My involvement in hockey has provided me with some of the best memories of my life. Getting up for early morning practices, traveling to out-of-town tournaments, and persisting through the ups and downs associated with competition are the backdrops that still influence the man I am today. Doing this would have all changed if I was doing it by myself. How are we challenging young athletes today to capitalize on this significant opportunity to build lifelong memories while growing lifelong friendships? The answer is we are not!
What is more obvious is that young athletes are living and playing more isolated than ever before. Many kids seem to play with a self- centered focus that keeps them from depending on anyone around them and even worse disconnects them from cultivating any long-term friendships with their teammates that surpass the “game” itself. In my mind this needs to change. Hockey should provide each player with the opportunity to not only grow as an athlete but as a person. Life beyond hockey requires that we build quality relationships with potential spouses, business associates, kids, and others we are going to need to help live a quality life. Why have we bought into the idea that the value of hockey lies in playing hockey? We approach the game as though winning and losing and making the “A” team is what makes and breaks kids. Parents rearrange their priorities, sometimes take second jobs, and focus significant mental and physical energy at the expense of growing and building their own lives and marriages all for the sake of “The Game”.
In my mind we have sold out to the wrong thing. Instead, hockey should be the catalyst for life-changing memories. These life-changing memories occur when kids are in an emotionally safe environment where they act generously and kindly to one another, open themselves up to each other, speak honestly to one another, and have each others back through an accountability that echoes “I will not let you fail” because your improvement, success and experience is important to me. This to me is worth the sacrifice many are making. This will leave an imprint on each kid as well a blue print that will serve these young people well the rest of their lives. To this end, The Mental Edge is launching “Whose Got Your Back”? Group Coaching experiences. These group coaching experiences will challenge kids to engage in life transforming interactions through generosity, openness, accountability, and honesty while doing this in a safe environment. This concept is currently being championed by best selling author Keith Ferrazzi around the world with incredible buy in. Please join us as we seek to create life-transforming experiences through the incredible sport of hockey.