The Home Stretch
Hockey season is months away, but discussion around the sport continues to be year-round for people in this county, Nova Scotia and our country.
Specific to Pictou County and Truro there has been discussion surrounding the two major bantam teams. There are those who think the two teams should be combined, but who gets to keep it?
There has been no indication from Hockey Nova Scotia that it will happen, but before the discussion gets that far, if or when it does, what is the true purpose of these organizations? My understanding is development first, winning is a close second.
Obviously winning is huge for these teams because it helps bring more attention to the various organizations, but if the two combined, would that limit the amount of development happening at that level? You would cut the number of players able to play in half, meaning that the team would be more competitive, at least that seems logical. That said, you would take away opportunities for players to play and to develop into future major midget, major junior or junior A hockey players.
Also part of this is the frustration of losing hockey games. It can be discouraging and could possibly lead to players losing their love for their game, but I think the pro of being able to play and experience the development at the major bantam level outweighs the con of being a team in the bottom half of the league.
We also saw two important things regarding this topic last year during the NSMBHL season – when the Scotsburn Crushers put the effort in they can skate with any team in the league and based on the population base they are able to draw from that they continue to struggle to be at the top half of the league.
Although frustrating for the players from time to time, the coaches tended to look at individual player effort and development as a benchmark. There was a lot of positivity around how they grew their understanding for their positions and the game overall. Those positives are what I believe should be the largest argument against combining the two teams. Individuals have a potential regardless of what team they play on, so with the right coaching it shouldn’t matter what the teams win-loss record is. If the player works hard to improve they will be rewarded for that.
Just a week ago I was out throwing a ball around with some friends and in the midst of a conversation about our baseball gloves I mentioned mine was a “Tony Gwynn” glove. It has his “signature” in the palm of the glove.
This moment seemed insignificant at the time, but as most know in the sporting world the Hall of Famer died of cancer at the age of 54 on Monday.
When you’re a kid in any sport you have a player you look up to. Whether you’re a hockey player looking to buy an Ovechkin stick or a baseball player wanting to buy a glove with a player’s insignia on it, there is some significance to it.
As a left-handed ball player most of the players I looked for in the palm of a mitt were unfortunately for the wrong hand. I know when looking at the glove my mother bought me roughly 15 years ago that I was proud to have a Tony Gwynn glove and I always knew that was in the palm of my hand. Although I knew before I had the glove who Gwynn was, it wasn’t until I had that as my own that I really started to follow him and become a fan of him as a player and person.
I stopped playing after my last year of peewee, but I never forgot that was the glove I owned. I remember when he retired and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
As cheesy as it sounds, back when I played I wanted to become the player he was. I never met him, but still felt I had this connection somehow because his name was in the palm of my glove.
Now it has an added bit of significance to me and I’ll continue to remember “Mr. Padre” every time I throw the ball around.
Christopher Cameron is the sports reporter for The News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NGNewsChris. His column runs weekly on Wednesdays.