Transcript: Is Hockey an Elite Sport? | Mar 28, 2016

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, pale blue shirt, a polka dotted blue tie and a pocket square. Behind him, a wall screen reads “The Agenda, with Steve Paikin.”

A caption reads “Is hockey an elite sport?”

Steve says ONCE UPON A TIME KIDS'
HOCKEY WAS ABOUT BACKYARD RINKS
AND HAND-ME-DOWN SKATES.
TODAY, NOT SO MUCH.
TODAY IT'S ABOUT TOURNAMENTS ALL
OVER THE PROVINCE AND COMPOSITE
STICKS THAT COST 300 DOLLARS A PIECE.
HAS MINOR HOCKEY LOST ITS WAY?
LET'S GET INTO THIS.
IN CALGARY, ALBERTA, TODD
MILLAR, FORMER PRESIDENT OF
HOCKEY CALGARY AND AUTHOR OF
MORON, THE BEHIND THE SCENE
STORY OF MINOR HOCKEY.

Todd is in his late forties, clean-shaven and with short wavy gray hair. He wears glasses, a blue suit and a pale blue shirt.

Steve says AND PAUL CARSON, THAT'S HIM ON
THE RIGHT.
HE'S VICE PRESIDENT OF HOCKEY
DEVELOPMENT AT HOCKEY CANADA.

Paul is in his mid-fifties, clean-shaven and with very short gray hair. He wears a beige suit and a blue shirt.

Steve says AND WITH US HERE IN STUDIO,
MICHAEL TRAIKOS.
HE IS NATIONAL HOCKEY WRITER AT
POST MEDIA NEWS.

Michael is in his late thirties, clean-shaven and bald. He wears a gray suit and a blue shirt.

Steve says AND THERESA DOSTALER WHO'S GOT
THE WEBSITE,
CANADIANHOCKEYMOMS.CA, AND SHE'S
GOT THREE KIDS IN THE GAME AS
WELL.

Theresa is in her forties, with long straight burgundy hair with layers. She wears a black top, a taupe leather jacket and a pendant necklace.

The caption changes to “Is hockey an elite sport? State of play.”

Steve says AND WE'RE GRATEFUL THAT ALL OF
YOU COULD JOIN US ON TVO TONIGHT
FOR THIS DISCUSSION.
LET'S GET A VIEW FROM THE FRONT
LINES.
THERESA, WHERE DID YOU START
YOUR DAY TODAY?

The caption changes to “Theresa Dostaler. CANADIANHOCKEYMOMS.CA.”

Theresa says UH, I
STARTED MY DAY IN MADOC,
ONTARIO.

Steve says WHICH IS WHERE YOU
LIVE?

Theresa says WHICH IS WHERE I
LIVE, YEAH.

Steve says AND YOU DROVE TO
OTTAWA?

Theresa says DROVE TO OTTAWA, HAD
SOME MEETINGS.

Steve says AND FLEW IN HERE TO BE
WITH US.

Theresa says AND FLEW IN HERE,
YES.

Steve says SO WE'RE REALLY
GRATEFUL FOR THAT.

The wall screen behind them now shows a picture of two children playing hockey.

Theresa says OH, THANK YOU.

Steve says HOW MANY KIDS YOU GOT
IN HOCKEY?

Theresa says I HAVE THREE KIDS IN
HOCKEY.
MY SON IS 13, ANOTHER SON IS 11,
AND MY DAUGHTER IS 8.

Steve says AND HOW OLD WERE THEY
WHEN THEY STARTED?

Theresa says UM, LIKE ME, THEY
WERE AROUND 2 WHEN THEY STARTED
ACTUALLY SKATING.
AND THEN I THINK PROBABLY 4,
3.5-4, WAS WHEN THEY STARTED IN
THE INTRO PROGRAM.

Steve says SO THEY'VE BEEN AT IT
FOR A WHILE NOW.

Theresa says YES, WE ALL HAVE
BEEN AT IT FOR A WHILE, YES.

Steve says OKAY.
YOU STARTED
CANADIANHOCKEYMOMS.CA, HOW COME?

Theresa says UM, WHEN MY KIDS
STARTED GETTING INTO REP HOCKEY,
AND I HAD GROWN UP AT THE RINK
AS A FIGURE SKATER, AND MY
PARENTS BOTH SERVED TIME ON
EXECUTIVE AND AS PRESIDENTS OF
MINOR HOCKEY, MY BROTHER PLAYED.
UM, I'VE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED
WITH THE CULTURE, AND THEN ONCE
I GOT INTO IT I REALIZED AS A
RATIONAL PERSON, I FEEL LIKE I'M
A RATIONAL PERSON, UM, BUT YOU
START HAVING THESE QUESTIONS
ABOUT BOTH EXPERIENCES AND YOUR
REACTIONS TO THEM.
UM, AND I REALLY WANTED TO
UNDERSTAND A LITTLE MORE ABOUT
THAT.
LOOKED AROUND, THERE WERE NOT
REALLY ANY RESOURCES FOR ME OR
OTHER MOMS LIKE ME.
UM, WITH A BACKGROUND IN
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT I WAS
CURIOUS TO SEE IF I COULD BUILD
A COMMUNITY OF HOCKEY MOMS, AND
SO I STARTED OUT THE WEBSITE.

Steve says AND HOW'S YOUR
COMMUNITY DOING?

Theresa says I THINK WE'RE AROUND
30,000 NOW.
WE'RE ABOUT 26,000 ON FACEBOOK
AND MORE ON TWITTER AND, UM,
OTHER AVENUES.
AND WE HAVE SOME PRETTY GREAT
CONVERSATIONS.

Steve says UM, ABOUT WHAT?

Theresa says UH, WELL, LOTS OF
DIFFERENT TOPICS.
PEOPLE WILL TYPICALLY ASK
QUESTIONS AND THEN I'LL POST
THEM.
AND I DON'T USUALLY GIVE ADVICE.
I DON'T FEEL LIKE I'M THE PERSON
TO GIVE ADVICE, BUT THERE ARE
LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE WITH
EXPERIENCE.
SO IT COULD BE ANYTHING AROUND
EQUIPMENT COSTS, SAFETY, UM,
SOME GENERAL ORGANIZATIONAL
THINGS THAT EVERY MOM HAS TO
FACE, OR EVERY FAMILY FACES.
AND THEN SOMETHING THAT I'LL
CAPTURE AS, VERY LOOSELY, AS
POLITICS IN HOCKEY, LOTS OF
QUESTIONS AROUND THAT.

Steve says OF WHICH THERE MAY BE
A BIT.

Theresa says THERE MIGHT BE.

Steve says THERE MIGHT BE.

Theresa says YEAH.

Steve says MORE TO COME ON THAT.

Theresa says YEAH.

