On the Bubble

“You’re on the bubble.”

Some young players may never hear that uttered throughout their path in the game, while others hear it every year.

One can only imagine what life’s like being a bubble player, year after year.

Being on the bubble at the junior and pro ranks is par for the course, it’s part of the grid and in many ways it adds to the allure of the game and sport. However, for many players, that’s life on the business side of the game. But what’s life like on the bubble in the minor ranks?

There’s no owners manual or step by step instructions or guidelines that players and parents can read and follow when they find themselves in this situation.

Obviously, the hockey world and it’s cultural short comings have led to failed attempts for transparency for these players and their families.

The bubble player and family are often left in the dark when in fact it comes to cut down day.

As written in previous articles the hope of affiliation looms large for these players and families, but that still doesn’t answer the plethora of questions that remain.

Life on the bubble is extremely difficult for the player that misses making the highest level their first year and makes it their second. Those players often excel and have a solid year when they finally arrive, but yet it’s back to life on the bubble the following year.

Life on the bubble or back to square one. You would think the hockey world and it’s close knit community would vouch for those players. Unfortunately, in some cases it’s the complete opposite. The close knit hockey community, AKA political bull shit that sometimes goes on behind the scenes automatically discredits the bubble player or the second year “success story” players true ability.

How much hockey jargon can one player and their family take before losing the passion and love of the game.

Let’s face it there’s always going to be bubble players, those players that are extremely close, but lack some aspect that holds them back from playing at the next level.

That’s life, that’s sports, but shouldn’t the player and the family be told the truth?

Shouldn’t they know exactly what to work on, exactly where they stand?

Obviously, the bubble player will have success playing a step below, but what about the developmental aspects of the year in “minor”. Shouldn’t development and getting players ready for the next step be the main focus of the “minor” team?

You see it all comes back to promises, hockey promises, affiliation promises. After the bubble player gets released, that’s when the promises surface, but many times those promises are empty promises leaving the family and player even more confused.

Are the reasons given for their release, really true or is there an ulterior motives, ie political bull shit.

You see the bubble player and their family have heard it all before, that’s what makes their situation extremely challenging.

At this point in the process, these families are left searching for the best option for their child. In many cases the best options are usually all taken. It’s easy to criticize, it’s easy to say oh those “hockey parents” are just trying to cause problems, but really they just want honest straight forward answers so they can access the situation and make the best decision for their child moving forward.

Obviously, the bubble player has potential and in many cases could in fact be a late bloomer and only scratching the surface. The journey for theses players are incredibly difficult to navigate.

For many first year U-18 players, the dream to play elite level hockey is still ever present. Getting cut in their draft year is devastating and could in fact mean the end of their journey in the game, well that’s what a lot of people think anyway and that’s certainly not the case.

There are tons of success stories out there that prove that the hockey world should never give up on any player at any time. You never know on the bubble, never count anyone out, you never know what a bubble player can do when given an opportunity.

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