A Former NHLer’s Take on Youth Hockey

Former NHL star Ray Ferraro was asked to talk to parents of a  club that was going through a tough time, with parent expectations at an all-time high.

This is what Ferraro told the parents.

– Minor hockey is out of control in terms of Parents chasing the dream for their kids instead of kids deciding on their own how passionate they are for it and how bad they want it.

– In the last 10 years only 21 kids who either played at NSWC or BWC have appeared in at least ONE NHL regular season game. Point is if your banking on your son collecting an NHL pay cheque to solidify his and yours financial future you seriously need to stop and come up with a new plan and now.

– The odds of going pro are extremely low but the odds of having to find a career and a job to pay bills and be a husband and father are extremely high and it’s not dictated by if you played AAA hockey

– Parents need to enjoy the ride while you have it … your son’s minor hockey days end too quickly and often times people end up regretting what they did not know then and what they ending up missing because they were focused on everything but their kid having fun

– As a parent who devotes time and money to your son, the only right you have to ask is they give it their best … not how much ice time they get, if they play on the PP, who is their winger or D partner

– Don’t pay for power skating, dryland training, skill development and expect your son to score 50 goals, if you decide to invest in extras do it because your son asked for it and wants to improve and has a smile on his face each and every time … too many parents decide what they want their kids to do instead of their kids asking to do it.

– 12 month hockey is wrong … organized skills sessions, tryouts, spring hockey is too much and too taxing … kids can shoot pucks, stick handle, play street hockey but they need out of the mental insanity of a hockey rink and need to be engaged in something other than hockey … the time away reinforces the passion to want it

– Coaches are coaches we all know the game and think this should be done a certain way … how come we never tell our kids math teacher how to teach calculus but we think as parents we have the right to tell a hockey coach how much ice time and with whom and when our kids should play.

– When you evaluate your kids season, never base it on how many banners they won, what provincial they won, what tourneys they went to and won … ask yourself what improved from September to April, what did he learn or improve upon including non-hockey stuff … evaluate the season besides wins and losses but gains and improvements.

– I have a son who is going through the rigors of pro hockey in the AHL. Hockey is a tough racket. Growing up, my dad never talked to me after a game or practice, I did that with my kids. Just let them play, learn and develop. Pressure is high enough, no need to make it worse.


16 Responses to “A Former NHLer’s Take on Youth Hockey”

  1. mboyle1959 Says:


  2. mboyle1959 Says:

    Rick- that hits the nail on the head.

  3. mboyle1959 Says:

    Midget/ high school. Anything below that is poor coaching.

  4. mboyle1959 Says:

    I think you could translate it. I’m not the author though.

  5. excellent article,with a lot of common sence advice

  6. Reblogged this on From Borris' to London and commented:
    It would be no harm for many parents and coaches up and down the GAA pitches of Ireland to take a read of this, print it out, stick it on the fridge door and take heed. There are countless anecdotal examples of young GAA players being put through the misery and humiliation of demanding parents who not only feel they can tell a coach what to do but also feel that any and every Mickey Mouse tournament match is a win-at-all costs event. However it’s not just parents – too large a number of coaches could do well to take a long hard look at their own priorities when taking young people under their wing. Essential reading with a simple message.

  7. This is really well written and is a good reminder to parents of what it’s all about. I’d love to translate this to french to share with my hockey mom/dad friends. Could I ?

  8. At what level of hockey do you think it is ok to bench someone because winning is more important then being fair?

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