This is a selection of online comments from readers about Blank cheques and bodychecks, an in-depth investigation by writer Randy Turner of Manitoba's unregulated elite hockey for children, where costs can hit five figures. The complete feature was published Saturday in the Free Press print edition and is available online.
This article has been the best-read for me for a very long time. So accurate in all respects. All too often these hockey parents are living vicariously through their children and will do all that they can to get their children to the prize.
Parents? Loving? Caring? None of the above, just greed in their eyes.
Great article. Reminds me of AAU basketball in the States.
My boy's gonna play in the big leagues. My boy's gonna turn some heads. My boy's gonna play in the big leagues. My boy's gonna knock 'em dead.
Great story with some great insight from many knowledgeable people from the game of hockey. The other sports or activities in Canada are just as bad, as they try to "snare" the kids into their program 12 months a year. Volleyball and "winter soccer" keep their athletes locked in all year long.
Has anyone done any research on kids eight and up to see how much the chances were improved for entry into major leagues by having had the advantage of such experiences as high-cost summer camps, etc.?
-- K Ross
I know of a family that also spent all their time and money on hockey. None of the three boys made the big leagues. She deeply regrets that her kids lived in an arena on hotdogs and fries. I know another family whose one son made the WHL, only to be injured, and is no longer playing.
-- clean up Winnipeg
For the record, most people who have kids in spring hockey DO NOT think their children are "going to the show." My son loves spring hockey, much more than the winter crap (Winnipeg Minor) -- spring hockey is "real hockey" in our minds. Kids who know how to skate, pass, etc. We hope that eventually there are two leagues -- one for "fair play" and one for "real play."
-- Just mho
This is mostly about parental ego. "My son made this team, he scored X amount of goals and everyone just loves him."
About 10 years ago, my son was playing spring hockey with one of the "elite" teams from the city. We were in Saskatoon, where we had just won the gold medal, my son had just won the MVP of the game, he was the goalie, a 6-1 win. As the assistant coach, I was in the dressing room when a parent asked me to come out. One of the parents was yelling at my son for allowing the one goal. It could have cost his son a gold medal. On our way home, my son informed me that he was done with competitive hockey and the next year he played house hockey and loved it!
So sad that so many kids in this city cannot play hockey at all because all these "organized" teams monopolize every available piece of ice. The average kid cannot just head over to the local community centre and play for the joy of playing anymore. We have truly lost something here.
I have a buddy that was drafted into the NHL in 1974 and played over 100 NHL games and over 300 WHA games, as well as all his junior hockey days, and he said that while he "lived the dream," the last time he had fun playing hockey was when he was 13 years old before it all became "organized."