A Toronto Star article (Friday, January 11, 2013) by Don Gillmor asked the question: “Is minor hockey worth it?“
Before I finished reading the headline, I was nodding my head. Yes. Of course. I wondered why he was even asking the question. It seemed like a no-brainer to me.
Principles that typically describe the expected outcome for players—confidence, team work, sportsmanship, respect for authority—are demonstrated by my son in his behaviour on and off the ice because he played this competitive, team sport.
Then I noticed the sub-heading “A look at some of the challenges of chasing a dream in the Greater Toronto Hockey League.”
A decade of Triple-A hockey, with all its ups and downs, ins and outs, nutter parents and wonderful parents gave our family a chance to contribute to the team in our community. It gave us a guaranteed, weekend social life. It gave us an extended, albeit temporary, hockey family. Not all friendships last beyond the season, but some have endured beyond minor hockey, beyond the hockey season. We’ve got history with these folks. And a whack of shared memories.
Some of these benefits of being a hockey parent are detailed in Michael Redhill’s “Confessions of a Reluctant Hockey Dad“ in Toronto Life, March 2013.
Redhill’s essay more clearly matched my experiences than those Gillmor described in his Star piece, and I realized that we were lucky, despite the occasional bobble, to have survived a decade in Triple-A minor hockey with few bumps and bruises. Overall, our experience as a hockey family was positive.
Early on, I wondered if minor hockey was worth the cost and investment of time. Just as, at one time, I may have called myself a reluctant hockey parent.
We are just one season removed from minor hockey and in reflecting on articles by both writers, I am reminded of how lucky we were.