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Hockey Mom Chronicles – The NHL Draft

The NHL Draft, what an exciting time in hockey for these amazing young athletes and their families. They worked long and hard and made it to the draft, welcome to the NHL.

There were 211 picks overall. With all the eyes on #1 McDavid and #2 Eickel. But another big story is Andong Song, the first Chinese born player. Song came to America when he was 10 years old and went to prep school in New Jersey. I am sure there will be a whole new Chinese fan base entering the NHL and a boom in youth hockey in China. Interesting enough, Song went to the NY Islander, which one of the owners being Chinese descent. I wish all the players drafted much success and fruitful careers.

Song is just one story, every one of the drafted players has a story. What is your player’s story? As my son and I were watching the draft, he turns to me and says discouraged, “well maybe I will at least get to play in college.” As he watches 18 year olds being drafted into the NHL straight from AAA hockey. I know he wishes he was on the radar, I know he wishes his path was different, but, at the end of the day, I believe if you keep working hard and stay focused, positive things will happen. Will my player or your player go to the NHL, I do not know. But what I do know is, at this juncture, we will support our player’s dream and see where it brings us. We are very optimistic about this upcoming season team and the coaching staff he will be with.

It does not matter if I think my son will make it to the NHL, College or semi-pro, it only matters if that is where he wants to be and believe in himself, building character is just as important. Players can go as far as their heart, mind and talents take them, shoot for the top and focus on the dream. Isn’t life about going for it! You must exhaust every means to achieve the dream and nurture the talent and if you do not make it to the big game, it is ok, because you will carry the hard work and dedication into the next phase or your life. And we all know hockey will always be in their blood.

They tell us our son has great hockey sense and talent. My job is to keep telling him we believe in him. He needs to work on his mental game, his confidence. By mental, it is all about not doubting yourself and defeating yourself with negative thoughts. Push the negative thoughts out! Focus on your talents and believe in your talents, believe in yourself and your teammates. I saw the doubt trickle in during the time we watched the draft. How do you tell a 17 year old to not worry about what is happening for others, and to stay focused and it may happen for him too. Not every player comes from the draft, not every draft player will actually see the ice in an NHL game.

It is hard for young players to get their own thoughts and others negative comments out of their heads. Some of those comments come from family members, some from hockey parents, some from coaches and some from strangers. Why people find the need to point out the tough road instead of embracing the hard work and dedication it took to get to this point in the hockey path, is disheartening. Growing up through the game many have said, “oh you know the odds of making it are so slim,” and “you will never get a scholarship or even play in college.” Why do they say these things to young people? I’ll tell you why! Because those saying it, did not put the time and energy into their own dreams or worse, gave up on their dreams.

It is my hope that players watch the draft and celebrate the accomplishments of each of the draft picks, learn from their stories. I hope they look at the draft and determine this is where they want to be and GO FOR IT! Do not hold back, do not worry if you can or cannot make it, you will never know unless you work hard and continue to make the sacrifice. McDavid and Eickel still need to work hard and both of them need to continue to keep their dream in front of them and their confidence high. It takes talent, sacrifice and being in the right place at the right time. If your path in life is to play hockey at a higher level keep at it, stay positive and work hard. It will happen. Doubt in yourself only holds you back from obtaining dreams. There is no reason to doubt! Our junior players have been training hard and making sacrifices throughout their years of playing hockey. Stay confident and GO FOR IT!

Junior players, I will leave you with this, your character is part of the package to make it to the big game, whether that is college or pro. Be sure you are always a respectful player who is known as a team player and a leader. The one thing that resonated throughout the NHL 2015 Draft and the drafted players have in common is confidence!


Hockey Mom

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