It teaches discipline, hard work, and getting up off your butt when you are knocked down.
It teaches you to take care of your body and your hockey equipment.
It teaches you to be part of a team.
So, during this trip with Mom to the tournament in Las Vegas, please show her that I was telling the truth, and that you picked up some of these lessons.
Do NOT light up all the elevator buttons like a Christmas Tree.
Do NOT tie together all the towels and toss them in the pool.
Do NOT throw ice off the balcony.
In 1998, the U.S. men’s hockey team played at the Olympics in Nagano, Japan. They played like crap. They lost. And then they got drunk and ruined their hotel rooms. It was embarrassing. It was an international incident. That’s the only thing the team is remembered for – being idiots and losers.
Don’t get drunk and ruin your hotel room. Don’t cause an international incident.
If you are a pain in the butt during this tournament, it will sour Mom permanently on hockey. I guarantee it.
Your hockey gear. It reeks. This is not a reflection on you. All hockey gear reeks. You and I don’t notice it anymore, but regular people do, and Mom definitely will. It’s essential that when you finish your games and return to the hotel room, you hang up your gear to dry.
Otherwise, the inside of your bag will turn into a rank cesspool of sweat, grime, bacteria and wet, moldy padding. Don’t be that kid. Air out your stuff, girl.
Equally important, when it’s time to re-pack everything and go to the rink, re-pack EVERYTHING.
You know how I occasionally have left behind a key item of your gear, and when we get to the rink, you want to rip my head off?
From now on, it’s going to be up to you. You’ll be in charge of your own gear. Your brother, too.
You guys already tie your own skates, and have done so for a long time. We’re overdue for you to pack your own bags. Stay on top of it. There’s no worse feeling than showing up at the rink and seeing that you forgot elbow pads. Or skates. Or gloves.
I used to have anxiety dreams about this as a kid. In my dreams, my skate laces were always missing. And I didn’t even play ice hockey as a kid!
Floodgates. After a bit of a scoring drought, you potted a goal last week against OC Hockey Club. In fact, you almost scored two more after that.
Once a person finally scores, sometimes the goals flow easily. This is called floodgates.
Keep going hard to the net with your stick on the ice. Look for garbage goals. Use your size and spirit. There may be more goals where last week’s came from.
And then you can give Timmy D. that shooting clinic you promised him!
4th-Line Minutes. It doesn’t matter whether you play 20 minutes per game, like Ovechkin, or six minutes per game, like Caps rookie brawler Tom Wilson. Skate each shift as if it’s your last, as if it’s your final tryout for next year’s team.
As Coach Joe says, give your coach no choice but to put you on the ice. Move your feet. Skate hard. Hustle, hustle, hustle.
As soon as you’re tired and the puck isn’t in your own end (and, ideally, when the puck is moving into the other end), then head to the damn bench for a change. You don’t have to wait for the coach’s call. You can get plenty done in 45 seconds or 1 minute.
If you’re heading off for an early change, and no one on the bench notices, bang your stick on the ice. Let ‘em know you’re coming.
Coaching. For this tournament, the head coach is Dylan’s dad, Brian. Coach Joe will be in Detroit. Coach Daniel will be in Boston. Brian is a highly qualified coach. He is from Canada. He coaches a high school team. You see how his son plays; his son already knows how to hit, even though it’s not legal yet at your age.
Let the coaches coach, and the refs ref. You are a player. You just play. Don’t worry about how anyone else is playing. Never, ever put out your hands to protest a call by the ref. It comes across as whiny and lame, just like you-know-who on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Stupid penalties. Don’t take them! You can protect yourself and your teammates just fine without punches, late hits, or dangerous cross-checks near the boards. Battle for the puck and for position. Only shove or cross-check if an opponent gets seriously out-of-line with your goalie.
During this trip, show Mom you’re mature and independent. Show her that you arrive on time and that you stay out of trouble.
If you do, you may just buy yourself another year of hockey.
Don’t act your age. Act older!
There will be downtime during the weekend. Remember to ask Mom what she wants to do. Don’t just tell her what you want to do.
Say yes, please, and thank you. Hold the door open for someone. That is what hockey players do. I’m serious.
During your downtime, do some homework. Get rest. Eat a decent meal.
Act like a pro, okay? Don’t be like the guys at Nagano in 1998.
Call or text me if you have any questions.