Steve says MICHAEL, YOU DID A
SERIES IN THE NATIONAL POST
ABOUT THIS NOT TOO LONG AGO.
AND I WONDER, HAVING DONE THE
SERIES, WHETHER YOU COME AWAY
FROM IT WITH WHAT FEELING?

The caption changes to “Michael Traikos. National Post. Postmedia.”

Michael says YOU KNOW,
IT'S FUNNY, 'CAUSE MY KIDS ARE
TOO YOUNG TO BE PLAYING HOCKEY
RIGHT NOW, AND I'M NOT QUITE AT
THAT STAGE, BUT IT WAS ALMOST AN
EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE FOR ME
BECAUSE I RAN INTO SO MANY
DIFFERENT PARENTS AND FAMILIES
WHO WOULD RECOUNT JUST KIND OF
THE SACRIFICES THAT THEY WOULD
MAKE TO HAVE THEIR KID, UM, A)
PLAY HOCKEY AND THEN B) KEEP UP
WITH THE JONES.
I THINK THE NUMBER ONE FEAR FOR
PARENTS IS THAT WE'RE NOT
AFFORDING OUR CHILDREN THE SAME
SORT OF OPPORTUNITIES THAT THE
OTHER KIDS ARE HAVING.
SO, JUST COMING AWAY WITH THAT
IS JUST KIND OF THE AMOUNT OF
SACRIFICES.
AND I HEARD PARENTS OF TAKING
OUT RESPs, UM, USING THAT TO
HELP FUND THEIR KID'S HOCKEY
DEVELOPMENT, UM, SUMMER HOCKEY,
SKILLS COACHES.
AND JUST KIND OF BEING “HUNDRED
DOLLARED TO DEATH” IS WHAT ONE
PARENT SAID IN JUST TERMS OF
ALWAYS JUST WANTING TO SPEND
THAT EXTRA LITTLE BIT TO MAKE
SURE THEIR KID HAD EVERY
OPPORTUNITY.

Steve says HMM.
LET'S SHARE A COUPLE OF FACTS
WITH OUR AUDIENCE HERE.
ACCORDING TO A SURVEY BY HOCKEY
CANADA IN THE YEAR 2012, 1,300
PARENTS SURVEYED HAD AN:

A slate appears with the caption “Rising costs. Hockey Canada survey results. Average household income 15 per cent higher than the national median. Majority listed their occupation as a professional, owner, executive or manager. James Mirtle, The Globe and Mail. November 8, 2013.”

Steve says THE GLOBE AND MAIL'S
JAMES MIRTLE HAS DESCRIBED THIS
AS A REFLECTION OF HOCKEY'S NEW
WHITE-COLLAR BASE.
AND THEN OF COURSE PEOPLE IN
THIS PART OF THE PROVINCE WILL
REMEMBER THE LONG-TIME GREATER
TORONTO HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESIDENT
JOHN GARDNER WHO ONCE SAID:

Another slate reads “You can play if you can pay. The game has changed in this respect: It used to be that you had a right to play. Now it’s can you afford to pay. John Gardner, as quoted in The Globe and Mail. November 8, 2013.”

The caption changes to “Is hockey an elite sport. A white-collar game.”

Steve says TODD, LET'S GET INTO THIS.
HAS HOCKEY IN YOUR VIEW BECOME
TOO ELITIST A SPORT?

The caption changes to “Todd Millar. Former president of Hockey Calgary.”

Todd says WELL, IT CERTAINLY HAD
A HISTORY OF, YOU KNOW, SOME OF
THE THINGS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
IN TERMS OF JUST THE COST OF TO
PLAY.
AND I REMEMBER, AS A PRESIDENT
OF MINOR HOCKEY HERE IN CALGARY
THAT WE HAD MANY ISSUES WITH
FAMILIES THAT WERE CALL IT BEING
NICKEL AND DIMED TOGETHER OR
100' DOLLARS TO DEATH OR CASH CALLED
AS IT WAS OFTEN REFERRED TO
INSIDE OF SOME OF THE TEAMS.
ALTHOUGH I WOULD ALSO GIVE
CREDIT TO SOME OF THE HOCKEY
ASSOCIATIONS THAT WERE TAKING A
DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON THAT
AND TRYING TO HELP GOVERN THAT,
IF YOU WILL.
I THINK THERE ARE SOME OTHER
STEPS WE COULD TAKE AS A THE
RESPONSIBLE CUSTODIANS OF THE
GAME THAT CAN HELP FAMILIES SO
THAT IT DOESN'T BECOME COST
PROHIBITIVE.
LET'S FACE IT: THE GAME ITSELF
HAS A VERY COSTLY INFRASTRUCTURE
ASSOCIATED WITH IT.
I MEAN RINKS ARE COSTLY TO
OPERATE.
ALL THE BACK-END ITEM THAT IS
ARE REQUIRED INSIDE THE GAME IN
TERMS OF JUST THE EQUIPMENT.
SO I DON'T THINK FAMILIES SHOULD
BE FORCED INTO SITUATIONS WHERE
THEY'RE HAVING TO GO TO A BUNCH
OF TOURNAMENTS OR, YOU KNOW,
DOING A BUNCH OF SOCIAL
ACTIVITIES INSIDE THE GAME
OUTSIDE OF JUST THE COST OF THE
GAME.
AND I THINK WE CAN DO THINGS
INTERNALLY, YOU KNOW, AS PARENTS
TO HELP GOVERN THAT.

Steve says PAUL, THERE'S NO
QUESTION THIS IS NOT LIKE
BASKETBALL OR SOCCER WHERE HAVE
YOU A BALL AND SNEAKERS AND
YOU'RE ON YOUR WAY.
THERE IS A LOT THAT YOU HAVE TO
BUY IN ORDER TO PLAY THIS GAME.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ALLEVIATE
SOME OF THAT FINANCIAL PRESSURE?

The caption changes to “Paul Carson. Hockey Canada.”

