Minor Hockey Chronicles 4th Edition: Why Take Them, If You’re Not Going to Play Them?

I’ve shortened the bench, every coach has shortened their benches. We all know why, the real question that should be asked is why shorten the bench at all?

I realize that the entire “fair play” debate is still raging all over the minor sporting world and that will never change.

I realize coaches need to send messages when players don’t follow or buy in to team culture, but why the hell are coaches that are coaching at developmental levels shortening their benches in the first month of the season?

Why the hell did you select the player, if you’re not going to play them when they haven’t done anything wrong?

If they don’t buy in, if they are entitled or have attitude then that’s fine, if they take undisciplined penalties then fine, but if they are sitting because it’s just the way it goes at that level then that’s just wrong on so many levels.

Every player has to be valued, every player should be valued, it’s a team game.

You see that all comes down to a cultural coaching mindset and philosophy. How is a player going to learn and develop when they are denied ice time, just because?

Sitting on the bench because you’re in over your head because you’re not ready or prepared or given the opportunity is just plain wrong.

If you’re on the bench because the player isn’t ready to play at that level and was selected for depth or because their parents were tight with the coaching staff then that’s bull shit to.

Some associations have given minor hockey coaches free reign in the final 5mins of the game to shorten their bench.

The vast majority of the hockey world is no doubt torn when it comes to this topic.

The question remains, why would you select the player, if you’re not going to play them?

Play your players, shorten the bench when messages need be sent, moves players in and out of the line up, but whatever you do don’t “ghost bench” kids for being the perceived weakness link.

Empower players, provide feedback, do your job, coach development, don’t sit players “just because” it’s the elite level and they should play better.

Why the hell would you select them if you’re not playing?

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