One Thing That Can Change Everything

Hockey Blog - One Thing That Can Change Everything

I was reading a book the other day and came across a very interesting question…

“What is the one goal, if completed, that would change everything?”

Now, this isn’t a book related to hockey at all, but after reading that question, my mind instantly went to hockey.

It was one of those “ah ha” moments where I started to think about players today.

I’ve talked about spring and summer training in another article, but this brought a ton of clarity to me.

Instead of worrying about a hundred different things at once, simplify the process instead.

Take a collective deep breathe and simply answer the question above.

In essence, it’s working backward from your goal.

Define what it is you want to do first, then figure out a way to get there.

It seems so simple when you see it written out, but I think we all from time to time can fall into the trap of overanalyzing and overwhelming ourselves with options and decisions that have to be made.

I know for me, that even includes a lot of things that have nothing to do with my end goal.

So take a step back and gain some perspective.

Focus on your one goal that is going to get you to where you want to be, then figure out the best way to get there.

By doing that, you’re giving yourself a purpose.

And when you know your purpose, you can develop a process to get there.

And when you can follow, and love, a process you’re much more likely to succeed and build confidence along the way.

So while this post may be short, I think it’s a good reminder.

Do you know what your number one goal is?

Are you working to achieve that one goal?

Do you have a process in place that is going to get you what you want?

Are you being efficient and direct with making sure your work and efforts are putting you closer to your number one goal?

If you ever feel stuck, take a step back and answer the questions above.

I guarantee they’ll simplify things for you and hopefully make that path to success a bit more clear.

What Has Hockey Taught You?


I recently posted a question to our Facebook page asking what you, or your son or daughter, has learned through playing hockey.

The responses covered a lot of the same things that I talk about in this blog and things that I also completely agree with.

So often, we get wrapped up in every little situation that comes up over the course of a season that we can lose sight of all the amazing life lessons we learn from the game.

I know I’m just as guilty of it as I’m sure most of you are.

But once you get asked the question, or take a few minutes to gain some perspective and think about all that you get from the game, the results are pretty amazing.

For me personally, I think I have learned more from being a part of the game than any other aspect of my entire life.

Hockey has taught me about work ethic, commitment, working with a team and being a good teammate, resilience, discipline, leadership, winning and losing… The list could literally go on and on.

It’s honestly hard for me to reflect on any other part of my life where I have been impacted, or learned, more. Plain and simple, hockey has helped build and define my character.

Even just writing this post has forced me to have some perspective about how lucky I am to be able to still be a part of such an awesome game. And to hopefully be able to continue to pass along those same amazing lessons to the players I coach and interact with is what it's all about.

And while I learned about all those things listed above as a player, I continue to learn just as much, if not more, now as a coach.

I think the real cool thing for me is that when I was a player it was learning and trying to figure out who I was as a person and a player. And now that I’m a coach, I feel comfortable and confident about who I am as a man, but instead have the responsibility to try and help guide other players down the right path. To be a positive influence in their life and make an impact for the right reasons.

The game has taught me, especially recently, that not every decision is an easy one, in fact, most are hard. But at the end of the day, if you’re coming from the right place and can look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day then that’s all part of leading and making an impact.

I think too often we forget that making an impact in the right way involves making hard decisions and tough calls. Sometimes the biggest, and best, impact you can make is by going against the grain and being willing to take the heat to do the right thing. Hockey has taught me all of this.

It’s amazing to think that such a simple game can be so powerful and have such an impact.

I know for me I wouldn’t be the person I am today without hockey. It’s truly one of the most rewarding, and humbling, parts of my life.

How has hockey impacted you? What life lessons have you learned from the game? Feel free to comment below and keep the conversation going.

The Mental Battle All Hockey Players Face


Be honest with yourself, have you ever felt like you were going to lose before you even played the game?

I’m guessing that if you’re being completely honest with yourself, then everyone reading this will be able to answer ‘yes’.

Isn’t it crazy the mind games we play with ourselves from time to time?

Whether we look at the team we’re playing and assume they’re better, or maybe we’ve lost to them in the past, or maybe we know some of the players on the other team and know how talented they are, or maybe it’s just that they’re physically bigger…

Whatever it may be, we’ve all played the mental battle with ourselves and put ourselves behind the ball before the game even starts.

It’s amazing to me as a coach how often I see this and how much this truly dictates the outcome of the game.

I’m a firm believer that if you go into a situation expecting to lose, or fail, you’re probably going to.

However, on the flip side, if you go into the situation knowing, and expecting, to win you’re already ahead of the curve.

I’ve been fortunate enough over the years to coach some very good, and successful, hockey teams.