Paul says WELL, THOSE ARE THE -- THOSE
ARE THE CHALLENGES THAT PARENTS
FACE IN PUTTING THEIR YOUNGSTER
IN ANY SPORT.
IS, YOU KNOW, REALLY DECIDING ON
WHAT THEIR CHILD NEEDS AS
OPPOSED TO WHAT THEIR CHILD MAY
WANT.
AND I THINK THAT -- I CAN RECALL
MY OWN FIRST EXPERIENCE GETTING
EQUIPMENT FOR MY SON WHEN HE WAS
SIX AND STARTING TO PLAY HOCKEY.
AND I WENT TO -- I WENT TO A
SWAP MEET.
I MADE THE CONSCIOUS DECISION TO
REALLY EXPLORE THIS SPORT WITH
MY SON.
NOT REALLY SURE WHETHER OR NOT
HE WAS GOING TO STICK IT OUT.
AND IN THOSE EARLY YEARS IT IS
WAS MORE A CASE OF HAND-ME-DOWNS
OR GOING TO SWAP MEETS OR GOING
TO SPORTS EXCHANGES.
AND I'M A HOCKEY DAD.
SO, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WOULD SAY
WELL, WHY WOULD YOU DO SOMETHING
LIKE THAT?
AND I SAID WELL, WHAT WE'RE
TRYING TO DO IS WE'RE TRYING TO
MANAGE AN OVERALL FAMILY BUDGET.
I WANTED TO CREATE A GREAT
EXPERIENCE FOR MY SON IN SPORT.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THERE WERE
OTHER THINGS WE WERE DOING IN
OUR FAMILY.
SO, YOU KNOW, WE WERE A SKIING
FAMILY.
MY SON PLAYED A LOT OF OTHER
SPORTS.
MY DAUGHTER WAS INVOLVED IN A
NUMBER OF SPORTS.
SO, YOU KNOW, I FELT THAT IT WAS
OUR DECISION AS A FAMILY TO
FIGURE OUT WHAT IT WAS WE WERE
GOING TO PAY FOR.
BUT, YOU KNOW, TO TODD'S POINT
ABOUT CASH CALLS AND HOW MINOR
HOCKEY ASSOCIATIONS TRY TO
MANAGE THOSE COSTS, I THINK IT'S
REALLY IMPORTANT FOR PARENTS TO
PLAY A ROLE IN THAT AS WELL.
AND, YOU KNOW, I ASKED THOSE
QUESTIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF
THE SEASON IN TERMS OF WHAT IS
THIS EXPERIENCE GOING TO COST
THIS YEAR AND NOT BE SURPRISED
OVER THE COURSE OF THE YEAR BY
SPONTANEOUS DECISIONS THAT ARE
MADE THAT END UP COSTING
FAMILIES MORE MONEY THAN THEIR
PREPARED TO PAY.

Steve says THAT'S A FAIR ENOUGH
POINT BUT MICHAEL IF I
UNDERSTOOD YOUR SERIES, PART OF
THE PROBLEM IS PARENTS AREN'T
PREPARED TO HAVE LITTLE JOHNNY
OR JANEY HAVE THAT SECOND- OR
THIRD-HAND SET OF SKATES THEY
WANT THE BEST SKATES STARTING AT
A VERY YOUNG AGE.
THERE IS A LOT OF THAT
HAPPENING.

Michael says I THINK THE ONE
EXPERIENCE IS YOU WANT TO PLAY
HOUSE LEAGUE AND HAVE AN
INTRODUCTION TO HOCKEY FROM A
GENERAL LEVEL.
AND THEN THE SECOND ONE IS IF
YOU HAVE A KID WHO HAS SOME
TALENT AND COACHES ARE SAYING
HEY THIS KID CAN PLAY TRIPLE “A.”
OR DOUBLE “A” AND WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT TOURNAMENTS AND WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT BEING ON A PATH
THAT OTHER PLAYERS WHO HAVE MADE
IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL HAVE BEEN
TO ON THAT PATH THAT PATH COSTS
A LOT OF MONEY.
THERE'S NO WAY AROUND IT.
YOU CAN'T GO TO A SWAP MEET TO
GO TO A SKILLS COACH OR GO TO A
TOURNAMENT THAT WILL COST YOU
“X” NUMBER OF DOLLARS A MONTH.
AT THE END OF THE DAY I THINK
WE'RE LOOKING AT SOMETHING WHERE
IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE PLAYING
HOCKEY AT A COMPETITIVE LEVEL
IT'S AROUND 20,000 DOLLARS.

Steve says HERE'S THE THING.
THERESA, LET ME BRING YOU IN ON
THIS.
SOME OF OUR FRIENDS WATCHING WHO
DON'T NECESSARILY FOLLOW THE NHL
AS CLOSELY AS SOME OF US DO AT
THIS TABLE MAY NOT HAVE HEARD OF
MATT DUCHESNE.
BUT MATT DUCHESNE IS A PRETTY
GOOD PLAYER FOR THE COLORADO
AVALANCHE.
HE IS A STAR PLAYER.
HIS FATHER ESTIMATES THAT OVER
THE 13 YEARS HE PLAYED MINOR
HOCKEY HIS DAD SPENT NORTH OF
300,000 DOLLARS GETTING MATT TO WHERE
HE COULD GET TO.
IN MATT'S CASE IT WORKED.
MATT'S MAKING 6 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR
SO THAT FAMILY IS FINE BUT IT
DOESN'T WORK OUT THAT WAY FOR
EVERYBODY.

Theresa says RIGHT.

Steve says BUT IS 300 GRAND
REPRESENTATIVE OF WHAT PARENTS
ARE PAYING IN SOME CASES IF THEY
THINK THEY'VE GOT A LITTLE TIGER
BY THE TAIL?

Theresa says I DON'T KNOW.
I GUESS FOR MATT -- AND MY KIDS
HAVE BOTH PLAYED IN THE MATT
DUCHESNE TOURNAMENT IN
HALIBURTON.
THERE ARE INTENSE HOCKEY
FAMILIES THERE LIKE THEY ARE IN
MOST OF ONTARIO.
I THINK THOSE FAMILIES WHO ARE
TRYING TO GET THEIR KIDS TO THE
NEXT LEVEL IT DOESN'T SURPRISE
ME THAT OVER THE SPAN OF HIS
MINOR HOCKEY CAREER IT DOESN'T
SURPRISE ME AT ALL THAT THAT
WOULD BE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY
BECAUSE THERE ARE THINGS THAT
ADD UP.
TOURNAMENTS YOU WIN ONE
TOURNAMENT YOU MOVE ONTO THE
NEXT ONE.
THERE ARE THREE EXTRA NIGHTS AT
A HOTEL ROOM PLUS MEALS PLUS
SOME TRAVEL TO GET THERE AND ALL
THE REST OF IT.

Steve says JACKETS, THE BEST
EQUIPMENT, COMPOSITE HOCKEY
STICKS.

Theresa says I ASKED THE QUESTION
ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE RECENTLY:
WHAT DO YOU PAY FOR
REGISTRATION.
SO ACROSS CANADA IT RANGED FROM
200 TO 3,000 DOLLARS.
PLUS YOUR FUNDRAISING FEES PLUS,
PLUS, PLUS.
SO IT REALLY DEPENDS ON WHERE
YOU ARE.
AND 300,000 DOLLARS, I CAN SEE -- NOT
FOR EVERYBODY BUT FOR THOSE
PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING FOR THE
EXTRA CAMPS OR THE EXTRA ICE
TIME AND TRAVELLING, AND JOINING
THE SPECIAL TEAMS, THE SELECT
TEAMS, I THINK IT DOESN'T
SURPRISE ME.

Steve says HAVE YOU DONE YOUR
FAMILY BUDGET ON HOW MUCH YOU
SPEND OR YOUR THREE KIDS PER 7
YEAR FOR HOCKEY?

