I completely understand the obsession with the stats sheet. It seems like the perfect way to see how you’re doing or compare yourself to others. It’s easy to think those numbers are the key to getting where you want to go, especially if your stats are stacked, but all of the other pieces need to fall into place, too. If your stats are lacking, though, it’s also just as easy to let that affect your mental game. Not every victory shows up on the scoreboard or the stats sheet. It’s not the whole story, and the good news is any decent scout or coach knows that.
Anyone who has been around hockey a while has seen those 21-0 games. How valuable are those stats now, do you think? What if the score was 4-3? That same guy who scored six goals in the first game may have only scored one or even none in the second, but if you look at the overall stats, it just shows the totals. In that first game, was the goalie who let in 21 goals in over their head? Is that team seriously lacking on defense or is their bench just really short? Is that team full of young, inexperienced players? Stats alone don’t tell that story.
What about that team that loses every game the entire season? Does their win loss record mean every player on that team is horrible? You might think so looking at the stats, but it isn’t always the case. In fact, it’s hardly ever the case, but one or two great players can’t carry the whole team. A hockey team takes all six guys on the ice plus the other guys on the bench to get that W.
I know the stats are important to the players and the parents. Truth be told, I’m still a little annoyed about my own player not getting his hat trick patch from back in PeeWees. My son has probably forgotten about it by now, and it didn’t affect his overall trajectory. Everyone wants the recognition they earned, though, so I think it’s perfectly okay to ask for them to be corrected.
I am saying there is no space on the standard stats sheet for how many shots a player blocked, how many times a player won the battle for the puck, how many times a player won the race to the puck, how many times the player finished his check, or how hard the player’s passes are. Yes, goals and assists are great, but these other things matter, too. This is why hockey analytics are a thing, and is a whole other series of articles, but suffice it to say anyone who has watched even a little bit of hockey knows all shots on goal are not equal. It’s why you’re invited to another camp after being seen at a scouting event and why scouts want to see a whole game and not watch highlight reels. Stats are just a part of a bigger picture.
Your stats might get you noticed, but you still have to pass the eye test. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are a great player. If you don’t have the stats, it doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t a great player. Hockey is a complex game, and stats don’t tell the whole story.
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