Well, it may come as a surprise but we are almost half way through the regular season.This mid-way point means many things to many people in AAA hockey – often it is atime to reflect on what we have done well and what we can do better in our efforts tobuild the best hockey organization we can.
These measurements may include objective, performance-based indicators such as wins and losses, goals for and against, tournament wins, and/or whether or not you are sitting in a play-off spot at the halfway point. For some parents and players, the assessment may be more subjective or qualitative, but no less important: Is my player improving? Is he/she enjoying it and are they gaining in confidence? How is the team bonding? From an organizational perspective, the measurements will include all of the above but also more broad-based considerations such as coach development, specialized programs for goalies, policy improvements, and apparel alterations, to name a few.
Our coaches and team officials are engaged in measuring success by comparing performance to date to objectives set prior to the season. This is a tough step for these volunteers who spend so much time endeavouring to move a team forward compared to their opposition. As a group, they tend never to be satisfied – always looking for that drill or tactic that will get the next 2 points. For some teams, this is purely quantitative, for others it is a more involved process. It also involves a re-calibration, if required, of skills to be emphasized, tactics to be utilized and systems to be mastered. It tends to be tougher on our younger teams, where success has always been difficult to obtain for a variety of factors. For an indication of what is to come, those players need only look to the older divisions. Currently, 5 of 8 Predator teams are sitting in play-off positions, and that is a solid performance. When we invest in AAA hockey, we do so for a long-term gain: To compete against the best, and to be the best hockey players and team that we can be! Especially at the youngest ages, this commitment is not always easy. However, if being the best is your goal, keep the faith.
Apart from performance, the Predators are excited about several new initiatives this
season. I would like to comment on a couple of these areas:
- Our Coach Development and Selection Committee has provided more incentive and monies for our Coaches and their Assistants. Many coaches have utilized this opportunity to improve their skill sets. Further, recognizing the assets we possess internally, our coaches have tapped into the internal expertise in the organization. As well, the executive unanimously supported a goalie development program to enhance an aspect of the game that is difficult for coaches.
- Our Risk Management, Discipline and Ethics Committee has developed an excellent policy on cyber-bullying. If the threat of that social ill was not obvious before, a recent and tragic suicide placed it on the front page once again. Further, the committee has initiated a contract with a private sector firm in concussion prevention and management. The organization has presented to the committee and the initiative has been endorsed by the Executive.
- Our Apparel Committee has created and implemented an excellent line of apparel for the Predators. Our players look awesome on the ice – a fact that has been commented on around the league and most recently at the Comcast Super Series in Philadelphia.
- Our Policy Committee has implemented the above changes in policy. Our policy emanates from our parent organizations – the OMHA, the OHF and Hockey Canada. The local policy is comprised in 3 documents: The Parent/Player Handbook, the Policy and Procedure Manual, and the Constitution.
- The Public Relations Committee continues to up-date our web-site and to work with individual teams to develop their sites.
I wish all players and their families every success in the next part of the hockey season. Set your sights on improvement in every area of the game and making everyone around you better. Thank-you to our volunteers in coaching, training, managing and on the executive. Without you, amateur sport does not exist.
Go Preds Go!
Yours in hockey,