OK, so The Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament is all over for 2019. One of my colleagues who runs an elite hockey school and training program questioned whether it was all worth it. Was the $10,000 justifiable? He told me that even the two top Toronto teams lost. Many of the parents pay upwards of $350 for these kids to even tryout for these teams and to belong to the circus of a chance of playing at The Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament in the West Edmonton Mall. Some have mentioned that these two teams may have made close to $75,000 simply by having parents believe in the prospect of their 9 or 10 year old making it to the NHL.
My good friend stated, "Parents and kids spent 8 days in the West Edmonton Mall last week, spending foolish amounts of money ... some parents actually think their kids were scouted last week! In reality, it was just a big fundraiser for The Brick and the participating teams. The two Toronto teams with the biggest price tag to play don't even get to the finals ... parents were fighting in the stands, badmouthing players on their team ... just a big cest pool of egos who really think their little Johnny is the next big NHL star!"
He continued, "For the first time ever, some parents had their kids play on other US teams just to be part of the big event (money grab). Lots of parents were frustrated after the tourney to see their little Johnny not be the star they thought he or she was. Sad, money-driven egos, and now it's over and no one will talk about it again ... but those that took part will be 10K in the hole lol."
Another colleague of mine indicated, "Yes Fiorenzo you're right, when it comes to 9 and 10 year-olds no one can determine whether these kids will have the weight, height, and strength to make it to the NHL. Most of these parents are just gambling, however these parents are gambling on a resume. That resume may in fact carry some weight with achieving a certain access to the AAA minor hockey loop for little Johnny. I myself was offered $25,000 from a parent, however I politely refused and told the individual that if he wanted to instead give the $25,000 to allow kids that don't have the money and resources to play, then I will take it and allow your little Johnny to practice with us. Rumor has it, a father whose son plays for a well-known AAA GTHL team decided to purchase a cottage next door from his neighbor because he didn't have the room at his own cottage to elevate his stature within the team."
My colleague continued, "It's often the case of who has the biggest one. The parents with the most resources and connections can maneuver through the ranks and sometimes get into the NHL. However again, I'd like to state that the child may simply not have the size, strength, or hockey intelligence to make it to the big leagues.
Parents can learn a lot from this video from Adam Oates:
What Adam Oates is teaching is quite simple. Hockey intelligence is central to the sport and skills alone aren't sufficient in making it to the NHL, which I agree with. It's a strategic thinking game. As your skills improve you become more of a targeted player, and that's where a new role of responsibility needs to be embraced. Younger players indeed have an advantage in terms of growing their skill and technique. However, I believe the real intelligence is not only understanding your own skill, but your opponent and more specifically how they operate, their skills, their strengths, and their weaknesses. Once that totality takes place is when true potential is unlocked and realized whether it be a 9 year-old or 19 year-old. The real essence of the game is teamwork; that means one player can not make the team. The team is an integral part of an established goal towards achieving a certain degree of success.
In regards to The Brick Tournament, I asked my colleague, "Are Canadian players playing on American teams because not enough Canadian kids are going to the tournament?"
He replied, "No, because they didn't make a Canadian team or they don't want to put up the big $$$ to play for the Canadian teams. Those two teams are all about money."
"Can you give me proof?" I asked.
He told me of a player that plays his Winter hockey in the GTHL but played for an American team at The Brick Tournament. This individual lives in Toronto.
"The real problem with hockey and this tournament is that a lot of these parents have this money to burn and we can't judge them for that. However, often times certain kids develop later in life. They get stronger, faster, and they begin to excel a lot quicker than all the investments parents made previously when these kids were much younger. That reassures me that hockey intelligence is the real pantheon of team sports," he said to me.
I often think that great athletes are nurtured in the beginning by a collective sportsmanship behavior that builds a team upward along with a conscience level to succeed as a unit and driving force. The driving force becomes meticulous in its belief system to challenge not only the individual, but the whole team. Team sports are based on training, knowledge, and sometimes a great mentor or coach to steer you in the right direction. Tournaments are only an ego booster for parents. Parents have to come to terms that when you're dealing with little kids, there are no scouts to be found.