Mark Messier said it best, "We're in the business of building good citizens, good men and women. We're not in the business of creating NHL players at the minor league level and we need to keep that in mind."
Of course, I'm talking about hockey.
Recently, the police had to remove parents from the rink for unruly behaviour. What is it about walking into a hockey arena that makes normally good-natured parents grow fangs and ferocious claws?
Recently, I watched Game On - Minor Hockey in Canada. During this hour, a panel of "experts" discussed the issues and challenges facing minor hockey in Canada, and the issue of crazy parents was introduced. Children were surveyed and the general consensus was: Hockey is not fun. It's too competitive, too intense, too focused on elite players and full of crazy adults.
Let's face it - its minor hockey, and only one per cent make it to the NHL.
Jim Parcels, co-author of Selling the Dream: How Hockey Parents and Their Kids Are Paying the Price for Our National Obsession, followed 30,000 Ontario hockey players born in 1975 to see how many ended up in the NHL. Forty-eight were drafted by NHL teams, though only 39 signed contracts, and of those, 32 played in a NHL game. Of those 32, only 15 played more than one full season. And of those 15, only six played 400 games or more which is the minimum to qualify for an NHL pension.
And it's even tougher to get there now.
I'm sure this isn't how it's supposed to be. Hockey is supposed to be fun for the children. Organized sports mold and shape young participants, teaching coordination, team play and sportsmanship. As parents, we all want our children to do well and get frustrated when things go wrong. But there's a point where we get so frustrated that we make spectacles of ourselves. Ignorant behaviour is unacceptable in any sport. What kind of message are the crazy parents sending to the children of this sport?
I can see how it can be very easy to get caught up in the game when your own kid is playing in it. My kids do not play hockey, but I've sat through a few minor hockey games. I have seen how fiery and demonstrative some parents can get.
Ask yourself how you want your kids to remember their hockey experience, and how they will remember you as a hockey parent. Will they remember you as a positive, supportive parent who cheered, or as a parent who lost their cool in the stands?
Only time will tell.