jones ($650,000) Ben Street ($575,000), and Chris Breen ($577,500). The two most significant UFA’s are Cammalleri and Butler. It looks like Cammalleri will test the free agent market this summer. They may replace Butler on the blue-line with one of their up and coming defenseman. Wotherspoon is a good candidate.

Who do they pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft?

For the first time over the past 25+ years the Flames will pick in the top 5 of the NHL Entry draft. This year they will pick 4th overall. They need to draft someone who can make the roster now. Sean Monahan, last year’s 6th pick was a gem of a selection and scored 22 goals in his rookie season. They need another great selection. It looks like it will be either Sam Bennett, Centre, Kingston, 6’ and 178 pounds or Michael Dal Colle, Centre, Oshawa,  6’1”, 179 pounds. Both listed at Centre but can play left-wing. Bennett has good size, toughness and skill package and Dal Colle is another prospect with size and skill with a great shot. I believe the Flames will take Bennett over Dal Colle if he is available come the 4th pick… either prospect will be a winner. Both Centre Sam Reinhart and Defenseman Aaron Ekblad should be selected in the top 2 and will not be available to the Flames.

Will they aggressively pursue the free agent market?

The Flames are becoming a better team and therefore Calgary is a better city to attract future free agent talent. This year’s free agent crop includes the following: Marian Gaborik, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Callahan, Derek Roy, Dave Bolland, Matt Moulson, Milan Michalek, Mason Raymond, Dustin Penner, Dany Heatley, Steve Dowie and Steve Ott; just to name a few. Also, goalies Jonas Hillier and Martin Brodeur are available. Do they go after one or two free agents to add valuable skill and experience to help a youthful roster? Definitely; the team could sure use an accomplished veteran winger especially if Cammalleri does not re-sign with the club.

In Conclusion:

The Calgary Flames made some tremendous strides last season to steer the franchise in the right direction. They were competitive each and every game out. The home record is getting better 19 - 19 - 3, but the team still needs to make the Saddledome a tougher place to play in every night. The strength of the Flames team is with their defensive core of Giordano, Russell, Brodie, Smid, Wideman, and Butler. Now with so many good young prospects, will they trade Wideman to acquire a good experienced forward or let Butler go to the free agent market? With so many up and coming young players and prospects in the system, Flames' fans are in store for some very entertaining hockey in the years ahead. The worst days are behind now! The Flames will continue to inject more youth, speed, physicality and grit into their line up. Say tuned. It will be a very interesting off season as the Flames management and coaches tackle the ongoing rebuilding process. Again time and patience will be two key words for next season, but the franchise is certainly heading in the right direction.

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

Date: 16/4/2014 2:36 PM UTC

Tucker Hockey is excited to announce the creation of the Tucker Hockey Club Membership!

Club Members get exclusive access to discounts on group programs, 1-on-1 and private sessions, discounts from partnered businesses, discounts off Tucker Hockey Brand Apparel, access to purchase 2015 World Junior Tickets held in Toronto & Montreal - both arenas on the blue line, Front Row in Montreal, Row 4 in Toronto! And many other exclusive discounts only available for Club Members!

For more details visit us online at: http://www.tuckerhockey.com/clubmembership.asp

Sign Up Today: http://www.tuckerhockey.com/ecommerce/tucker-hockey-membership.asp

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

Date: 9/4/2014 2:31 PM UTC

On Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, Tucker Hockey attended the 16th Annual Youth Hiring Fair, organized by the YEC (Youth Employment Centre). It was a great event for both Employers seeking employees and the individuals that attended, as it showcased the wide variety of employment opportunities in Calgary for any age, any schooling or any previous experience a person may have. The event was organized very well, the attendance was high, and we were pleasantly surprised at how many individuals with hockey experience and expertise that attended and were interested and in some cases excited that we were there! Tucker Hockey is passionate about Hockey, and meeting like-minded, driven and optimistic youth was refreshing and highly educational.

