Should We Switch Hockey Associations?
This question comes up every spring when it’s time to make the deposit for the next year. Unfortunately, there is no 100 percent correct answer. However, I have seen, over time, that about 90 percent of families realize they were in a pretty good organization after they make a change. I believe in loyalty to associations. Kids should have loyalty to the program they started with and give that program the benefit of the doubt. With that being said, it is also the association’s responsibility to be accountable to its members and ensure they offer good coaches, a solid skill-development program and a well-organized schedule.
Over my years as a director, I’ve had coaches who weren’t up to the standards I hoped for. Does each program have a hard time finding quality coaches? Yes! My guess is that over a youth hockey “career”—let’s say 12 to 13 years—each player is likely to experience a season (or two) that does not meet the expectations the program strives to obtain. Does that mean you transfer to another program? My answer would be no.
Are there exceptions? Absolutely, there will be some. I do believe that sometimes a change is good. There are always cases where it might be best for the player, family and program to part ways. However, I would say that 90 percent of players should (and usually do) remain with their club.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Angelo Ricci for sharing his 15 years of expertise as a hockey director in this article. Ricci is founder, head instructor and consultant for Ricci Hockey Consulting. With 20+ years experience as a skills and stickhandling coach, he conducts/oversees more than 40 programs year-round that develop over 1,000 players each year.
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