Theresa says WELL, I HAVE DONE THAT.
I WILL SAY THAT LAST YEAR, WITH
BOTH KIDS, BOTH OF MY BOYS
MAKING IT TO THE FINALS IN
ALL-ONTARIO AND BOTH WINNING
REGIONAL SILVER STICK AND GOING
TO INTERNATIONAL WE WERE IN
HOTELS 32 NIGHTS FOR HOCKEY.
WE'RE ABLE TO SHARE THAT WITH
ANOTHER FAMILY SO YOU WOULD BUNK
UP WITH SOMEONE ELSE BUT THAT'S
AN EXAMPLE OF THE THINGS THAT
HAPPEN WHEN YOU GO ALL THE WAY
IN PLAYOFFS AND ANAHEIM THE WAY
IN INTERNATIONAL SILVER STICK.

Steve says WHEN I PLAYED HOCKEY
AS A KID, NEVER HOUSE LEAGUES,
NEVER REP.
LIKE A LOUSY HOCKEY PLAYER.
WOULD I SPEND 5 DOLLARS ON A WOODEN
STICK WHAT DO YOU SPEND NOW FOR
STICKING FOR YOUR KIDS?

Theresa says I DON'T BUY THE 300 DOLLAR STICKS
UNLESS THEY ARE IN A CLEARANCE
BIN BUT THEY DO HAVE GOOD STICKS
BUT I MAKE SURE I FIND THEM ON
SALE AND ON CLEARANCE.
SO, YOU KNOW, 100 DOLLARS IS NOT
UNUSUAL.
120 DOLLARS, MAYBE 150 FOR MY OLDER
BOY.
THAT'S NOT UNUSUAL.

Steve says OKAY WE JUST MENTIONED
MATT DUCHESNE.
I WANT TO ASK YOU MICHAEL ABOUT
ANOTHER HOCKEY PLAYER NAMED GLEN
METROPOLIT.
GLEN IS 41 NOW, YES?
HE HAD A DARN GOOD CAREER.
GREW UP IN REGENT PARK.
I GUESS BY TORONTO STANDARDS, A
LOWER INCOME NEIGHBOURHOOD.
HAD A GOOD CAREER IN THE NHL.
DIDN'T COME FROM AN UPPER MIDDLE
CLASS FAMILY.
CAN THAT HAPPEN TODAY?

Michael says IT CAN HAPPEN.
BUT I THINK THE EXAMPLES ARE FEW
AND FAR BETWEEN.
I THINK THAT'S JUST THE REALITY
OF IT.
WHEN I TALK TO HOCKEY PARENTS
AND THEY SAY, OKAY, WELL, CONNOR
McDAVID WENT TO A HOCKEY
ACADEMY AND HE WENT TO A SKILLS
COACH AND HE DID THIS AND HE DID
THAT.
I THINK THAT'S BECOME ALMOST A
PART OF THE DEVELOPMENT STREAM
NOW.
WHERE KIDS ARE SAYING, IF I WANT
TO GET TO THAT NEXT LEVEL, IF I
WANT TO BE THAT PLAYER I HAVE TO
PLAY HOCKEY 12 MONTHS A YEAR.
I HAVE TO GO TO THIS LEVEL I
HAVE TO GO TO THAT LEVEL.
AND IF YOU AREN'T WILLING TO GO
TO THAT LEVEL IT'S NOT TO SAY
THAT TALENT CAN'T GET YOU THERE.
BUT IF YOU'RE COMPARING APPLES,
VERSUS ORANGES AND BOTH ARE
DOING THAT, SUFFICE TO SAY YOU
ARE GIVING YOURSELF THE BEST
CHANCE.
AND I THINK IT'S ALMOST -- YOU
ARE GOING AGAINST THE ODDS IF
YOU ARE GOING TO DO THE GLEN
METROPOLIT WAY OF KIND OF
GETTING BY YOUR ALMOST
BOOTSTRAPS.

Steve says AGAIN, PAUL, FOR THOSE
WHO VIEW HOCKEY OF A CERTAIN
VINTAGE, WE HAVE THIS IMAGE OF
WAYNE GRETZKY SHOOTING PUCKS
AGAINST HIS BARN IN BRANTFORD
WITH HIS DAD WATCHING AND THAT
DOESN'T HAPPEN ANY MORE.
I SHOULD ASK YOU: DO YOU HAVE
TO COME UP THROUGH A
PROFESSIONALIZED FEEDER SYSTEM?
AND THE DAYS OF SORT OF WORKING
OUT ON THE POND IN THE BACKYARD,
THOSE DAYS ARE GONE?

An old clip rolls with the caption “Wayne Gretzky on backyard rink in Brantford.”

Paul says I DON'T BELIEVE THOSE
DAYS ARE GONE.
AND I DON'T BELIEVE THAT'S THE
ONLY AVENUE FOR TOP PLAYERS.
FIRST, I HAVE TO POINT OUT THAT
HOCKEY CANADA'S ROLE IS NOT TO
PRODUCE NHL PLAYERS.
IT'S NOT TO PRODUCE YOUNG LADIES
TO PLAY ON OUR NATIONAL TEAM.
IT'S TO CREATE AN EXPERIENCE IN
HOCKEY THAT MEETS THE NEEDS OF A
VERY BROAD BASE OF MEMBERSHIP.
YOU KNOW, ULTIMATELY, FAMILIES
WILL MAKE DECISIONS TO ACCESS
THOSE TYPES OF RESOURCES FOR
THEIR CHILDREN.
BUT I THINK YOU ALSO HAVE TO
LOOK AT THE DEMOGRAPHICS ACROSS
CANADA.
THERE ARE YOUNGSTERS FROM
SMALLER COMMUNITIES WHO, IF
THERE IS A SENSE THAT THERE'S
TALENT THERE, AND THE FAMILIES
WANT TO PURSUE MORE EXPENSIVE
OPTIONS FOR THOSE CHILDREN OFTEN
TIMES IT MIGHT MEAN EVEN LEAVING
HOME AT A YOUNGER AGE AT 14, 15
OR 16 TO ATTEND A PROGRAM THAT
WOULD GIVE THEM MORE ENHANCED
TRAINING.
BUT I ALSO BELIEVE THAT YOU
REALLY HAVE TO WIN -- FIGURE OUT
WHAT THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE
YOU'RE LOOKING FOR SPORT.
AND, YOU KNOW, I USE THE EXAMPLE
EARLIER ABOUT THE SWAP MEETS,
WHEN MY SON WAS YOUNGER.
I CAN ASSURE YOU WHEN HE WAS
PLAYING BANTAM AND MIDGET
TRIPLE “A,” I WASN'T GOING TO
SWAP MEETS.
BUT I CERTAINLY WASN'T SPENDING
20,000 DOLLARS A YEAR, EITHER.
AND I THINK THE REALITY IS THAT,
YOU KNOW, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT
WHAT EACH FAMILY'S SITUATION IS.
THE DECISIONS THAT THEY MAKE.
CERTAINLY APPLAUD THERESA FOR
HER COMMENT ABOUT, YOU KNOW,
THERE ARE CHEAPER OPTIONS.
NOT EVERYBODY IN THE MINOR
HOCKEY SYSTEM IS USING A 300 DOLLAR
HOCKEY STICK.
OR WEARING THE BEST PAIR OF
SKATES.

