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Best of the Daily Dish: Cancer in the Family - Junior Hockey News

Published: Monday, 1 Mar 2021  
By: Stephen Heisler,

How many times have we heard junior hockey clubs refer to their team as a family? We hear it again and again from coaches as they try to build the team or as the season winds up.

How can any junior hockey team model themselves after such a long-term institution that families represent?  Year after year, junior rosters fluctuate with each new season. Players aged out, new guys come in, and everybody fills certain roles and responsibilities.

A team's personality can often change like the tide and it's up to the coach to try and guess how each component of the group is going to mesh with the others.

A kid could come into camp and absolutely dominate play on the ice, but be a disrespectful, arrogant, pile of manure off the ice and force a coaching staff into a difficult decision. Many coaches have a hard time passing on such an on-ice phenom, and end up paying for the mistake in the end.  Like death, disappointment is inevitable.

Such players have a tendency to alienate every component of the team, staff, even the fan base. Folks, it's never good when the boo-birds come out after a home team goal. We have all witnessed the one-man celebration when the rest of the team stands there and just watches the display. Great, the jerk has scored again.

Its funny how a lot of coaches will grade on the curve when it comes to team discipline.  A fourth line banger generally does not get an inch of play when it comes to the team rules. But a three-points a night pantydropper can get caught drunk, while banging the billet mom and her four best friends, without facing any consequences for his actions.

Like a family, it does not take long for the group to absolutely break down when the chosen one is immune to the rules. As in the real world, cancer has a way of catching up with a team and it's going to end badly when the disease starts to spread.

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.

* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Stephen Heisler, and not necessarily the views of does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.
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