I was always told to pass the puck by my brother, parents and coaches.
We were taught to pass the puck. We were taught how to pass the puck.
We were told to pass the puck or there would be consequences.
That’s how I was brought up in the game.
Passing the puck was just something you did, it was natural, it was always expected.
We were taught from a very young age to share the wreath so to speak at all times, no matter what.
Obviously, I’ve written a lot about this topic since starting Observations From the Rink; which I’ve been criticized for on countless occasions, but it’s evident passing the puck is a lost art.
Players that pass the puck jump off the page., actually they drastically climb up any draft board. Those that can’t or refuse to pass the puck plummet.
With all the focus on individual skill development, one could say they passing has taken a back seat in the game. Don’t believe just go watch a Bantam or Midget game.
So what if a young draft eligible prospect reaches out to a scout and asks this question;
What do I do if they don’t pass the puck?
Well, here we go. First off, we can all recall those experiences. We can all recall some people’s reaction to that, we can all recall our coaches reaction to that. For some of us, we can recall our own reactions to that from a coaching perspective.
So, what would I say to a young player that reached out wanting to know the answer to that million dollar hockey question.
Let’s just put it this way, to each their own, but this is exactly what I would tell them.
First off, try to have the conversation with the line mate or teammate in question once you return to the bench. The first convo should be somewhat polite and understanding.
If it continues to happen, tell the player in question how you really feel. By this time hopefully the coaches will intervene with some common sense and consequences with to the player in question that refuses to move the puck.
If the player in question doesn’t respond or ignores the feedback and if the coach is ignorant or clearly is playing favourites amongst their “superstars” or “impact players” and refuses to provide feedback, then the next order is business is quite cold.
You freeze that player out.
You simply don’t pass the puck to them. Yes I said it.
You freeze them the f&$@ out.
A little taste of their own medicine should do the trick.
Oh wow I bet you can’t believe you’re reading this eh.
How could he say something like this?
Well wake up and smell the roses, this shit is happening at every level the game is played. Just watch.
How the hell would you feel if you’re not getting the puck, but yet when it’s on your stick it’s moved almost instantly. That’s how you play the game the right way.
Contrary to what people think, that’s how the “real hockey players” get noticed.
So what if the freezing out doesn’t seem to have an effect?
Well the dreaded off side call will undoubtedly work.
Simply put, if the player in question doesn’t move the puck or “head man” the puck you put them the hell ofdside.
Every time you put them offside, they will get super pissed, but eventually they will get the hint.
Don’t believe me, try it.
Don’t believe this shit happens, watch closer.
Passing is a lost art.
Those that pass the puck are valuable, those that don’t are just entitled puck-hogs that will learn lessons eventually the hard way.
This might sound over the top or extreme. This might sound out of character, but can you imagine the players that have been dealing with this an entire season?
Can you imagine if they have been playing with the same players all the way up through and the behaviour has never been corrected, never addressed or worst case celebrated and rewarded?
Can you imagine if coaches actually praise and promoted a non passing culture? You know something that’s exactly the message they all send when they ignore selfish players.