Steve says GLAD TO HEAR THAT.

Paul says LOOK AT THE CHEMISTRY
IN THIS GAME.
LOOK AT THE LANDSCAPE.
DETERMINE -- YOU KNOW, WHAT...
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A LOT OF
PLAYERS THAT ARE FROM, YOU KNOW,
THE SORT OF THAT GREATER TORONTO
AREA.
YOU NEED TO LOOK AT PLAYERS IN
EDMONTON, CALGARY, VANCOUVER,
SASKATOON, REGINA.
EVEN ON THE EAST COAST.
AND THE TYPES OF ENVIRONMENTS
THOSE YOUNGSTERS GROW UP IN.
ARE THE PONDS STILL THERE?
ABSOLUTELY.
ARE KIDS OUT ON WEEKENDS
ENJOYING SOME UNSTRUCTURED PLAY?
I THINK SO.
I THINK IT'S LESS AND LESS.
BUT, YOU KNOW, IT JUST SEEMS
THAT WE'RE LOSING SIGHT OF THE
ABILITY TO CREATE GREAT
EXPERIENCES FOR A VERY BROAD
RANGE OF YOUNGSTERS BECAUSE WE
SPEND A LOT OF TIME FOCUSING ON
THAT ELITE STREAM.
AND IF YOU LOOK AT...

Steve says LET ME GET ANOTHER
ANGLE IN HERE AS WELL.
TO DO THAT -- TODD THIS WILL BE
FOR YOU.
I WANT TO QUOTE THE GREATEST
DEFENSEMAN OF ALL TIME WHO
TURNED 68 ON THE 20th OF
MARCH.
HE SAID:

A slate appears on screen with the caption “My mom and dad were perfect minor hockey parents. Their philosophy was: Look, go out and play, have fun and let’s see what happens. And I wish there were more parents that thought like that when it came to their kids playing hockey. It was never a job for me…that’s what these kids have to understand. Just enjoy it, keep that love and passion for the game. I think that’s what sometimes we do…the coaches and the parents, we suck the love and passion from our kids. And I think that’s wrong. Bobby Orr, as quoted in Selling the Dream (2013.”

Steve says TODD, I WONDER WHETHER YOU'RE
SEEING WHAT BOBBY ORR SAW.

The caption changes to “Is hockey an elite sport. Taking the fun out of the game.”

Todd says LISTEN, THOSE ARE GREAT
WORDS.
OBVIOUSLY HE IS A GREAT PERSON
AS WELL.
AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT PARENTS
SHOULD BE LIVING BY.
I -- I THINK THERE'S ANOTHER
ISSUE THAT'S GOING ON HERE.
AND THAT IS THE MARKETING
MACHINE BEHIND HOCKEY.
AND THE BUSINESS OF HOCKEY.
I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT HOCKEY
CANADA HERE.
OR I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT MINOR
HOCKEY ASSOCIATIONS.
I AM TALKING ABOUT BUSINESS
CAPITALIZING ON PARENTS AND I
MEAN I SAW IT AS THE MINOR
HOCKEY PRESIDENT WHERE YOU HAD
THE SPRING LEAGUES COMING INTO
THE RINKS PROMISING ALL KINDS OF
THINGS TO THESE KIDS.
AND, YOU KNOW, PROBABLY ONE OF
THE FIRST QUESTIONS IS CAN YOU
MOM AND DAD CONTINUE TO PUT YOU
IN HOCKEY.
AND, AGAIN, MY IMPRESSION HERE
IS THAT PARENTS NEED TO TAKE ON
THE RESPONSIBILITY.
I'VE BEEN A BIG ADVOCATE FOR
THIS ALL THE WAY THROUGH MY
SEVEN YEARS ON THE BOARD.
PLUS, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY ALL
THE YEARS THAT MY SON WAS IN
HOCKEY.
WE, AS THE ADULTS OF THIS GAME,
NEED TO BE THE CUSTODIANS OF THE
GAME AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND
START CONTROLLING SOME OF THESE
ISSUES.
AND IT'S OUT OF CONTROL WITH
RESPECT TO SPENDING.
AND I THINK PARENTS ARE BEING
INTIMIDATED BY OTHER PARENTS.
THEY'RE BEING EMBARRASSED.
THEY THINK THEY HAVE TO DO THESE
THINGS.
AND JUST AS BOBBY ORR SAYS, YOU
DON'T.
AND I THINK WE SHOULD GET BACK
TO BASICS.

Steve says TODD LET ME FOLLOW
WITH THIS.
I'M CURIOUS ABOUT THE TITLE OF
YOUR BOOK: “ MORON: THE
BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT MINOR
HOCKEY.”
WHO ARE THE MORONS?

Todd says THE TITLE REALLY COMES FROM
MY RESIGNATION, WHICH REALLY
CAME FROM THE MORONIC BEHAVIOUR
OF A BUNCH OF ADULTS IN TERMS OF
CONTENTIOUS ISSUES THAT DURING
MY REIGN AS MINOR HOCKEY
PRESIDENT WE WERE DEALING
WITH--THINGS LIKE PEE-WEE
BODY CHECKING.
YOU KNOW, THE RESPECT BEHIND THE
GLASS ISSUES WHERE WE HAD KIND
OF BULLYING AND ALL KINDS OF
ISSUES GOING ON.
WITH PARENTS.
AND FROM MY REIGN WE WERE
DESPERATELY TRYING TO TACKLE SIX
MAJOR ISSUES AND I'VE
MENTIONED A COUPLE OF THEM
THERE. FROM THAT, YOU KNOW,
I PENNED OUT THE BOOK.
AND THE TITLE.
AND ALTHOUGH THE TITLE SEEMS A
LITTLE AGGRESSIVE, IT WAS
INTENDED KEEP THE CONVERSATION
GOING.
INTENDED TO KEEP CONVERSATIONS
ALIVE AROUND THE BEHAVIOURS FROM
ADULTS INSIDE THIS GAME.
NOT TO MENTION, YOU KNOW, THIS
FEELING THAT THEY'VE GOT TO
SPEND UNUSUALLY HIGH AMOUNTS OF
FUNDS TO KEEP THEIR KID IN THE
GAME ALL THE WAY FROM THEIR OWN
BEHAVIOUR BEHIND THE GLASS AND
BEING MORE RESPECTFUL.
I THINK WE'VE KEPT THAT
CONVERSATION ALIVE AS A RESULT
OF CONVERSATIONS LIKE THIS.

