Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top 10 Youth Hockey Myths


When I was new to the sport of youth ice hockey, a well-intentioned hockey dad told me, “Don’t buy big when it comes to skates. Buy the best stick.”  A $200 starter stick?  Gulp!  Thank goodness that didn’t prove to be true.  An inexpensive stick won’t cheat your child out of her goals.  When you’re just starting out, bad advice can spin you in all the wrong directions.  I teamed up with veteran Camillus, N.Y. hockey mom Caroline Stanistreet to help set the record straight with our list of Top 10 Youth Hockey Myths. - 


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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Despicable Me vs Respectable Me Hockey Parent

Don't Be That Hockey Parent

as seen in USA Hockey Magazine September 2014

http://touchpointmedia.uberflip.com/issue/370939/13


It might sound crazy what I’m about to say …

We’ve all met them before (and if you haven’t met them, then we’re talking about you) – The Despicable Me Hockey Parent. They’re the ones hurling insults during a heated game, chastising the ref’s, or playing Scotty-Bowman-from-the-stands.

Before you fall into this trap, why not consider the following, and make a run for The Respectable Me Parent?

Honor
     Learn the value of restraint. It’s something Jr. Coyotes of Az. goalie mom Sharon Enck, AKA Puck Gal, has. “Everyone will forgive you if you forget the team snack, but may not be as quick to turn the other cheek if you spew obscenities at a game.” Enck says it’s best to avoid being the parent everyone hates, for your sake and your child’s.
     As for the game’s sake, parent behavior needs to change says Buffalo, NY HARBORCENTER Vice president and Academy of Hockey Director Kevyn Adams. “It seems that in sports today, the concept of good sportsmanship is lost and parents should remember to behave in an honorable way that we would want our kids to emulate in the future.”
    Back stabbing the coach is a major parent offense. “By undermining your child’s coach, you’re taking away the coach’s credibility and giving your child a reason not to listen to them,” says Adams. “Should your comments leak into the locker room, how awkward that would be?” asks Enck.  
     Think refs are fair game for insults? USA hockey development program official Chris Costa asks that you think about the impact name calling in the stands can have on calls made on the ice, “For young, inexperienced officials, it could affect the next call, distract them for potential goals or violent plays. The aggression can also develop officials that are fearful to make the right call,” says Costa.  

Active but not Over Reactive
  After years of playing, coaching and going to rinks with his own son, Adams has yet to come across a kid who likes losing. But a loss can be a win, with the right spin. “Leave it on the ice,” says Adams. “Encourage them to control the factors that they have control over, such as giving 100% effort on the ice.” If you lighten up, Adams says your kids will enjoy the game more and worry less about the outcome – something out of their control. 
     There’s no post game analysis for Enck, “I let my daughter talk, uninterrupted for five minutes after a game. Once the five minutes are up, we’re done.”

Passion
     Keep the passion positive and let other mamas have the drama. “Talking smack about other kids and parents is bad form. And it’s a small world, so remember that if your kid stays in the sport long enough you will see them again,” says Enck.

Patience
     Perhaps there’s nothing more discouraging to a child than post game antics by parents.  “In those cases where you do become upset, remove yourself from the environment so your child doesn’t see your negativity,” says Adams.

Youth Sports
     Sports can bring out the best in us. It can also bring out the worst. Leave “despicable me” at home. Be that Honorable, Active, Passionate, Patient with our Youth parent – you’ll soon learn you don’t to be wearing Pharrell’s oversized hat to be Happy.  




Syracuse hockey mom Christie Casciano Burns is the author of The Puck Hog and Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid.




