I know it sounds cliche but I am going to bitch about hockey parents. But I think more importantly I am going to try and thank the good ones. Been a couple of issues with our team this week And while a select few have taken an opportunity to bash our coaches, I feel like I don’t really need to hold back either.
It is a tough and very enjoyable gig being a coach. I am sure there are a lot of secondary motivations for coaches, but I will be honest about the main focus of almost every coach I know. And this is for those parents who think we give a shit about a win or lose. We don’t, we all want to develop players. The reason for that is two things. It is rewarding to see a young athlete develop and we don’t move up because we win or lose, we move up because our players develop and move up to those levels ahead of us. The higher the level the more players you have to put there ahead of you. Maybe you have to put 10-15 kids in a AAA program to move up from a AA. You probably need to put 40 guys in the NHL before you get a chance to move up from the AHL. So we care about development. Wins are can result from good development. So that is out there. I don’t care if I win or lose every game it really means very little to me.
This is the general way a crappy hockey parent works. They sit in the stand and they critique your work endlessly. They rarely have volunteered their time to be a coach at that level but god dammit they know everything. I have a real gem this year. Works hard to bag me behind my back. Special guy. He always starts it talking about when he played in the NHL, which if funny because most of us think about an NHL career as actually having played for a while, not a two game cup of coffee. But what bothers me the most about that is he thinks his opinions affect how I coach his kid. It really doesn’t, I care about his kid like I do every other player on my team, his kid is not his Dad. Kid is a really nice kid with a good heart. And for that reason I don’t get too tied up in what the Dad has to say. But again the guy has been taking a lot of opportunities to sewer me. I feel like I owe him the same lack of courtesy.
Parents will complain about all kinds of shit. And while some of the stuff they talked about came to my attention I also realized really it was the same as always. There is always a small group of idiot parents who aren’t willing to do any work but are willing to complain about me. And to the them I say, have at it, I don’t really fucking care. I am there for the players not their parents.
But I will point out the group of parents who I do care about. They are the ones who understand when discipline is needed. They support the staff even in the tough times and realize we are trying our best. They are the ones who take a few minutes to have a chat with you and really just want to have a chat. Always a smile and never over bearing. They are the ones who speak up for a staff when other parents take a couple shots at them. That is tough, those parents are their peers and they have enough character to stand up to their peers. I care about these parents because in exchange they care about me. See my relationship with hockey parents is all about reciprocity. I care about all of those kids, because for a couple hours a day they are my responsibility. I am damn hard on them and expect a lot out of them but in return I would run through a burning building any day for each and every one of them. Parents however have to work hard for me to call the fire department. See the bad ones really taint the others. But over the years I have found some really good ones and learned to watch for them. I am certainly lucky to have at least 3 really awesome parents this year that I know for sure have been real good to me. They are greatly appreciated and I would certainly consider the burning building walk for them.
It is a real treat to hear some good things and hear that some kids really respond to us. We are good coaches, we know it. I work hard at it every day. Very few people understand the hours we put in but we put in a ton of extra. But we do it because we care and love the job. How do I know I am good coach? Because I was a really bad coach first. Now I see that past and wonder why it took me a while to do better. At the end of this season our association will make a decision on our staff. Either they will promote us as has been said or we will have to consider if this association appreciates our effort. When we do leave this association I will be somewhat relieved to know that they will be losing one of their truly good coaches. And they will know it.