Early February is yet another important time in the long hockey season to check in with yourself, your family, and your player about the myriad emotions that come from playing the greatest game on earth and why you love hockey. Many Seattle Junior and Red Hawks teams are coalescing into the strong bonded teams we strive for at the beginning of each season. Players are developing their skills and coaches are seeing leaders and learners come out of their shells. Seattle Junior and Red Hawks teams are also going through adversity which is normal over the course of a long season. And, with any adversity there is an opportunity to learn more and grow our community because we all love hockey!
Good news, the season is not over and we still have time to finish strong! But, we understand that right now is a time when the season is barrelling towards the playoffs, when tryouts are in the not-so-distant future, and when rumors are strong. When it all feels very big and separate from the actual game, return back to a simple question: Why do I love hockey? To push on that, what brings me joy from the game even when things are tough? And, what/who inspires me to be my best self on the ice or in the stands? And, what helps remind me that I love hockey? And, how can I bring my joy to share with my team?
For me, this is Marty by the way, hi, I grew up during a time when the NHL Road to the Winter Classic was still called NHL 24/7. For 5 weeks leading up to the Winter Classic I was glued to the TV because I was able to see the inner lives of the players I was only able to idolize during their regular season game broadcasts. Seeing them making coffee in the morning, sweating in the gym because they are training after games to stay strong, battling and joking with one another in practice or the locker room, and talking about the pressures they faced being ambassadors for their cities, I was constantly moved to tears. For me, it was that the athletes displayed this dedication in the big and the mundane moments to excel at the highest level. Their dedication mirrored the dedication I gave to the game as a player, a coach, and now as a Director. If those guys love hockey enough to give everything to it, then I knew I loved hockey for the right reasons too. I often return to these episodes when I need to remind myself why I love hockey. Simply put, I love hockey because its container is big enough to fit all I can give. This is why I come to the rink every day to build SJHA's culture.
When I asked Annie, SJHA's Girl's Director, she immediately said this "One of my favorite memories from growing up was watching Miracle for the first time with my dad (he was at the game, believe it or not!). Since the first time I watched it, I made a habit of making sure I returned to it at least once a season. Whether it was during a roadie in college or watching it with my dad over the holiday break, it always reminds me that this beautiful game we all love can conquer insurmountable odds when we band together. The date the game was played, February 22, is coming up on us- you know what I'll be doing!"
In our youth hockey community our players, coaches, parents, officials, and volunteers do their best every day. Each and everyone one of them does their best because they love hockey for their own specific reason. If you are in a lull at hockey right now, facing adversity alone or with your team, or you are looking for that motivation to hit the playoffs hot, check in and connect with your WHY. If this process is positive, share it with us! We would love to hear about your love for the game.