Saturday, August 16, 2014

Trading Places









                                     Trading Places with Amanda Kessel
                                                    by Sophia Burns
                                                         Age 12 



With 108 goals Amanda Kessel, Olympic
hockey superstar, is living my dream of being a successful woman who has literally
achieved many goals. This 22 year old gutsy hockey player has incredible speed,
skill, style, determination, and with a hockey stick in her hands, can do
things that are amazing and admirable. It would be a thrill for me to stride,
glide, stick handle the puck  in the net
the way she does and make scoring look so easy. As a young hockey player, I
dream of getting to the point where she is now in her hockey career and seeing
all the hard work pay off. I would love to know what that’s like, even for just
a day. I would want to be Amanda Kessel because she is admirable, relatable,
and an inspirational player and person.
            There are many qualities that I
admire about Kessel as an outstanding hockey player. Amanda Kessel also played
on a boys’ team until the age of 15, and had taught me not to be intimidated by
stronger, bigger players. In the Olympics at Sochi, Russia Kessel had 4 goals,
and 6 assists. I was in awe while watching the Olympic hockey games, and the
people who represented our country. Kessel lead her team in many victories and
few loses. The women’s team won a silver medal after a tough lost to Canada in
overtime. Even though Kessel and her team hadn’t won gold I admire her for her
perseverance, passion, and love of the game. She may not be coming home with
the gold, but she has the spirit of a champion






















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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hockey's Alphabet Soup



As seen in USA Hockey Magazine
  By Christie Casciano Burns




  For people outside of youth hockey, AAA is the number you call when your car breaks down.  AA puts you on a twelve step program to sobriety. A is the grade you want on your child’s report card. But those letters have a whole different meaning to hockey parents.
  
    USA Hockey designates certain leagues throughout the country to create separate levels of play. Tier 1or AAA offers the highest level of competition with between 60 and 90 games per season!
  
   “AAA hockey can be a great environment to play and develop for players who want that challenge. Scouts and recruiters will pay the most attention to the AAA level because, by definition, that’s where they will find the largest pool of talented players,” according to Deputy Executive Director of College Hockey Inc, Nate Ewell. 

Aaron Haider’s son Ethan plays goalie for the AAA 2001 Minnesota Blades and says, “It has helped him become the goalie he is today.” Diane Firmani made her son wait until he could drive before letting him join a AAA team because of the hour-and- a-half long drive from Wasilla to Anchorage, and up to $7,000 in costs and fees.
          
    The intensity of AAA hockey can build players and families, but it can also break them if they’re not careful. “It’s important that families continue to check themselves each season to make sure they are participating in AAA hockey for the right reasons,” said Jim Sarosy, chief operating officer for the Syracuse Crunch (AHL).  Ewell also points out, constantly trying to “play up” at the highest level can sometimes hurt if a player doesn’t get enough ice time.
   
   “Honestly, it doesn’t make a particle of difference until Midgets,” said Firmani. “At the young levels, it’s merely bragging rights for parents and instant martyrdom. Some parents have refinanced their houses for AAA!”
   
     Minnesota’s Champlin Park Hockey Association President Peter Williams advises parents to be smart consumers, “Pick a program that has quality coaching, convenient location and predetermined costs. If they ask for an open ended commitment, don’t do it.” William’s children now concentrate on training and play multiple sports.
   
    Move up the levels – or don’t -- for the right reasons:  for your child, not your ego or your frustrated dreams of professional glory.

   
   And keep in mind NHL.com staff writer Mike Morreale’s assessment of hockey alphabet soup, “If you’re good enough, you will be found whether it’s A, AA or AAA. Players aren’t defined by a letter. They define themselves.”  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Let Kids Be Kids: A Letter to Parents | ADM Kids

