Commitment. Some feel it is a dirty word. Others take the word to heart and make it one of the foundation principles of their lives. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.
For junior hockey, we hear the word often used in relation to an individual player committing to a certain team or even a university. We also hear about it in regards to the services of a coach. A commitment is just that, a promise to do what we say we are going to do.
We have talked about the continued abuse of players and coaches by certain junior hockey teams, but we have not addressed is the fact that the majority of teams have built a reputation of doing things the right way. It's funny how that works, do things right and stay in business, operate on the other side of the fence and a team finds themselves out of business or worse, playing in their fourth arena in four years.
I have been giving the North American Hockey League a lot to think about over the years and that might have a lot to do with the high level of respect and dedication that the league has showered us with. The fact is that almost all the NAHL teams do operate with a respectable level of decency, integrity, and commitment.
In order to expect a serious commitment from players, coaches, sponsors, and fans, a team owner needs to look in the mirror and decide to operate within the boundaries of decency. That commitment starts with the guy on top and should trickle down to the volunteer in the penalty box.
I am very proud of the way that most leagues and teams conduct their business. I feel the same way about the individual operations of the NAHL.
I'd like to see another commitment, one that every team in the system should embrace. We challenge all of you to give a little back to the game next season. Give an hour to a pre-schooler and introduce them to our game. Commit to sharing your own passion by planting the seed of hockey into the consciousness of tomorrow's generation.
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working as a consultant with individual teams, coaches, and players with the Heisler Hockey Group. When not on the road, Stephen and his family spend most of their time at home in Orlando, Florida.
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