Ending Junior Careers

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Ending junior careers

In junior hockey, your time is finite.

You can play until you’re 20. Or if you’re good enough, you can move on to NCAA, ACHA or possibly a Professional team.

So this is it for many players as leagues near the end of their seasons. Playoffs are all many players have remaining to leave their imprint on the game and on their memories.

Playing Junior Hockey is an earned privilege, not a right that comes simply by the passage of time. It should be considered an honor to play at any Junior level and is in most cases.

There is unfortunately a sub culture of players with a sense of entitlement. Some feel as though simply because they have played at high levels in their youth careers that they are some how entitled to play Junior.

How many times have we seen players break sticks when being cut from a team, or have heard parents blame politics? How many times have we heard, "they already had the team picked", when attending a tryout or main camp?

At this time of year, players careers are ending. High School, Midget and Junior players around the world will be skating off the ice one final time in front of fans, team mates and class mates. In every league, there will only be a few that skate off as champions, most will leave experiencing a loss.

Not everyone was meant to play NCAA or Pro hockey. That is an unfortunate fact. We all grow up with the dream of getting to the NHL, for most of us those goals become more realistic over time. As we get a little older, most can figure out where we fit in the scheme of things and we work to find our niche to keep playing as long as we can.

Every loss we experience along the way leaves a bitter taste in our mouths, a memory we take with us to build upon for the next competition. What do you do when there is no "next season"?

The answer is simple, its probably something we have heard all of our lives; "Leave it all on the ice."

Give all you have for yourself, for your team, for your parents who have sacrificed to allow you to have the privilege to play. In a game where someone is going home, and some of those players will end their careers, what better way to honor the experience you have had than to give back with your best effort?

Visualize all the experiences you have had throughout the years, savor the sights, sounds and smells as you arrive at the arena. Win or loose, honor your opponent with a firm handshake. Honor your parents by showing class as you leave the ice and remember to thank them for all they have done.

Do not become one of those who feel a sense of entitlement, do not become a whiner, remember why you began playing. The game is meant to be fun, and no matter how high you have the ability to play, it should always remain fun.

If tonight or one night soon is going to be your last game at a competitive level, remember to set an example for the kid in the stands who will one day follow you. Leave the game with class and enjoy every moment as if it is your last because it soon may be.

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