This article is based upon a brochure by USA
Hockey to assist parents in becoming more
familiar with the sport of ice hockey and
its organization and structure at the
Keep in mind
that, above all, the motivating factor for
most children who enter an organized youth
sports program is their desire to have fun.
This is particularly true with young
children, many of whom are newcomers to the
youth sports scene.
supportive attitude and a fundamental
understanding of the "basics" of ice hockey,
everyone will come away from their youth
sports experience with a positive feeling.
The House League Program has
been developed to make certain that a
child's first experience with hockey is
positive, safe and fun. Parents should avoid
pressuring or placing unreasonable
expectations on their children. No matter
what happens on the ice, children need your
support, so always strive to be positive.
In The Stands
Parents can take the fun out
of hockey by continually yelling or
screaming from the stands. Parents should
enjoy the game and applaud good plays. The
stands are not a place from which parents
should try to personally coach their kids.
Kids often mirror the actions of their
parents; if they see mom or dad losing their
cool in the stands, they'll probably do the
same on the ice.
Car And Home
Some parents not only spoil
the fun for their kids at the ice rink, but
also in the car, believing this is the
perfect place for instruction. Parents
should try to keep things in perspective.
There's more to life than hockey, and the
car and home are not places to coach.
Parents are responsible for supporting and
respecting the coach's decisions and
abilities. It is unfair to put children in a
position of having to decide who to listen
to their parents or the coach.
Parents should remember that
if a child wants to improve, they have to
practice not just play. Even if a child is
not the "star" player for a team, practice
stresses the importance of teamwork,
establishing goals, discipline and learning
to control your emotions, all of which are
important lessons children can use both in
and away from sports.
At The Rink
Hockey parents can help create
a fun environment by making certain their
children are wearing properly fitted
equipment. Parents also need to stress fair
play and risk management to help eliminate
Support Your Child
There are many benefits that
are derived from playing youth hockey. Boys
and girls learn good sportsmanship and
self-discipline. They learn to work
together, how to sacrifice for the good of
the team, how to enjoy winning and how to
handle defeat. In the process, they also
learn important lessons about physical
fitness and personal health.
The degree to
which your child benefits from his or her
youth hockey experience is as much your
responsibility as it is theirs. In order for
your child to get the most out of a youth
hockey program, it is important for you to
show support and offer encouragement while
maintaining a genuine interest in the team.
Always Be Positive
Parents serve as role models
for their children, who often look to adults
for advice, direction and approval. Never
lose sight of the fact that you are a role
model, and strive to be a positive role
model. As a parent, one of the most
important things you can do is show good
sportsmanship at all times to coaches,
referees, opponents and teammates.
your children are PLAYING hockey. It is
important to allow them to establish their
own goals and play the game for themselves.
Be careful not to impose your own standards
Let The Coach Coach
Avoid placing an exaggerated
emphasis on winning. A recent survey
indicated 72% of children would rather play
for a losing team than ride the bench for a
winner. The most important aspect of your
child's youth hockey experience is for them
to have fun while developing physical and
emotional skills that will serve them in
life. A healthy, risk-free environment that
emphasizes the importance of fair play,
sportsmanship, discipline and, most
importantly, fun will be invaluable for your
child as he or she continues to develop a
positive self image.
The best way to help children
achieve goals and reduce their natural fear
of failure is through positive
reinforcement. After all, no one likes to
If your child
does make a mistake and they will (remember,
they're just kids) keep in mind that
mistakes are an important part of the
overall learning process. Strive to be
supportive and point out the things they do
well. Make your child feel like a winner.