For those that are not familiar with YEC, it's a great organization provided by the City of Calgary servicing Calgary's younger generation of 15 to 24 year-olds. Since 1987, YEC has provided Calgary's youth with help in career development opportunities such as career advising, interview preparation, resume critiquing, a computer lab, job postings, hiring fairs and career exploration opportunities.

Tucker Hockey strongly believes sport is a great way for youth to learn valuable life-lessons, empowers them and gives them confidence that they can apply in their lives, and provides meaningful skills that fall over into other aspects of their lives. YEC is fundamentally similar and we're a proud supporter of their mandate to assist Calgary's younger generation.

For further information about YEC and the services they provide to employers and youth, please visit their website at www.nextsteps.org.

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

Date: 14/3/2014 3:25 PM UTC

After diligently trying for the past 5 years, Tucker Hockey was finally chosen as one of a small select group that were able to purchase ticket packages for the 2015 World Juniors being held in Toronto and Montreal later this year prior to public release.

We have Front Row Tickets at the Bell Centre on the Blue Line - Section 114 - Check out their Arena Seating Chart!

We have Fourth Row Tickets at the Air Canada Centre on the Blue Line - Section 109 - Check out their Arena Seating Chart!
We won't be able to see every game...

Details to follow on how you may be able to Score tickets as well... We'll keep you posted!

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

Date: 5/3/2014 5:53 PM UTC

In the highly competitive Calgary market where hockey instructional schools abound, we decided to reflect on Tucker Hockey, and why we've been successful for the past 16 years. Businesses open and close everyday, statistics state that 1 in 5 businesses will close within the first 5 years of operating. And realistically, our business, while fulfilling a need, is in a niche market that doesn't cater to a large population; unlike a restaurant, a corner store, a Real Estate Agency or our beloved Tim Hortons! So we decided to make a list of why we're unique, why we have a faithful group of participants who come out year after year, why we have a great referral rating, and really, why is Tucker Hockey still around after 16 years. And after completing this exercise, we're pretty proud of what we've accomplished in that time!

You can agree, disagree, make a comment, provide feedback and engage us, we welcome it!


  • Passion - Our love and passion for hockey has blossomed into T.H.E. Tucker Hockey Way which is a lifestyle where we connect and relate, we teach and understand, we care and improve; whereby creating personal successes.
  • Performance History - Tucker Hockey has an on-ice formula with time proven results ensuring participants become a better skater/hockey player, backed by our Guarantee.
  • Diversity - Tucker Hockey has a broad portfolio of services available; we teach all ages from 5 to 75 and all skill levels from Timbits to Semi-Pro.
  • Pay-It-Forward - We offer Tucker Hockey Awards – since 2004 Tucker Hockey has offered over 70+ free programs to various Minor and Adult Hockey players, giving back more than $20,000.
  • Good Karma - Since 2004 we’ve published Hockey Zones Newsletter for the purpose of hockey education, address various hockey issues for public discussion, and we provide features on hockey individuals at the Calgary Grassroots Level – the overall theme is to create Goodwill within the Hockey Community.
  • Altruism - Tucker Hockey is the Event Sponsor of an annual Golf Tournament which has raised in excess of $100,000 since 2008; contributing our volunteer time and efforts to promote philanthropy and raise social consciousness about the less fortunate children in the Calgary Hockey Community and providing them an opportunity to play hockey.
Now you're wondering, or at least we hope you are, what exactly is T.H.E. Tucker Hockey Way? Our answer is this:


Enriching the lives of Tucker Hockey Participants by instilling a sense of belonging, expounding our passion of the game of hockey, imparting valuable life skills, and assist in manifesting our participant’s desire to improve all the while cultivating a harmonious community of like-minded individuals.

Discover for yourself the true Passion of Tucker Hockey today!

We enjoy and preserve what we love
We love what we understand
We understand because we have been taught
T.H.E. Tucker Hockey Way!