Steve says HMM.
OKAY.
I'VE GOT TO ASK YOU: HOW MUCH
BAD BEHAVIOUR BY PARENTS DO YOU
SEE WHEN YOU TAKE YOUR KIDS
TO THE RINK?

Theresa says I HAVE SEEN SOME
BEHAVIOUR.
YES, DEFINITELY.
IT DEPENDS ON THE INTENSITY OF
THE GAME OFTEN.

Steve says WHAT'S THE WORST THING
YOU'VE SEEN?

Theresa says I HAVE SEEN PROBABLY
A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT ARE IN
THE BOOK “MORON” FOR SURE.
I THINK I WOULD ADMIT GETTING
INTO IT WITH ANOTHER FAN LAST
YEAR AFTER MY SON WAS
CROSS-CHECKED AND HURT IN FRONT
OF THE ICE AND AS THE PARENT WAS
GOING OUT DURING INTERMISSION
INFORMED ME THAT IT WAS AN
EMBARRASSMENT -- OUR TEAM'S AN
EMBARRASSMENT IT'S AN
EMBARRASSMENT OUT THERE AS HE
YELLED “ACTOR” OUT AT MY SON
AND I THINK I MAY HAVE
CHALLENGED HIM THAT HE WAS THE
EMBARRASSMENT THAT MAYBE THAT
CHILDREN WERE 10 YEARS OLD
AND...

Steve says THIS IS THE PARENT
FROM THE OTHER TEAM.

Theresa says THIS IS A PARENT
FROM THE OTHER TEAM I SAID IF
YOU WANT TO YELL AT ME I CAN
TAKE IT BUT THESE ARE CHILDREN.
AND AS HE WALKED OUT HE GAVE ME
THE FINGER WITHOUT TURNING BACK
AND LOOKING.
THAT TYPE OF THING HAPPENS.
AND I'M A RATIONAL PARENT AND
DON'T YELL TOO MUCH ACT.
I THINK I HANDLED THAT QUITE
WELL.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO.
I LAUGHED ABOUT IT BUT HE STAYED
HE WAS THERE FOR THE NEXT
PERIOD AND WE WON.
[LAUGHTER]

Steve says WHICH YOU WERE HAPPY
ABOUT AT THE END OF THE DAY.
AT THE RISK OF ASKING YOU A
POLITICALLY INCORRECT QUESTION
HERE.
WHO'S WORSE, MOMS OR DADS?

Theresa says I THINK THERE ARE
EQUALLY BAD MOMENTS FOR BOTH.
I DON'T THINK I CAN SAY ONE WAY
OR ANOTHER.
I'VE SEEN MOMS GET INTO IT AND
DADS GET INTO IT.
I HAVE SEEN MOMS GET INTO IT
WITH DADS.
I HAVE SEEN A LOT OF YELLING AT
REFS.
ALSO BY DADS.
THE ONLY REAL THREATS THAT I'VE
SEEN ON COACHES HAVE BEEN FROM
DADS.
SO I THINK THAT WE EACH HAVE OUR
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES IN THAT
AREA.

Steve says IS IT MORE
OBSTREPEROUS IN BOYS HOCKEY OR
GIRLS' HOCKEY?

Theresa says I DON'T HAVE
EXPERIENCE SO MUCH WITH GIRLS'
HOCKEY LEAGUES BECAUSE MY
DAUGHTER PLAYS ON A BOYS' TEAM.
ALTHOUGH I WOULD CHALLENGE TO
SAY THAT THERE ARE SIX GIRLS ON
IT AS WELL.
I'M NOT SURE.
MAYBE THERE'S ROOM FOR
CONFRONTATIONS AND CONFLICT IN
BOTH.
KNOWING THE INTENSITY OF THE
GAME.

Steve says DOES ALL OF THIS
HAPPEN, MICHAEL, BECAUSE WE JUST
HAVE -- WE HAVE TWO DEEP A LOVE
AND AN INTEREST IN TRYING TO SEE
THAT OUR KIDS BECOME NHL PLAYERS
SOME DAY?
AND, THEREFORE, WE GO TO THE
WALL?

Michael says I THINK THAT'S PART OF
IT.
I THINK PART OF IT IS IF YOUR
CHILD WANTS TO -- IF THEY'RE
PASSIONATE ABOUT HOCKEY OR
WHATEVER THE SPORT OR ACTIVITY
IT IS WE WANT TO FOSTER THAT AS
MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
BUT I THINK THERE COMES TIME
WHERE PARENTS HAVE INVESTED “X.”
NUMBER OF DOLLARS AND WE SAY,
OKAY, WE'VE ALREADY DONE ENOUGH
WHERE WE THINK THAT WE SHOULD
GET SOMETHING OUT OF IT.
AND WHETHER IT'S GETTING THAT
KID TO THE NEXT LEVEL, WHETHER
IT'S MAJOR JUNIOR OR A COLLEGE
SCHOLARSHIP I THINK WE WOULD
WANT TO SEE THE CHILD GET
SOMETHING OUT OF IT.
ONCE YOU INVEST A CERTAIN AMOUNT
OF MONEY, I THINK YOU'RE THIS
TOO DEEP AT THAT POINT.
AND THAT'S WHERE THE PRESSURE
GETS SHIFTED FROM THE PARENT
FINANCIALLY ONTO THE CHILD,
SAYING I'VE GOT TO LIVE UP TO
ALL THE MONEY THAT MY PARENTS
HAVE SPENT ON THIS.

Steve says APOLOGIES FOR QUOTING
ONE OF YOUR COMPETITORS BUT
HERE'S JAMES MIRTLE IN THE
GLOBE. AND MAIL:

Another slate appears with the caption “Professionalizing play. ‘It’s getting totally out of control,’ says Derek Popke, who deals with overzealous parents dreaming of their children making the NHL as the president of Vancouver Hockey School. ‘It’s a crazy world. It’s professionalized. And I think this really has to come to people’s attention that it has to be dialled back. Everything.’ James Mirtle, The Glober and Mail. November 8, 2013.”

Steve says OKAY.
MICHAEL?
YOU GOT ANY IDEAS HOW TO DIAL IT
DOWN A BIT?

Michael says YOU CANNOT PUT THAT
GENIE BACK IN THE BOTTLE.
I THINK IT'S IMPOSSIBLE RIGHT
NOW, AND I THINK IT'S NOT JUST
HOCKEY.
IT'S EVERYTHING.
YOU LOOK AT HOW MUCH DANCE
LESSONS COST.
YOU LOOK AT GYMNASTICS.
IT'S NOT JUST HOCKEY.
I THINK IF YOU HAVE A CHILD, BOY
OR GIRL THAT'S INTO SOMETHING
AND PASSIONATE ABOUT SOMETHING,
YOU WANT TO SPEND AS MUCH AS
POSSIBLE TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT
COMES TO FRUITION.

