En·ti·tled adjective : believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

More and more players in today’s era of the game seem to be entitled. What does it look like? Well that’s easy for some to see. How does it manifest itself? That’s the question everyone should be asking themselves. 

Obviously, everyone has their own opinions on this topic and as they say “opinions are like noses everyone has one.” 

Photo Credit USA Hockey

Some would say the entitlement starts at home, while others would say it has it’s root in the sport and hockey culture itself. Either way entitlement is a growing problem within the game, with very few people wanting to discuss it. 

“Believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” 

That’s such a great definition, doesn’t that sum up what everyone observes across the sporting world these days. Hell, one might say that about all young people in every walk of life.  

It’s not fair to make sweeping statements, but it’s not hard to see some players are given different opportunities, follow different rules and standards, and in some cases make up their own as they go along. 

Accountability, ownership and responsibility are overlooked by many young athletes. 

Do highly skilled and touted players feel entitled because they feel “inherently deserving” of a larger role on the team? Have they been told they are better than everyone else their entire life or can they identify that themselves and just expect preferential treatment just because of who they are.  

Entitled young players seem to always have a day of reckoning, but sometimes it happens way too late. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. When it does happen everyone else is to blame, but themselves.

Some young players don’t feel the wrath of reality because they are shielded from it or catered to their entire playing careers. They are given “privileges and special treatment” their entire playing career, so it’s just becomes second nature, it’s just expected. Every step of the way, the player just assumes their position, assumes their place amongst the hierarchy of the team and game.

The day of reckoning for these players will still come and for most of those players when it does it usually hits hard with massive disappointment and devastation. 

Does the game of hockey really prepare young kids for the reality of life or does the sport create a class system with a foundation built on preferential treatment and entitlement within its culture?  

Who controls this? Who created this dynamic? What role do the parents play? What role do coaches play and most importantly what role does that player have in all of this? 

Obviously, this topic raises more questions than answers, but with more and more players coming up through the ranks just assuming their role on the team to be given rather than earning it only magnifies the issue. 

Every aspect of the game can be influenced by entitlement. 

There’s a big difference between earning it, setting a player up for success, working for your opportunity and climbing the ladder. 

It all goes back to culture and philosophy. The culture of the organization and philosophy of the coach and the “buy-in” from the player. Entitled is entitled, gone are the days where you have to earn your spot in the Top 6 or Top 2 D pairings. Gone are the days where the “supposed” top players be held accountable. Gone are the days where the top players get sat for their attitude or performance. Ironically when they do get benched all the attention is often misguided or misdirected towards the coach or organization for trying to keep them accountable.

The game has changed, the players have changed. Entitlement continues to change the face of the game due in large to the sheer volume of players that are entitled. 

Why earn it, when you can be given everything?  When things go bad, just blame someone else, it’s their problem, not yours.  Entitled is entitled and it’s quickly becoming a massive problem in the game. If you don’t think so, just watch a little closer. 

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