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





Date: 12/11/2014 7:21 PM UTC

Improving on the Public’s Attitudes and Perceptions

As previously mentioned, the perception of hockey as an increasingly violent sport in the public’s eye is a deepening problem. Hockey is portrayed as a violent sport based primarily on the body contact aspect and related injuries. With an increase to player concussions and enhanced 24 hour sports coverage it only magnifies the violent perception and issue within our game.
Governing hockey bodies, at all levels, have to do a lot more to ensure the game grows with a special emphasis on making the game safer especially at the lower levels and educating parents on the benefits of proper protective equipment when worn properly such as properly securing the chin strap on helmets in warm ups and games. Also, a zero tolerance for head shots and for fighting at all levels will enhance the safety and overall perception of the game in the long run.

Increase Corporate Involvement / Sponsorships

More Canadian corporations need to step up and create sponsorship programs to help grow the game, such as subsidizing and funding registrations and equipment for players, as well as help with building more recreational facilities. More initiatives like Comrie’s Sports Equipment Bank need to be created across Canada to provide all kids with the opportunity to play.

Improve on Family Tax Credits

The federal government needs to enhance the tax credit system for participating in sports especially hockey to encourage and reward increased participation for kids and adults. As mentioned earlier, with both kids and adults more active in our society, it will create better health, fitness and overall wellness and reduce billions of dollars on our heath care systems in the decades ahead.

Create a Hockey Legacy Fund / Command Centre

Canada is a world leader with over 2,600 arenas nation wide. We are truly blessed to have so many facilities. Calgary alone has over 60 arenas. However, many arenas across the country are getting old and badly need capital improvements. A national capital expenditure program to help old arena upgrades and build new arenas where the demand warrants is an important component to our future hockey infrastructure.
Creation of a 1 – 800 hockey call centre to accommodate and assist individuals and minor hockey associations across the country that need help to keep playing or hockey going in their area.

In Summary:

This article just scratches the ice surface. It’s Tucker Hockey’s way of expressing our views for the betterment of the game. A very detailed and systemic investigation by the governing bodies concerning the issues confronting minor hockey is necessary to change direction, and to strengthen the future welfare and betterment of hockey in Canada. One of Hockey Canada’s mandates is to increase hockey participation in the years ahead. This will require “thinking and stepping outside the box”. Back in July of 2014, Hockey Canada named Tom Renney the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. Tom is definitely the right man for the job! Under his vision and leadership, Hockey Canada will be taken to another level. If there’s anyone in our country that has the diversified hockey background, respect at all levels, a strong core value base, dynamic people skills and forward / innovative thinking…it is Tom Renney. Tom, my personal belief is that all children should have the opportunity to play organized hockey – the nation’s greatest sport. Sincere best wishes with your future Hockey Canada endeavours!

Now tell us your views on how we can improve the numbers.

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment

Date: 5/11/2014 10:05 PM UTC

Changing the Minor Hockey Coaching Mind Set


Players must get the right start. The little people’s first adventure to the rink must be a positive experience and a place they want to visit every day. A sanctuary of sorts!

The toughest part of playing hockey is that you have to learn to skate before you can begin to master the other skills of the game. Other sports such as soccer do not require a person to master balancing on thin metal blades before learning to kick. It’s a more challenging sport to learn than first meets the eye. As well, parents that don’t know how to skate are less inclined to enroll their kids in hockey, as they cannot participate in their kids’ development directly.

More time, monies and resources are needed to improve minor hockey coach education and mentoring. Properly motivated coaches are needed at the lower levels of hockey. If we have more “value based” coaches at the lower levels, to instil a love of the game and teach “fundamental” skating and hockey skills. It will help kids enjoy their hockey experience better and should keep them playing longer.

At the lower levels of minor hockey sometimes coaches deliver the wrong message – winning over having fun (getting too serious at too early an age). Let’s keep the fun in the game!

Address the “Shortening of the Bench” problem within minor hockey. It’s doing a lot of damage to our game. Read Wally Kozak’s column on page 6 of our newsletter for an informative insight into this problem.

Changing the Minor Hockey Season Model

Recruitment and retention are the key words for the governing bodies – it’s about selling our great game to the public especially visible minorities to make it more appealing.

Making the minor hockey season more flexible to fit with the demands of the modern family. Breaking the season into 3 or 4 mini seasons i.e. Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. This will create opportunities for some kids to play year round while also allowing other kids to work hockey into an already busy schedule. Encouraging less out of town road trips, tournaments and games will lower costs, so that a single parent family with multiple children can afford to participate in the game. Less games more practices.

Parents need the choice available to have their children participate in CONTACT or NON - CONTACT hockey. More time and monies need to be directed to SAFETY FIRST and checking clinics / resources to prepare the players for contact hockey.  Players participating at a level below AA, such as house / less competitive leagues do not need to be playing contact hockey. The sport has become more recreational than competitive / elite in nature.

Now, more and more Canadians share concerns about body checking, concussions and head injuries. The Canada Safety Council has been speaking out on this for more than 20 years. More progressive concussion studies and changes need to be implemented to make hockey safer and less of a violent sport. The main reason kids play any sport is for fun – and getting hurt is no fun! Fear of injuries is driving young players and their parents from the game.

Take fighting completely out of the game at all levels of hockey. Increased violence has turned kids especially those new to Canada, from the game of hockey. Also, racist and derogatory comments on the ice and in the arenas have contributed to an unwelcoming environment. In addition, in today’s world publicized incidents of racism in hockey have become more frequent and in turn have raised concerns among families in the minority communities.

Improve on the Hockey Governing Pyramid

One of the biggest challenges for Hockey Canada is dealing with the pyramid of provincial bodies and the hundreds of minor hockey associations beneath the organization. There are 4 layers to the Minor Hockey pyramid, for example in Calgary: Hockey Canada, then Hockey Alberta, then Hockey Calgary, and then the 20 + local Calgary community minor hockey associations. Each organization has its own agenda and directives, and they don’t always mesh with the level of the pyramid above or below them. In the past Hockey Canada’s directives on change and improvement have not always been embraced and implemented for the betterment of the game at the grassroots levels. Such an example was the issue of checking at the Peewee level which took decades for everyone to agree upon. Ridding the system of unnecessary bureaucracy / politics will be a major challenge indeed.  Teamwork is a necessity for the betterment of the game!

The Canadian Junior Hockey League (WHL, OHL and QMJHL) and ultimately the National Hockey League prosper from the efforts of the many minor hockey systems. Since the local minor hockey systems are feeder systems, a stronger partnership and financial commitment to give back to grass roots hockey is needed in the years ahead from both leagues.

A more conscious attempt should be made to actively seek out and appoint visible minorities to staff hockey related positions in community. More minority representatives in the minor hockey organizations will help ensure the effectiveness of the governing bodies’ philosophies, policies, programs and services.Establishing advisory boards, independent consulting committees or special task forces to address the major hockey issues, recommend solutions and future courses of action. It’s important to keep the hockey establishment accountable in the decades ahead.

Come Back Next Week to Read the Conclusion

Posted by Rex Tucker | Post a Comment


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