Steve says I GET THAT.
BUT, PAUL, PART OF THE PROBLEM
IS -- I KNOW WE'RE LOSING KIDS
TO THIS -- WHO WANT TO PLAY THIS
GAME WHO AT ONE TIME MIGHT HAVE
WANT TO PLAY THIS GAME BUT QUIT
THE GAME BECAUSE THEIR PARENTS
ARE TOO BADLY BEHAVED AT THE
RINK AND IT'S ALL BECOME FAR
TOO -- AS THE QUOTE FROM MIRTLE
SUGGESTS TOO PROFESSIONALIZED
AND INTENSE.
YOU SEE THAT, TOO, DON'T YOU?

Paul says NO QUESTION.
I BELIEVE THAT IS ONE OF THE
DANGERS.
AND APPRECIATE WHAT MICHAEL IS
SAYING ABOUT SOCIETY IN GENERAL.
AND IT'S NOT JUST LIMITED TO
SPORTS.
IT'S ALSO IN THE ARTS.
AND THE CHALLENGE IS THAT EARLY
SPECIALIZATION IN A PARTICULAR
SPORT OR A PARTICULAR ARTS AREA,
YOU KNOW, IF KIDS ARE THAT
FOCUSED IN THAT AREA, I'M JUST
CONCERNED THAT WE LOSE THE
OPPORTUNITY TO SEE WHAT
POTENTIAL IS IN THAT CHILD IN
SPORT IF THEY DON'T HAVE A
BROADER BASE OF DEVELOPING THEIR
ATHLETIC ABILITIES, OF
DEVELOPING THEIR SOCIAL SKILL
SET.
I JUST WORRY THAT WHEN WE...
WHEN WE LOSE KIDS AT 13, 14, 15,
TWO THINGS HAPPEN.
THEY DON'T RETURN TO SPORT AND
IT'S LIKELY THAT THEIR OWN
CHILDREN MAY NOT RETURN TO THAT
SPORT.

Steve says LOST THEM FOR A COUPLE
OF GENERATIONS.
WHO KNOWS MAYBE BEYOND THAT.
LET'S HEAR FROM PROBABLY THE
MOST THOUGHTFUL GUY EVER TO HEAR
FROM PROFESSIONAL SPORTS.
KEN DRYDEN, HALL OF FAMER.
WHO SAID:

A slate shows a picture of the book “The Game, by Ken Dryden, and the caption “Processed and packaged players. It is in free time that the special player develops, not in the competitive experience of games, in hour-long practices once a week, in mechanical devotion to packaged, processed, coaching-manual, hockey-school skills. Ken Dryden, The Game (1983).”

Steve says THERESA HE ALWAYS
THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT AND
HAVE I HEARD WAYNE GRETZKY TALK
ABOUT THIS, TOO.
THE GREAT ONE PLAYED BASEBALL IN
THE SUMMERTIME
HE DIDN'T PLAY HOCKEY 12 MONTHS
A YEAR.
I DON'T WANT TO GET TOO PERSONAL
HERE BUT HOW DOES IT WORK IN
YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
ARE YOUR GUYS PLAYING HOCKEY ALL
YEAR LONG?

Theresa says NOT ALL YEAR LONG.
ACTUALLY SOME OF THE MOST FUN
THEY HAVE IS WHEN THEY TRY TO
MAKE A RINK IN THE BACKYARD OR
GO DOWN TO THE LAKE.
BUT THOSE TIMES ARE LESS AND
LESS NOW BECAUSE THE WINTER JUST
DOESN'T SEEM LIKE THERE'S THAT
MUCH TIME.
FOR MY FAMILY IN PARTICULAR, WE
DO A COUPLE OF SPRING
TOURNAMENTS FOR MY ONE SON WITH
A TOURNAMENT TEAM THAT'S BEEN
AROUND FOR A LONG TIME AND THEN
THE REST OF THE SUMMER IS
BASEBALL, SOCCER, FOOTBALL.
BUT I DO KNOW THAT I'VE ASKED
THE QUESTION BEFORE OF THE MOMS
WHAT DO YOU DO, WHAT
ARE YOUR OFF SEASON SPORTS, WHAT
DO YOU DO IN THE OFF SEASON AND
A LOT OF THEM WILL RESPOND WHAT
OFF SEASON?
THERE'S NO OFF SEASON.

Steve says THERE'S NO OFF SEASON
IT'S HOCKEY 12 MONTH AS.

Theresa says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says TODD WOULD YOU AGREE
YOU HAVE TO GET AWAY FROM THE
GAME A LITTLE BIT IN ORDER TO
APPRECIATE IT?

Todd says ABSOLUTELY.
THERE IS ALL KINDS OF
DOCUMENTATION THAT WOULD SUPPORT
THE NOTION OF DIVERSIFYING THE
SKILLS AND TALENTS AND AS PAUL'S
REFERENCING, EVEN THE SOCIAL
SKILLS OF GETTING YOUR CHILDREN
INVOLVED WITH OTHER THINGS.
CERTAINLY WHEN MY SON WAS
GROWING UP WE ALWAYS TOOK THE
DOWNTIME.
AND HE DID VERY WELL IN HOCKEY.
BUT WE RECOGNIZE THAT THERE WERE
OTHER THINGS, OTHER INTERESTS.
AND I WOULD BE ENCOURAGING ALL
PARENTS TO, YOU KNOW, LAY DOWN
THE HOCKEY EQUIPMENT AND GO
ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN TO GET
INVOLVED WITH SOMETHING ELSE OR
QUITE FRANKLY MAYBE JUST TAKE
THE SUMMER OFF AND ENJOY SOME
LEISURE TIME.

Steve says HAVE YOU, THERESA
HEARD FROM HOCKEY MOMS OR DADS
WHOSE KIDS HAVE QUIT AND WHAT
EXPLANATIONS DID THEY GIVE YOU
AS TO WHY THAT'S HAPPENED?

Theresa says I'VE ASKED THAT QUESTION
BEFORE, WHY PEOPLE QUIT.
A LOT OF PEOPLE AROUND ONCE THEY
ENTER HIGH SCHOOL, MIGHT END UP
FINDING JOBS OR FINDING OTHER
OPPORTUNITIES OR THINGS THEY
WANT TO DO.
THEY HAVE MORE OPPORTUNITIES
WITH DIFFERENT SPORTS AS WELL.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS.
BUT WHEN I ASKED MY OWN KIDS WHY
PEOPLE QUIT AROUND THAT AGE,
THEY SAID COACHES, ACTUALLY.
AND WHAT DOES THAT -- I ASKED
THEM -- I KIND OF PROBED INTO IT
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
AND I THINK AROUND CERTAIN AGES
IT'S NOT WORTH IT IN COMPETITIVE
SPORTS FOR THE KIDS TO PUT IN
THE LONG HOURS THEY DO TO SIT ON
THE BENCH.
SO THAT BECOME AS A WHOLE ISSUE
FOR KIDS, THE WHOLE PLAYING TIME
ISSUE.
AND ALSO THEY START REALIZING
THERE ARE OTHER OPPORTUNITIES
OUT THERE FOR THEM.

