It is that time of year when we are all making lists and reviewing what we can purchase for all those significant people in our lives. So, I thought it would be fun to put together a small article on what every hockey player wants for Christmas.
Being the father of two boys who both play hockey and being the coach of three different teams, I put together a list of things I think players would enjoy receiving or being part of this Christmas.
1. New equipment. Whether it’s a new composite stick or a high-tech helmet, there are always items my oldest is showing me pictures of on the Internet.
2. A good tournament to play in. Find me a player who does not like to play in a tourney. Today, many players play in multiple tournaments and for them, it has almost become a part of their yearly schedule. But for those who are new to competitive hockey or who play house league, tournaments are a highlight. They can be a powerful event for a team, as you spend time together with players, coaches and family members. For the past two years, we have taken our house league team to an out-of-town tournament so we can come together for a day of fun and it has become the highlight of the year. It is also a big confidence booster for many players, as they realize they can compete with players their age from other hockey centers.
3. Waking up Boxing Day to watch Canada’s world junior team. Since I was a young boy I’ve always looked forward to the opportunity to sit around and watch our young Canadians compete on the world stage. It has become as much a part of Christmas for us as turkey, shortbread and family time.
4. Attending or watching a local or out-of-town tournament. There are so many tournaments that take place during the holidays you could spend your whole break watching them all. If you want to get a look at future Ontario League and NHL players, you could visit the heavily scouted Toronto Marlies Midget Tournament. It has become one of the strongest midget tournaments in Canada and will feature many of the top picks in the 2009 OHL draft, as well as future U.S. college players. It is a jam-packed few days of competition that takes place in Etobicoke, Ont., and all the OHL teams will have scouts in attendance.
5. A good game of hockey on outdoor ice. Growing up only steps from the Atlantic Ocean, we were fortunate to be able to play hockey on the harbor when the water froze. These games featured both children and adults in a fun-filled day of hockey on the water. We don’t have as many outdoor rinks as we did when I was a child, but I would certainly look for an opportunity to play outside, if you can. It helps us identify with the great game of hockey and allows us to connect with people who don’t play organized hockey.
Mike MacPherson began scouting in 1999 for the Chicago Blackhawks and was responsible for the ECHL. He is currently the director of scouting for the Phoenix Roadrunners, NHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks and also scouts the OHL for the International Scouting Service. MacPherson also coaches in the OMHA within Guelph Minor hockey.