Let Kids Be Kids: A Letter to Parents | ADM Kids

Let Kids Be Kids: A Letter to Parents

06/11/2014, 9:30am MDT
By Hockey Mom
Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter submitted by a hockey mom to USA Hockey.
I’m a hockey mom – and I’m done.
I’m not done taking my child to hockey. I’m not done cheering them on. I’m not done providing for them, playing with them or parenting them. I’m not done loving them, by any means. But I am done trying to create the perfect hockey experience for them.
As parents, we want nothing but the best for our children. It’s an innate part of being called mom and dad. We want to ensure they have the best academic possibilities, the best upbringing, and in many cases, the best athletic opportunities. High achievements in any or all of those categories assert us as “good parents.”
But sometimes striving to obtain that “good parent” status causes us to get in our own way.
We tend to overexert ourselves in the process of trying to get our kids to the very top, which, in turn, can overexert them. This is becoming a very common trend in general parenting, but especially sports – hockey being no exception.
I feel our responsibilities are simple: 1. Get them to the rink. 2. Be supportive.
Yelling should be swapped for cheering. Car coaching exchanged for song celebration after the game. And long hockey talks at the dinner table can be replaced with compliments to the chef.
Sounds easy, right? But it can be hard sometimes.
Instead, the desire for our child to be an A-tier player and the seduction of a college hockey scholarship has families running mad from rink to rink. It turns into a game of “Keeping up with the Joneses,” always wondering what the parents next door are doing and causing us to think that we failed if our kid fails to make the best team or doesn’t have the newest gear.
I’m done breaking the bank for the most expensive equipment and summer “showcase” events. I’m done watching every second of every practice with a keen and critical eye.
When I grew up, my mom or dad would drop us off at practice and come get us when we were done. But now the trend has shifted to 24-7 hockey – and it’s exhausting.
I don’t want to dictate family life by the hockey schedule. It’s nice for everyone in the household to be able to take a breath and have some downtime. That’s what summer vacation is for: biking, swimming, camping, baseball, Frisbee, and just being kids.
Summer offers a hockey break not only for my hockey player, but our hockey family. And once the leaves start turning colors again in the fall, we can’t wait to hit the ice and see the smiles on kids’ faces.
But there’s always that concern if you do limit hockey: What if they don’t make the team? How will that affect them? Well, it’s probably for their own good.
New York Rangers defenseman and 2014 U.S. Olympian Ryan McDonagh was cut from his A-squirt team.
“And it turned out to be one of the most fun years that I had,” McDonagh told the Minnesota Hockey Journal. “It really jump-started me to stay positive. My dad was real positive about the whole experience. He just wanted me to have fun and not stress out about it. I gradually got better as it went on.”
My kids aren’t NHL players, and they likely never will be. They are kids. Kids who love to play hockey … and baseball and soccer and go camping and biking. And I’m going to let them do it. I’ll let them play. I’ll let them fail. I’ll let them learn on their own.
I’ll let the kids be kids.
“I think you learn lessons as a kid,” 2014 U.S. Olympian Kevin Shattenkirk told USA Hockey. “It’s fun playing hockey as a kid and it’s not about being a professional. Most of us (NHL players) will tell you we still feel like kids when we are playing this game and that’s the biggest thing I’ve taken from playing hockey – the fun of a game.”
Years down the road, my kids won’t remember the summer clinics, hockey lectures or brand-new skates. What they will remember is the camaraderie with teammates, lifelong friendships, family camping trips, accomplishments, hardships and lessons learned. Those are the childhood memories worth making.
And I’m done trying to get in the way.
Sincerely,
Anonymous Hockey Mom

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Keeping Parents In Check


                                 

   We all want our our kids to come out of  their youth hockey experiences as winners and there's no question parents play a vital position. But you have to question some of the behavior that goes on during the youth hockey season.  From cussing in the stands to back stabbing coaches, what kind of harm comes from parents going overboard with criticism? Plenty says the Vice President of HARBORCENTER in Buffalo and director of the Academy of Hockey. Kevyn Adams is well-respected, with a LOT of hockey background. He was an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres following a 10- year playing career in the NHL. He's played for six clubs including the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets.


                                                                                                                                                                  
HARBORCENTER Vice President Kevyn Adams

After years of playing, coaching and going to rinks with his own son, Adams has seen a  lot  of  inappropriate behavior from parents on the sidelines after games. The VP was kind enough to take time out of his hectic schedule to share his personal philosophy about hockey and parenting. 

 Respect 
        I think the harm created by parents' criticism can lead to a child's lack of interest in the game, confidence issues on and off the ice, and impaired relationships with the child. It is also very important to never criticize coaches or referees in front of your kids. Respecting authoritative figures is a crucial value your child must learn to be successful in the real world. By undermining your child's coach, you're taking away the coach's credibility and giving your child a reason not to listen to them. This not only can hurt your own child;s development, but it can influence how other teammates view and act towards the coach, resulting in a negative experience for all.

Let Coaches Coach

From my experience as a coach, my advice to parents is to leave the coaching to the coaches. While you may think you are helping your child by correcting them, you actually put yourself at a risk of sending mixed signals to them because what they are hearing from you is completely different than what their coach is telling them in the locker room. The best thing you can do as a parent is provide the emotional support your child needs because their chances of being successful are much greater in a positive environment.

Teachable Moments
       I have yet to come across a kid who likes losing. This is where a parent plays a crucial role, because it is their job to teach their kids how to deal with a loss or a bad performance and be able to move on and turn their focus to the next game. This is an invaluable lesson because this attitude will carry over and affect how their kids deal with other disappointments that they face in life. Winning comes and goes, but the values they learn through playing sports remain for the rest of their lives.
Congratulate your kid after a win and don’t beat them up emotionally after a loss. Kids face enough pressure coming from their teammates, coaches, and classmates, along with all of the pressures associated with school and their social lives. The best advice that you can teach your kids is to “leave it on the ice.” Encourage your kid to control the factors that they have control over, such as giving 100% effort on the ice. This will naturally take pressure off of your child and allow them to enjoy the game more and not worry as much on the outcome – something out of their control. 

Fun at All Costs 
    The number one thing that a parent has to try to keep in perspective is that youth sports are meant to be fun. There is nothing more discouraging and physiologically damaging to a child than receiving the cold-shoulder treatment or being yelled at by a parent after a game. If your child performed poorly, your child should never get the feeling that you love them less or that you aren’t proud of them. As a parent, your job is to empower your child and encourage them to chase their dreams. Be the best that they can possibly be on and off the ice, while gaining experiences and learning life lessons in the process. In those cases where you do become upset, remove yourself from the environment so your child doesn’t see your negativity. This allows for yourself and your child to cool down and regain one’s composure after a game. On the way home, ask your child if they had fun and remind them that you love them and are proud of them – win or lose.
     It seems that in sports today, the concept of good sportsmanship is lost and we, as parents, should remember to behave in an honorable way that we would want our kids to emulate in the future.


Cool Facts about HABORCENTER in Buffalo, New York 




complex


  • HARBORCENTER’s two NHL-size rinks combine with First Niagara Center – home of the Buffalo Sabres – to make the only three-rink complex in the NHL. Rink 1 has a seating capacity of 1,800+ and is home to the Buffalo Junior Sabres, Canisius College, and Erie Community College.
Academy of Hockey
  • The Academy of Hockey is dedicated to being the premier development destination for hockey players and coaches. The Academy provides on-ice, off-ice, and classroom programming to hockey players and coaches.
(716) Food & Sport
  • The Ultimate Fan Experience – (716) embraces the passion of sport enthusiasts by providing a premier entertainment destination for all major sporting events. Western New York culinary favorites are delivered through locally produced ingredients, in addition to signature cocktails and craft beers.
IMPACT Sports Performance
  • HARBORCENTER’s state-of-the-art training facility is operated by IMPACT Sports Performance. IMPACT combines an unmatched facility, expert coaching staff, state of the art equipment, and movement-specific programming for total athletic achievement and individual success.
Marriott Hotel
  • Scheduled to open in Spring ‘15, the Marriott at HARBORCENTER will offer 205 rooms and suites, 5,000 square feet of meeting space for groups up to 450 persons, a fitness center, a business center and other amenities.
Parking Facilities
  • HARBORCENTER includes a 750-space parking structure that is designed to meet parking demands for not only the hotel, rinks and restaurant but also to provide additional convenience for First Niagara Center and Canalside visitors.
Retail Space
  • Retail space at HARBORCENTER is designed to provide visitors with additional shopping convenience. A one-of-a-kind Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop is accessible from the street level at the intersection of Main Street & Scott Street, across from the site of the former Memorial Auditorium. The restaurant pays tribute to the life and career of Tim Horton, as well as the history of downtown Buffalo.