Karma. Kismet. Fate. What ever you want to call it, it is a bitch. And whether you believe in it or not, the world has a way of delivering justice in subtle ways that those who are on the receiving end rarely notice until after the justice has been delivered.
In hockey, we have the hockey gods. Call it what you will, but the hockey gods are the delivery agents of karma to a lot of hockey people.
The underside of the junior hockey game, at the pay to play level in particular is dirtier than anything most people can imagine.
Coaches negatively recruiting against other programs because it is the only way they can secure the services of players. When doing so they only make themselves look jealous of the other teams success.
Other Coaches directly recruiting players from other teams in their own league and in some the same division and offering discounts to get them from re-signing with their original team. Telling those other teams that they should have offered the player a better deal to keep him.
Coaches outright lying to players about playing time and where they see players fitting in to the lineup only to have those players report and find 30 players are on the roster and 10 will be sitting every night.
Coaches who don’t pay their bills to recruiters who get the players to sign and play for those teams. Then they go out an buy a fancy new truck after the players all pay their first payments.
Coaches who try to double dip and charge more fee’s to their own players to be their adviser. Then they go and disappear on an island vacation. When you need help getting to the next level, and navigating junior hockey, you don’t pay the guy to advise you that you are already paying to help move you up.
All of these things and more take place across the pay to play landscape.
So over the weekend I sat back and watched as one such coach deserving of some karma got exactly what he deserved. A two loss weekend with the team he was telling everyone would be competitive this year.
Karma doesn’t have to be extreme. It doesn’t have to be vicious.
The best kind of karma is slow, long and painful. Over the course of a season karma can make some bad operators fall to their knees. And usually, its these people who continually pull these kinds of underhanded things that never have winning records and never contend for championships.
The good operators are easy to find. They are winners on and off the ice.
The bad ones, the ones who are waiting for karma to give them a wakeup call, they are easy to find too. You just need to open your eyes and close your ears to find them.
Action, not words will allow you to see everything that is pretty clear and in front of you. Pay to play junior hockey can be a great experience with the right coach and the right organization.
You can move to higher levels, and many times players do. Its usually easy to track who is moving the players on to higher levels and who is not. Actions, not words.
When you’re ready to get away from the people waiting for their karma to be delivered, I will be waiting for your email or call.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser