Minor Hockey Tournaments are based on Sub-par Teams

November 5, 2019

A friend of mine who happens to be a restauranteur came into my store and told me he had to go to Michigan for the weekend to showcase his son in a hockey tournament. He stated, "Everything seems to be set out; which restaurant to go to, which hotel. Even if we lose we may have to spend an extra day in Michigan." He told me that when all is said and done, he would have to fork out $1600 not including his time. Many parents are demanding value, time, and accountability to prove that these tournaments come to fruition. Most of the bottom teams are more apt to invest their money for tournaments to gain self confidence in beating substandard teams.


I told my friend, "Maybe parents and coaches want to win by chasing the next individual goal rather than developing hockey players?" He fired back, "That's bull****. It's all about parents getting together and yapping about themselves rather than winning games on an even playing-field with respect to competitive teams. The reason why my son's AA team is in last place is because the top teams recruit the better kids from the bottom teams all because of the socialite parents looking for the next "A" on their lapel."


I know that especially with hockey tournaments, individual payments depend on a team's rank relative to the competition. Most tournaments are based on team inequity and only benefit the region monetarily and socially. For the most part, a good team is there to disrupt the strength of the stronger teams. However, the real logistics of tournaments are the fact that they're based on the weaker teams getting in and getting shellacked.


I'll give you a perfect scenario with respect to my life. A friend of mine, call him "Daddy Coach", indicated that if I helped him as an assistant coach he would drive more business to my store. I accepted the offer, however our relationship became quite turbulent. Our team was more talented but I noticed that whenever we went to these American tournaments they tried to sabotage our team in favor of the host teams. They increased the productive effect of their team by having referees damaging the integrity of the game by calling shots in their favor simply because they claimed they were at a disadvantage.


With most tournaments, they want to fill spots with substandard teams only to generate revenue for their collective will on hotels and restaurants that they are also responsible for filling. I have to admit that sometimes "Daddy Coach" got on my nerves. He was always benching the best player on our team and was willing to lose the game by having his son hogging all the ice time. One time he invited some of the parents out to Ruth Steakhouse because he made a deal with the restaurant. Not that I'm complaining for not getting an invite, but I knew something was fishy with the outcome.


I want to make it clear to my readers, I took the position as Assistant Coach to help a friend out. Then the coach decided to stir the pot by telling the parents that I was against going to these tournaments, which I never denied. I felt it was a waste of time and money and knew that we could certainly spend the money more efficiently by developing the team with some great instructors and mentors. Mind you, I thought my friend was a nice guy until I became the assistant coach. Even though I had the position I hated to be undermined. I noticed he always hit up the new parents on the scene for next season's roster. He had a habit of smelling money from easy targets by convincing parents that their kid could be the star on the team.


I managed to convince one of the parents to ask for a financial statement in front of the Daddy Coach and I. I smiled at the daddy coach and told him everyone deserves to know where the money is going. That's when the daddy coach took a swing at me and I managed to subdue him with a headlock. The parent broke us up and the daddy coach started shouting obscenities at me. He even accused me of being vindictive because I wasn't invited to the Ruth Steakhouse.


Looking back, the daddy coach had little ability coaching ability and managerial skill. Having tournaments involving stronger teams shellacking weaker teams proves absolutely nothing. Most tournaments are based on supporting restaurants, hotels, and frivolous activities whereby the coach is compensated for their participation. The real option in hockey is development and evenly-matched tournaments that achieve memories and family cohesion. The truth is sometimes tournaments are a fantasy sport accrued by fantasy teams over a course of a selected series.


Parents have to come to terms with the fact that accumulative points in a tournament are a statistical error without improving the development of players. A good coach will join tournaments that are competitive and not for the purpose of only showcasing their players. The coach is there for the inter-connectivity of seeing what he can improve for the team at a skill-level against their competitors. I can say for sure as a former assistant coach and as an old man today that I never ate at Ruth Steakhouse, and I'm proud of it regardless of what anybody says.


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