Since I’ve mentioned a few times about how small the hockey world is, I thought it might be a good idea to tell you a story demonstrating that.
My son was a Bantam, and we were set to play an out of district scrimmage against a team who was known to be tough. I was working the penalty box for the opposing team. Now, Bantam parents can get pretty crazy at times because this is when checking is introduced,and lots of these parents don’t really know the difference between a check and simply playing physically. Our team’s group of parents had also been known to be rather vocal at times, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I was pleasantly surprised, though. I noticed the coaches of that team were the most positive guys I’ve ever seen coaching youth sports. Every time a player came off the ice, he was asked if he was having fun or he was complimented on some aspect of his play. They complimented our players, too, and even the referees commented that they were impressed that a Bantam B game was so clean with such well executed hits. They were impressed.
It was very refreshing and made for a fun game, even though we lost, so when I noticed a social media post from our state’s NHL team about nominating youth coaches for some contest, I logged onto their site and nominated this coach. I think the prize was some game tickets and probably some recognition on the JumboTron, and I thought this guy deserved it. The NHL team reached out to me shortly after saying they had never had a coach nominated by the opposing team before, so I thought that was pretty cool, and moved on, not giving it another thought.
A few days later, that coach’s son tracked my son down on social media to compliment him on his play. My son had a few rough games before that game with people yelling things at him from the stands including from parents on our own team, so he was pretty down on himself before that, and this kid reaching out to him really made his day.
Then it turns out that coach won the tickets, and they wanted to invite my son to go to the game. We parents talked and coordinated it, and I drove my son to their house, and they had a blast at the game. Yay for more hockey friends, right?
The story doesn’t end there. We went to a family Thanksgiving dinner at my cousin’s house. We were informed that one of her daughter’s best friends’ family was coming over as well, and my cousin was super excited to tell us this friend had a brother my son’s age who also played hockey. My son is usually the only one his age at these events, so he was excited to have someone to hang with besides the adults or the toddlers, especially since this kid was also a hockey player. Want to take a guess at who it was?