An open thank you letter to all hockey volunteers:
We have just finished up our year of hockey. The players are sad it is over and the parents are secretly thrilled at the idea of no practises, no more out-of-town games, no more volunteering for music, or 50/50, or filling the dreaded time clock position.
Away go our gloves, blankets, noise makers and our louder than typical voices. Packed away goes all the players gear—preferably in an outbuilding because some smells just never go away.
I think when we pack up the gear we have a tendency to forget—out of sight and out of mind—but this year I want to make sure that those individuals who have made this past year so wonderful, understand that the time they have given will long be remembered.
I would like to extend a thank you to all those who volunteer with our youth, in whatever capacity that may be. I especially offer a heartfelt thank you to all our volunteer coaches, managers and trainers in Westside Minor Hockey, but especially Midget House Westside Royals, Team 3.
I have said it before, but I want others to know the life changing impact these particular people have made. Hockey is about so much more than the score. Don’t get me wrong, winning is pretty fantastic and we all feel super after a game that was won, but what about the games that are not won? Winning is easy, losing is much more difficult.
Being able to see what you did right and correct what you did wrong for the next round is a valuable life skill. Playing as a team and knowing something about those you work alongside goes a long way in teaching compassion and understanding of others.
Learning to listen, and follow the rules and doing this with a smile and a good sense of humour: Are these not also life skills?
Losing your temper, but apologizing for it, and being humble even when you score the winning goal, because it is not one kid that scores, it is the whole team.
Supporting each other, and offering encouragement even if that puck goes in and you lose the game, because the goalie did not allow the puck to go in, but the entire team. You win as a team and you lose as a team. Our volunteer coaches helped to instill this in our players.
Being successful in life does not mean you always win, or that you are drafted into the NHL. Being successful is so much more. Working hard, being kind to others, being respectful, saying sorry when you have done something wrong, being reliable, passionate about what you do, sharing your knowledge, and helping others not for the recognition, but because it is the right thing to do.
Hockey is not about how many games were won, penalty minutes taken, who skates fastest, or how many face offs your center wins, hockey is really about positively shaping a young person’s life.
Hockey is full of opportunities to learn life skills. I think with supportive parents backing our children, respectful and dedicated coaches assisting in the development of skills, our future looks promising. I expect to see some exceptional individuals coming back into our community wanting to know what they can contribute, instead of what society can do for them. I am a firm believer that most of these players in their lifetime will mirror what they saw, and give back to the community through volunteering.
So, to Mal Griffin, Andy Dartnell, Kevin Hogarth, John Paterson, Connie Griffin and our team photographer Debbie Hogarth—I thank you for all your volunteer time, and for making such a positive impact on each member of the Westside Royals and their families. The year may be over and skates put away, but your effort and time shared will live on much longer than any of you realize.
With my respect and thanks,