Variety is the Spice of Life

As the level of hockey gets higher, so does the intensity of the recruiting process. Midget, prep, junior, college, and pro teams all recruit players for their rosters. While the offers are different at all levels (contract $$ at the pro level, scholarships for college, an opportunity to play in junior), the reality is that there is at least one person choosing how to build a roster and what types of players and people to fill that roster with.

There are thousands of choices when it comes to building rosters. What traits do you look for? What types of personalities? The list goes on, and regardless of level, you’re almost always sacrificing one thing in favor of another – the reality is that there is no “perfect” player.

One thing that I personally value in my roster is variety. Variety of playing styles, variety of personalities, but most importantly, variety of experience. I don’t want to have too many players from one specific background. This can be geographic, hockey, socio-economic, cultural, etc. The more breadth of experience I can add to my roster, the further enhance the experience of my players is going to be. When a young man who was born and raised in Boston and played prep hockey becomes close friends with a junior hockey player from Ontario, they have both grown as people. College is about growth and development both educationally and personally. By maintaing a diverse roster our players get to see and experience a wide variety of interests and points of view. They leave as better people with a much bigger worldview.

As a coach, a variety of experiences challenges me as well. I have to work to connect with people from different backgrounds, with different goals and different habits. It also creates a roster where there are many different players at our disposal to use in many different situations. A diverse roster brings in different playing styles and methods of play, further enhancing our ability to compete on the ice.

Variety truly is the spice of life. Surround yourself with people who are different. Challenge yourself to connect with others in new and meaningful ways. You will grow as a person (and as a hockey player).

Expanding Your Horizons

People devote their lives to sports because of the passion and love they have for them. Work ethic, determination and devotion are critical forces that help to drive people to success.

But how often to people actually put in an effort to become a more well-rounded version of themselves? How much time is spent becoming a better human being? Getting outside of your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries.

Something as simple as reading the newspaper – how many people don’t keep up with current events (at home and especially abroad)?

Expanding your horizons by doing things outside of your comfort zone will enrich your life experience, but also grow your ability to be successful.

  • Learning how to play an instrument will help you with timing, rhythm, synchronicity, and dexterity, as well as expanding your brain’s ability to learn
  • Reading books will develop your imagination, creative ability and help develop your understanding of the world around you, among other things
  • Doing puzzles – creativity, problem solving, motor skills, etc
  • Going on a hike – balance, stability, understanding of the world, etc

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve been taking dance lessons for the past few weeks. It has made me (a little) more agile and graceful, but more importantly, it has allowed me to go through the learning process. Putting myself in the shoes of my players has helped me to understand what goes into effective teaching, modeling and communication.

There are any number of things that will broaden your experience on this earth as well as help you become a more well-rounded and successful human.

The world is a vast and wonderful place – immerse yourself in it and you will be better off because of it.