Steve says WHAT DO WE DO...
THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION, MICHAEL.
WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THE COACH
WHO'S 35 YEARS OLD AND ALREADY
TRYING TO BURNISH HIS ONE-LOSS
RECORD BY SITTING ON THE BENCH
THE KIDS WHO AREN'T AS GOOD AND
PLAYING TOO MUCH THE KIDS WHO
OBVIOUSLY BETTER, AND ALL HE'S
WORRIED ABOUT HIS WON-LOSS
RECORD AND NOT WHETHER KIDS ARE
HAVING A GOOD TIME.

Michael says IT'S A DIFFICULT
SITUATION.
I THINK A LOT OF THOSE KIDS ARE
TRYING TO GET TO THE NEXT LEVEL
TRYING TO LEARN THE FUNDAMENTALS
AND MAYBE SYSTEM WORK.
THERE ARE OTHER KIDS WHO
PROBABLY JUST WANT TO KEEP
PLAYING AND EXTENDING THEIR
HOCKEY CAREER.
I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU CAN SOLVE
IT ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT OKAY
IF YOU AREN'T GOING TO TAKE IT
THAT SERIOUSLY YOU WON'T PLAY
HOUSE LEAGUE YOU WILL PLAY
ANOTHER LEVEL WHERE MAYBE THE
COACH IS JUST A PARENT WHO'S
VOLUNTEERING VERSUS A GUY WHO'S
CONCERNED ABOUT HIS WON-LOSS
RECORD AND MAYBE THE COACH IS
TRYING TO GET TO THE NEXT LEVEL.
IT'S A DIFFICULT SCENARIO.
A LOT OF KIDS THERE ARE TREATING
IT LIKE A JOB AND TREATING IT AS
SUCH THAT THEY'RE TRYING TO MAKE
SOMETHING OF IT.
WHETHER IT'S GETTING A FREE
SCHOLARSHIP, A FREE RIDE OR THEY
JUST WANT TO PLAY AS HIGH A
LEVEL HOCKEY AS POSSIBLE.

Steve says IN OUR LAST FEW
MINUTES HERE LET'S -- WE'VE GOT
TO QUOTE THE GREAT ONE AT LEAST
ONCE IN THIS PROGRAM.
HERE WE GO HERE'S WAYNE:

A slate appears with the caption “One of the worst things for the game. I was absolutely ecstatic to see the end of the hockey season. One of the worst things to happen to the game, in my opinion, has been year-round hockey and, in particular, summer hockey. All it does for kids, as far as I can tell, is keep them out of sports they should be doing in the warmer weather. Wayne Gretzky, as quoted in the National Post. November 18, 2015.”

Steve says PAUL WHAT DO WE DO
ABOUT THIS?

The caption changes to “IS hockey an elite sport? Fixing minor hockey.”

Paul says WE LISTEN TO WHAT HE
HAS TO SAY.
WE LISTEN TO WHAT BOBBY ORR HAS
TO SAY.
I THINK THE KEN DRYDENS, THE
BOBBY ORRS AND THE WAYNE
GRETZKYS OF THE WORLD HAVE SO
MUCH WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE TO
SHARE ABOUT THEIR OWN
EXPERIENCES GROWING UP.
I THINK IT'S PARENT EDUCATION.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE, WE REALLY
NEED -- MICHAEL JUST TALKED 20
ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE MEASURE A
COACH'S ABILITY BASED ON WINS
AND LOSSES.
AND THAT'S PARENTS AS WELL
SAYING WELL, HE'S NOT A VERY
GOOD COACH.
LAST YEAR'S TEAM, HE WAS 5-20.
IF WE CAN LOOK AT THE WAYS WE
MEASURE SUCCESS BASED ON KIDS
DEVELOPING THEIR SKILLS, KIDS
ENJOYING THEIR SEASON, IT IS A
CONCERN FOR ME TO KIDS WOULD
QUIT THE SPORT.
BECAUSE THE COACH SUCKS THE LIFE
OUT OF THE EXPERIENCE.
AND SO, YOU KNOW, WHAT I DO WANT
TO SEE HAPPEN IS MULTISPORT
EXPERIENCES.
I WANT TO SEE KIDS INVOLVED IN
OTHER SPORTING ACTIVITIES.
AND I THINK WE JUST HAVE TO
CONTINUE TO PROMOTE THAT MESSAGE
THROUGH MEANS LIKE THIS.
THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT THE
MEDIA CAN BE A GREAT SUPPORTER
OF HOW WE GET THAT MESSAGING
OUT.
I THINK IT'S CRITICAL THAT
PARENTS UNDERSTAND THAT THOSE
ARE GOOD CHOICES FOR THEIR
CHILDREN.

Steve says THERESA LAST WORD.
NOW THAT YOU HAVE THE WEBSITE
GOING, YOU HAVE HEARD FROM TENS
OF THOUSANDS OF PARENTS GIVE US
ONE IDEA THAT MIGHT HELP IMPROVE
THINGS.

Theresa says I GUESS FROM A
PARENTING PERSPECTIVE, SOMETHING
THAT'S ALWAYS HELPED ME
IS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN I GET
UPSET ABOUT THINGS OR IF I'M
REALLY INTENSE ABOUT MY KID AND
WANT MY KID TO DO SOMETHING IS
THAT ABOUT ME OR IS THAT ABOUT
MY KID?
IS THAT REALLY ABOUT MY KID?
AND MAYBE TAKING ONE STEP BACK
AND TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHOSE
DREAM IT REALLY IS IMPORTANT.
AND ALSO JUST GIVING THEM
UNSTRUCTURED TIME TO PLAY AS THE
GAME THAT THEY LOVE.
BECAUSE I'VE HEARD IT SAID MANY
TIMES: THE BEST PART OF
PRACTICE IS GETTING OUT THERE
BEFORE THE COACH HAS STARTED
ANYTHING STRUCTURED.
SO GIVING KIDS THOSE
OPPORTUNITIES ARE IMPORTANT,
TOO.

Steve says THAT IS SO SMART, SO
WISE.
GREAT DISCUSSION, EVERYBODY.
THANKS FOR EVERYBODY JOINING US
ON TVO TONIGHT.
TODD MILLAR IN CALGARY, PAUL
CARSON IN CALGARY. GOOD TO HAVE
YOU GUYS ON THE LINE FROM
ALBERTA. AND THERESA DOSTALER
CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR
MAKING THE BIG TREK IN FROM
MADOC AND OTTAWA. AND MICHAEL
TRAIKOS OF POSTMEDIA NEWS.
THANKS SO MUCH EVERYBODY.

The caption changes to Producer: Eric Bombicino @ebombicino.”

Watch: Is Hockey an Elite Sport?