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But the yelling and finger-jabbing goes on and, after a few moments, the official loses his own temper. Each hearing involves three directors, and the adjudicators have all been schooled by Penman in the ways of natural justice: All parties must get ample notice, cross-examinations are permitted and optics are everything—which is to say, no cozy chats in the corridors with parties who happen to be friends. “I spend a lot of my time in telephone hearings with people who say they’ve moved to Toronto so their kids can play in the GTHL,” he says with a sigh. It’s just a game and we’re supposed to be having fun. I think they need to calm down, because they’re not even the ones playing.” The speaker is 11-year-old Matthew D’Alessandro, a peewee select player from Etobicoke, Ont., and while he has no complaint about how his own parents behave, his outlook reflects the weight overwrought adults exert on youngsters—even if they’re not the sort of grown-ups who get into scraps, or hire human rights lawyers.“We have to determine whether it’s a legitimate move, or somebody’s just opened up a post office box.” “Stressing. His views encapsulate the sentiments of numerous kids interviewed for this story by .But when the governing body teamed with hockey-gear-maker Bauer last summer to survey 875 families who’d kept their kids out of the game, the reason they heard most was, “Hockey just doesn’t seem fun.” For the stewards of our national sport, that response is a red flag.
“We need to reach that parent just putting her kid into hockey, or the one already involved in the game, and make them aware how important their attitude is,” says Todd Jackson, senior manager of safety and insurance.
“We need to shift away from misplaced enthusiasm to giving kids truly what they need: Fun. The chance to be a team player.” To get its message out, Hockey Canada is encouraging teams, local associations and regional branches to use an online primer called , which is produced by the foundation started by former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy and is being made mandatory in a growing number of jurisdictions across the country.
“If we stay on the same path, in 15 years, this won’t be Canada’s game.” The coach is looking sheepish.
Down two key players, his peewee select team in west Toronto has just played to an entertaining shootout loss, and he is quietly pleased with the hard-earned point.
That ratio has slipped, as a greater share of children are born to immigrant families, to whom hockey seems a closed society of red-faced dads wearing leather-armed jackets.
To change perceptions, Hockey Canada officials are pleading for a “cultural shift” that will make young families feel welcome.
They also echo 40 peewee-aged players in southern Ontario, who participated two years ago for a York University study on parental influence in hockey. The alone time spent with their moms or dads as they drive through early-morning darkness to practice.
When asked what they liked about the game, many spoke not of goals or big wins, but of intangibles. Most seemed able to handle criticism given one-on-one after the game, says Jessica Fraser-Thomas, the kinesiology professor who led the project.
One widely applauded Hockey Canada ad campaign in the early 2000s challenged parents to put themselves in their kids’ skates; the slogan used: “Relax, it’s just a game.” The best TV spot featured a kid loudly critiquing his dad while the man tried to sink a putt on the golf course, shouting, “That was pathetic! “If one of the reasons people are staying away is the perception of those challenges,” says Paul Carson, vice-president of development, “do you really want to put them centre-stage?Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating