About a month ago I was asked by the organizing committee of the New Brunswick Central U18 Hockey League Provincial Championships to be the keynote speaker at their Provincial Banquet in Fredericton.
I’ve done presentations to teams, but nothing like this.
It was an incredible honour to have the opportunity to speak tonight.
I would like to thank the entire organizing committee, Hockey New Brunswick, the NB Central U18 Hockey League’s board and the countless volunteers, Denver Gregan of Dennieg Photography that made Friday night and the entire tournament possible.
Here’s the message I shared on Friday night,
What Does the Game Really Mean to You? Where Do You Want the Game to Take you? What Are You Doing Every Day to Get Better?
Those are my three foundational questions,
I’ve written countless articles mentioning those questions, and to be honest, people are probably getting pretty sick and tired of hearing them.
Ironically, there isn’t a conversation between a team, a hockey parent, an agent or a player in which those three questions don’t receive attention.
Obviously, we all have different answers to those questions, just like we have all experienced different things within the game of hockey.
The experiences we have all encountered in the game both past and present, negative or positive have led us to this point.
Some experiences within the game are hard to imagine while others inspire.
Some experiences build character, confidence and resiliency.
How have you grown as player, a coach, a parent, but more importantly how have all those experiences in the game helped you grow as a person?
After this weekend some of you might be stepping away from hockey.
What has the game and all of the experiences meant to you?
It still might be too early to reflect on that question, but leaving the game is never easy, you will always have the memories and the friendships to reflect on, but never forget what the game and all of the experiences has taught you.
The basis for success within the game is derived by the amount of commitment, effort, passion and skill you possess. You can have all the skill in the world, but you sure as hell won’t get very far without the first three things I just mentioned. The intangibles you bring to the game are truly invaluable.
The game has taught us to embrace diversity and to understand and accept the uniqueness of fellow teammates and competitors without judging them.
The game has taught us that the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back.
The game has provided us with the opportunity to respect the passion and sacrifice of others.
The game of hockey gave us a chance to share all those experiences with those that matter most to us, our family, our teammates and coaches.
To leave the game of hockey isn’t the end, but to give back to the game that has given you so much is just the beginning.
When you give back to the game it’s a chance for all of us to enhance the experience of others, to make their journey within it even more memorable than ours.
To all of the players that still have time remaining at this level and beyond, your future experiences within the game have yet to be written.
What are you doing every day to get better?
Where do you want the game to take you?
What does the game really mean to you?
My message to you would be to embrace the grind, keep working hard and deepen your passion and love for the game and your experiences will surpass your expectations.
To all the coaches, managers and parents,
Thank you for everything you do,
The journey is often shared just like all of the sacrifices.
You have no idea the impact you have made and will continue to have on players, and our great game.
You are the authors of experience when it comes to the game of hockey.
How are you going to enhance the experience of others within the game in the years to come?
About month ago now, during a presentation to a hockey team, I had a player raise their hand and ask me what the game meant to me?
As I began to answer the question, the memories of when I learned to skate and first played the game came flooding back to me. You see I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams having the opportunity to scout, broadcast, coach, write about and play the game I love.
The game of hockey has provided me with some truly amazing experiences. Having this opportunity to meet you and speak to you tonight is one experience that I will never forget,
Best of luck to all of the players, coaches and parents this weekend and beyond.