Every season, hockey tryouts are one of the biggest challenges for girls hockey players. While some girls will be fortunate enough to make the team of their dreams, there will also be many aspiring girls hockey players out there with broken hearts after getting cut.
I’ve been cut my fair share of times in my hockey career and I know how hard it is. But one time in particular hurt more than the rest. Five years ago, I had what I thought was my best hockey season ever. I was playing alongside and competing with the national team girls on a daily basis and not surprisingly, every single aspect of my game improved.
I was pretty excited when the coach came up to me at a practice late in the year and all but “guaranteed” me a spot on the team for the next season.
You can probably guess what happened next.
Let’s just say I was more than a little bit surprised when the coach called me into the office a few days after the season was done and cut me from the team. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach and had the wind knocked out of me. I was angry, frustrated and I felt hopeless. And the worst part was that I didn’t even get a chance to fight for my spot. Even though I had played so well, and slowly worked my way up the depth chart by dedicating myself completely to become the best women’s hockey player possible, I wasn’t even invited back for a tryout. To say that it “stung” is be a HUGE understatement. I was devastated. I changed teams, continued to work hard and dream big, but it took me a while to get over being cut from that team.
When it comes to hockey or life, nothing is ever guaranteed. You may think you are a lock to make the team, and then get the rug pulled out from under you. Or you may just not be good enough to be on the team of your dreams…yet. As a player, it’s easy to get frustrated and wonder why you put all that effort in for nothing. As a parent, you are at a loss for how to help your daughter get through this challenging time.
The truth is, whether you made the team or not, you’re next question has to be…
“What Do I Do Now?”
If you didn’t make the team you wanted to make, it doesn’t mean that you should just coast through the summer and not work hard to be your best. I didn’t make a high-level team until I was 15 years old and I was still able to realize my dream of getting a scholarship 4 years later. And if you did make the team, you aren’t off the hook either.
Great hockey players are made away from the rink. If you want to reach the elite level, your dedication to becoming the best athlete possible off the ice is what will ensure that you are the best player possible on the ice. That doesn’t mean that you need to train 4+ hours a day like the national team players, but you do need to move yourself at least
one step closer to your hockey dreams every day if you want to achieve them.
That might mean taking 100 or 1000 shots a day in your driveway, playing another sport regularly to stay in top shape or committing to an off-ice training program for the summer. Whatever it is, keep in mind that reaching your full potential on the ice and realizing all of your hockey dreams never comes easy. And no matter what team you are playing on, it’s your commitment to becoming the best player possible that will make you unstoppable and set the stage for the rest of your hockey career.
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