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

Date: 27/2/2014 5:49 PM UTC



30 years ago my 9 and 11-year-old nephews were playing hockey. Like most families we wanted them to play and enjoy the game. After 3 years they quit. It was not fun. The coach played the best players a lot more and they were discouraged. All they wanted to do was play, but the unfair ice time was enough to take them out of the game. Their parents did not complain. It seemed to be acceptable and the “way it is” in minor hockey. Winning is the primary objective and the best players might help them to win. In the meantime their boys noticed the difference and they decided to give up on hockey. It was a discouraging experience.

I wonder how many more young children have quit the game because they did not get a fair opportunity to play, develop and have fun. They were not good enough at 9 and 10 to play in shorthanded and special team situations. When the game was in hand they would get a chance but only if the team was far enough ahead. Besides not playing on special teams they got to play 5 on 5 every 3 shifts while the 2 centers got to play every second shift. They might have stuck with it if they had a chance to penalty kill or play the power play but missing so many shifts took its toll. It just wasn’t fun. They QUIT.

How many parents are living the same situation? You notice the unfair ice time and do not want to complain thinking “that’s just the way it is”. The Local Hockey Association accepts this although a number of board members might disagree. The majority rules and kids quit hockey. The focus on winning is more important than personal development and enjoyment of all participants.

Recently, I talked to a Father about his 15-year-old son-quitting hockey when he was 10. The story is the same. The boy got into football and had just finishing a football camp in the USA and was being sought after by Prep schools for a scholarship, At 6 foot 3 inches and a fit 215 pounds and athletic it was not a surprise.  I wonder what kind of a hockey player this kid would have been if he didn’t quit the game.  At 10 years old he was discouraged and driven out of the sport. Fortunately he found another that he would excel at.

Minor Hockey leaders and parents have to “wake up” and tell it like it is.  Minor hockey is not about developing NHL players. It is about developing life skills through teamwork and learning to work hard, respecting your opponent and the officials IT is about learning from winning and losing.

Win – Win coaching is about trying your best to win on the score clock but not at the expense of the growth and development of all players. When you win a game but shorten the bench you lose the spirit and self esteem of players who have not yet developed like my nephews and the 15-year-old Football player who quit hockey.

Goggle the “Positive Coaching Alliance”, a USA sports organization that is leading the way in the USA helping establish a healthy perspective and providing numerous resources for associations, parents and coaches to use to serve the “good of the game.”


Kudos to the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association for dealing with this issue.

 

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

Date: 21/2/2014 3:38 PM UTC

February 20th marks the 12th Anniversary and February 23rd marks the First Anniversary of the passing of Leslie Richard Kavanagh and Raymond Laurence Tucker.

Time has passed, life goes on, daily tasks get taken care of, but your memories linger. You'll suddenly come to mind at the oddest times, other times we'll think about you while doing something because it was something you liked, or didn't, or had an opinion on or about. Then there's those times when you ever so slowly come to the forefront of our minds, during our quiet times, the times when we're not not using our brains to think about the next task to complete, what I need to do tomorrow, what to make for supper... Since we're already doing nothing, we sit and let the memories float through our minds, at their own pace, sometimes smiling, other times laughing, an odd time one tear leaks out of the corner of one eye.

You taught us so much; compassion, ethics, accountability, passion... Did you know that? Did we take the time to convey our deepest gratitude to you for being in our lives? As your children, did we become the adults you thought we'd be? As babies, our futures were endless, did we accomplish what you wished for us?

We find ourselves doing things similar to what or how you did things. Our facial expressions when reacting to something mimic those of yours! We can hear you in our heads, giving words of wisdom, caution, congratulations, jubilations! At times we wish for your presence, just to see what we've accomplished, not to get praise or a pat on the back, but to just see.

Thanks Dads, you are missed.
Ray Tucker, November 9, 1931 to February 23, 2013
Les Kavanagh September 4, 1955 to February 20, 2001

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

 

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