In 2011-2012, I was part of something quite special.
The team I was coaching was one of those teams that only appear every once and awhile. We had started of the year at a very good clip and whenever you are coaching the Pee Wee AA Provincial level, you are aware that teams are going to be gunning for you down the stretch into playoffs and provincials. The most important aspect as a coach was teaching those young players how to respect their opposition on a competitive and personal level. Whenever body contact is introduced to the game it’s our responsibility as coaches to teach respect, control and technique. Nevertheless, teaching restraint to young players is probably one of the most important aspects we as coaches can promote, model and teach.
Don’t get me wrong, we were a physical team, but we only had one suspension all year for hitting from behind and as a coach I was proud of that!
To show restraint and “class” in hockey can manifest itself in countless ways and I strongly believe that it’s the duty of coaches to promote this aspect of the game.
From the beginning of the season, my coaching staff talked about “Class” and what that entails, I’ll never forget playing high school hockey and one of my teammates scored a nice goal in the 3rd period of a lopsided game, well his “celly” was a little over the top, and I basically told him at center ice right after he scored to “tone it down, show some respect.”
He responded, “go to hell, Eagles”. Next shift he had a target on his back, and then the opposition started taking runs at our Top 6, he quickly learned a lesson that night.
When you engage in staged celly’s be careful, they might come back and bite you in the arse or get one of your best players hurt.
In my opinion, staged goal celebrations are highly overrated and I believe show very poor sportsmanship.
If it’s a massive goal then we should let the moment play out, but if you are “thumping” a team show some “class” and refrain from celebrating.
My perspective on this as a former coach was pretty simple, at any time if the goal differential was 5 or greater, my bench would not be partaking in celebration. The players are to come back to the bench and go line up for the face off and act like you have been there before.
We were fortunate in 2011-2012 to play in six tournaments,
five of which we played in the Championship Game and three of which we came out on top. We won a Tournament in Nova Scotia early on in the season and that was where we learned how to win a big game. It was a lopsided win and we were really clicking as a team, we showed great class in winning, by not throwing all of our equipment all over the ice, and skating around the oppositions home ice with the banner.
Some things you just don’t do when you win and I felt very strongly that if our players took anything out of winning is that they quickly realize that there is a team down the hall that is devastated and that team could be us.
The same thing applies to scoring goals and staged “celly’s”.
So how do we teach “class” to young players, well you have to constantly remind them of it and winning and losing is part of that, we always talked about the game of hockey and that we didn’t want to take anything away from the game.
Nothing is bigger than the game.
Refusing to allow our club to bang sticks on the boards before the puck drop and after a goal was just another way to teach class, I was mentored by a very “old school” coach, that ultimately said “we don’t do that here, we are all about class.”
That is something that I’ll never forget, especially when you have been on the other side of the coin and losing lopsided games wishing your opponents would show some ounce of class, in effort not to be embarrassed.
It’s unfortunate that this great game can be marred with teams that don’t have the same belief system, but when a team and organization show class, everyone in the rink recognizes and appreciates it.
The 2011-2012 season came down to the Provincial Final game against the host team that year and we were very fortunate to come out with the victory especially when the host club hit four posts in the first 8 minutes of the game.
As a team we “weathered the storm” and came out on top 4-0. Up and down the bench I went in the last minute and half of the game instructing my players not to throw their shit on the ice, “we don’t do that here”, I said.
I guess some things just have a way of sticking with a person, especially when you want to stay classy.
I’m all for players being excited scoring big goals and winning championship games, but staged celebrations and rehearsed “celly’s”
in my opinion are highly overrated and have no place in the game.
Maybe I’m too old school, but the old adage “act like you have done it before” comes to mind when I see young draft eligible players “glass jumping,” “rubbing the ice,” “yelling f&$@ yeah,” “let’s f@$&ing go” at the top of their lungs after they score.
Don’t get me started when those “celly’s” come in lopsided games, it’s just plain disrespectful and above all those players are disrespecting the game.
I’m all for creativity, I’m all for reacting and celebrating a massive goal in a critical juncture of the game, but staged “celly’s” shouldn’t be what young players are concerned or obsessed with, they should be more focused on playing the game the right way and showing class while doing so.
In my opinion that’s why minor hockey coaches should teach class and be very mindful when promoting or creating an environment where “staged celly’s” are accepted and celebrated.
Celebrate the goals you score with your line mates and team, but don’t take it too far and disrespect your opponent.
All young players and coaches that allow “celly’s” to be a thing should remember.
“For every action their is an equal and opposite reaction.”