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Daily Dish: Reality of Consequences - Junior Hockey News

Published: Thursday, 17 Dec 2020  
By: Stephen Heisler,

It’s interesting to see folks use the that’s what insurance is for in response to theft, looting, and vandalism. 

That is a gross misconception. We ALL pay much higher insurance rates when society accepts such behaviors as normal. It’s become clear that this new society (globally) only understands extreme measures and consequences. 

There's that word: consequences.

Hockey players have to make good choices in order to get anywhere in their individual careers. Throughout history, developing prospects have been exposed to a tremendous number of temptations that can (and most often do) derail a promising career.

Missing the lesson that consequences are real is a problem that has plagued the young for thousands of years, some feel it is part of the maturation process. And I'm not just referring to North Americans because the problem has always been a global concern. 

Consequences are real, and can be very harsh for hockey players too.

There are way too many players that will quickly risk their futures for a very short-term reward. I understand why the I want to live now mentality is so popular, it's similar to what happens before and during a drunken hookup. Yes, that was good...or was it? 

Let's face it, there are a lot of things that happen in the night that come with regret in the morning. And the very LAST thing we ever want to hear from an older coach, parent, or sibling is the I told you so.

So how do we avoid such unpleasantries? Stop looking at life through a tunnel is a great first step. Take the future into consideration before making a questionable choice, allowing yourself to be photographed, or putting yourself into a compromising position.

I'm fairly certain that there is not a player, at the junior hockey level, that considers this time to be the pinnacle of their hockey careers. It does not matter if you are skating on the third line for an elite team in New England or skating on the first line for the Canadian National Team at World Juniors, everybody wants more.

So what I'm about to say may seem harsh but here it is... stop being so stupid. Grow up and realize that consequences IS a real word in the real world. 

Displaying character shortcomings is not only a detrimental influence on the locker room, it's damaging to a young player's career.

Toughing it out and trying to play through a serious injury can easily turn into a career ending mistake.

Drinking, drug use, smoking and vaping may provide a short-term escape from reality, but can also come with substantial impacts on any athlete's physical and mental performance.

Promiscuous behavior has also been the absolute ruin of many playing careers. Babies have a way of becoming expensive, especially if their mother is not too happy getting pregnant by the same stud who also impregnated her now ex-best friend.

Mitchell Miller showed gross immaturity AS AN EIGHTH GRADER and it ultimately damaged his reputation, career, and future. Don't fall into the trap because consequences often have a very long shelf life.

Let's be clear; there are minimal measurable differences between the top 500 AAA seventeen year-old prospects in the world. The biggest separation happens between the ears. Words like character, work ethic, body language, and fitness are the common, and rewarding, consequences for a majority of the 200 plus players selected in the National Hockey League Draft. Will the other 300 all go NCAA Division I? Nope. Some made an earlier decision to play major junior, others will end their career in junior B, and most will just hang up the skates and live with the I could have been consequences of their choices. 

Boys, there are far too many of you that ARE at the pinnacle of your careers because of the tendencies to fall into the trap of stupidity. The money for your parents' new Rolls-Royce is tied up in your hockey career to date, yet there's this intense desire to hit that party where there's drinking, smoking, and lots of fornication. And all that's before the real risk of bringing that nasty little COVID-19 bug back to the rink.

Enough already. Pull your big boy pants on and become the very best player you can be. Your fifty year-old self will thank you later.

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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