Posted by Greg Carter
As we head into summer hockey school season we have a really fun stretch of games ahead of us, the playoffs! I can remember as a youth hockey player that there were always the same few teams that every year found themselves in the championship game and most often, winning the title. Sometimes I was on those teams, other times it was that dreaded rival team that we loved playing, but also found a way to win a fair amount of the time.
As I’ve coached youth hockey over the past two decades and run hockey schools all over the country, I can say that this trend has not changed as the same teams seem to always be in the conversation at the end of the year.
In recent articles we’ve talked about Winning Being A Habit and that To Be The Best, You Need To Set Goals Like The Best. When it comes to winning, it’s pretty obvious that the best teams have players who are doing all the little things that add up to the big things! But why is it that certain teams and programs always seem to produce winners? Yes, it starts with skill, talent, work ethic and all of the ingredients that you would expect in a successful recipe, but there is something that I’ve noticed in recent years, especially at the youth levels that great teams share.
As I watch teams, from the good to great, I’m always intrigued by the top players. I watch their skill sets, their style and how they interact with their teammates. From an individual standpoint, this is important because much of the time as the top players go, so goes the team. More specifically, if the team relies on the top player for everything, other teams can usually contain the threat. But if that top player (or players) relies on themselves for everything, and tries to do everything either out of selfishness or not trusting that teammates can get the job done, well this is separation between good teams and championship teams.
What I mean is this: How bad does a top player, or any player for that matter, want to score themselves vs. making sure that the team wins. I’ve seen players in game changing moments shoot from bad angles for example, rather than sliding the puck to a teammate for an easy tap in goal. I’ve seen players that want the notoriety of scoring in the big game or scoring a big goal seemingly more than an assist on a teammates goal. These things don’t happen on championship teams.
The teams that are playing for the championship are the teams that operate like teams! The players, all the players, want the team win more than the individual stats. Championship teams make good hockey decisions, they make good hockey plays, they are unselfish and we is always more important than me.
As you head into the the playoffs we wish you the best of luck at your Mass Hockey USA Hockey or local tournament! We hope that your team comes together and plays like a team and when that final buzzer sounds, you are celebrating a well-deserved championship!
Thanks for reading and as you set goals for next season, please accept our invitation to join us at any of our hockey schools at 11 states this summer!