Time and time again, we are told that minor hockey is for the kids and that it’s meant to be fun while also teaching them skills that they can carry through their lives.
Unfortunately though, life lessons are increasingly being taught to these kids by adults that are either obsessed with competition or attempting to live unfulfilled dreams through their children.
Normally you will hear about the crazed parent or coach attacking someone from the opposition or an official they feel wronged — real or imagined — their club in some way.
However, recently the adults have taken to destroying the spirits of hockey playing kids by wielding a sledgehammer to stamp out anyone, team or association that might possibly or even minutely in breach of a rule or regulation in order for their child, team or association to succeed.
Anyone that’s involved in minor hockey has heard of the controversy to come out of Ontario regarding the suspension of several players, plus a coach even though he wasn’t coaching the team his son was suspended from, over the fact these kids were also playing in a league not affiliated with Hockey Canada.
Now, an entire peewee team has decided to not take part in the league playoffs simply because its top player was told he couldn’t take part once the regular season was complete.
The players of this squad — the Bashaw Stars — and not the coaches made up their minds to end the year as a team, rather than move forward without a teammate. This decision also means the team, which placed on top of their division and fourth in the league overall, won’t play for a championship and also forfeit any shot at a provincial title.
A complete reason behind the ruling hasn’t been made available from either the league or Hockey Alberta (at the time this was written). However, it was alleged the player was ‘restricted’ from progressing with the team mainly because of his skill and ability, while using the guise that this player was a registered overage player.
Bashaw has more than one overage player on the roster, but none of them were told they couldn’t play.
However, only the player that happens to be leading the league with 71 goals and 96 points in 20 games — 24 goals more and 24 points higher than the next closest player.
That said, Bashaw is not the best team in the league as the club has a record of 12 wins along six losses and two ties and have concluded their regular season.
Compare that with the league’s top two teams — Fox Creek with two games left and Hinton with one — sitting at one and two losses respectively on the year. It should be noted Fox Creek has three overage players, none of which have been restricted from the playoffs.
In fact, Bashaw can be lumped in with six other clubs whose point total ranges from 27 to 20, with all but one of those other teams still having upwards of three games yet to play.
One further argument can be made, in that Bashaw isn’t even close to the highest scoring team in the league, as they have deposited the puck in the opponent’s net 148 times. Meanwhile, the top two teams have scored 183 and 153 times plus they both still have games to play.
Besides the fact the kid is a stellar player, hockey is a team game and as shown even in the NHL — just because you may have the best player out there doesn’t equate into success.
So I ask, is there really a reason for some adult to decide this player shouldn’t be allowed to play?
Credit the coaching staff in Bashaw and the parents for allowing the team to determine their own fate and for supporting the ‘grown up’ decision-making shown by the players.
And a jersey tossed on the ice from the stands for whichever league or provincial organization official took this heavy-handed action that shut out a team from playing a game they love — all because a kid knows how to skate and score.
But that is…just an observation.
Jordie Dwyer is a reporter with the Bashaw Star and writes a regular column for the paper. Bashaw Star is a member of the Black Press Media group.
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