When people ask me about what made those teams different, this is usually one thing that I always bring up right away. Those teams had the confidence, and swagger, to walk into the rink every night knowing and expecting to win.

They didn’t care who we were playing, they looked at it as that team had to come play us.

It truly played to our advantage.

You could sense, and see the intimidation on the opposing teams in warmups and that only added to our teams confidence.

In fact, I used to talk with my assistant coaches about how you could tell what type of game it was going to be that night depending how the other team showed up to the rink.

You could get a sense if they were focused, excited, and ready for the challenge, or, if they were just there because they had to and hoping to survive the next few hours.

It always amazes me how the mind tricks we play on ourselves really effects so much in our performance.

So what do you do with all this?

First off, don’t beat yourself before you even get started. Hockey, and life, is a competitive venture where realistically you’re not going to win every night. But, if you go in without the expectation of winning, you’re almost always guaranteeing your outcome.

Rise up to the challenge. If you’re playing a great team, visualize the victory. Know in your heart that you’re going to leave it all on the ice, and remember, that’s why we play the game. Think of all the amazing underdog stories you’ve heard about in sports throughout your life. Why did those happen? Because a team of people came together with the belief that they would be able to create greatness for that night.

Be prepared. It sounds simple, but it’s so true. Control the things that are in your power to control and make sure that you’re doing everything in your power to give you the best chance at being successful. Know that it won’t be easy, but challenging and pushing our limits is what makes us grow and get better.

On the flip side, if you’re a great team use that confidence to your advantage. Have a great warmup, start quick, and don’t give teams lacking confidence a chance to recover and think they have a chance.

Remember that your mind is an incredibly powerful tool.

It can be used to help you, or hurt you.

Make sure that it’s helping prepare you for the challenges you face and always go into every battle with the optimism that greatness is going to happen in your favor.

So to sum everything up in one statement, don’t beat yourself before the game even starts.

Why You Should Take A Break


I recently wrote about the importance of taking some time for self reflection during the season.

It’s important to take a step back and give yourself an honest assessment of how the season is going so far.

What is working?

What isn’t working and can be improved up?

While this is an incredibly valuable exercise to follow through with, there’s also another component that is incredibly valuable for success.

Taking a break.

While it sounds simple in theory, I think for some players and coaches, it’s a tough task to follow through with (myself included).

The truth is we all need to take breaks during the year where we forget about hockey for a day or two during the season.

Spend time with your family and friends and get out and experience life outside of hockey (yes, such a thing does exist, haha).

It’s important that we all do things like this for a couple reasons.

  1. It’s a way to clear your mind from the stresses that come with playing a competitive sport. For players, there’s the rigors of workouts, practices, and games. And on top of that there’s the mental strain of making sure that you’re ready to play and perform on a day to day basis. For coaches, it’s a way to escape the daily challenges of managing 20 plus players and personalities on a day to day basis. To go along with managing the scheduling and performance of your team.

  2. It allows you to change the routine and gain some perspective on the game. We’ve all heard the saying that “distance makes the heart grow fonder?” The same is true with hockey. It’s amazing what a few days away from the rink will do for you. For many, you’ll start to miss the rink and the routine after a few days and by the time you need to get back to work, your reinvigorated and can’t wait to get back on the ice and get back around your team.

So as the Christmas holiday rolls around, I hope you all get to take a brief break from hockey and spend some quality time away from the game.

Don’t worry, you’re not going to miss out or fall behind from taking a few days off.

If anything, you’ll come back with a new sense of energy and excitement after the holidays, and honestly, that’s incredibly valuable to a team.

So enjoy time with your family and friends and make 2019 the best year yet.

P.S. As a way of practicing what I preach, I will be taking the entire next week off from posting. I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season and can’t thank you enough for the continued support of the past year.

Midseason Self Reflection


With the Christmas holiday right around the corner, it always seems like this is a natural stopping point to relax, get away from the game for at least a couple days, and evaluate yourself and your season so far.

As I have learned over the years, self reflection is another one of those invaluable tools that every player should utilize when possible.

It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of a season.

The workouts, the practices, the travel, the games… it truly can become a grind at times.

This also can lead to us forgetting about why we love the game and why we love getting on the ice everyday.

Gaining some perspective can help deal with this.

Like I’ve talked about on this blog before, taking a step back and having some perspective on the situation can make you appreciate everything so much more.

The time spent with friends and teammates, the competition, the freedom of being on the ice, and the camaraderie of being part of a team that’s all working towards the same goal are just a few of the things that make hockey so great.

And it’s important that we remind ourselves about these things from time to time.

So as the holiday season rolls around and you get a few days away from the rink, sit back and reflect on the season so far.

What has gone well?

What has gone poorly and can be improved upon?

What can you do to help your team be more successful?

And, what can you do, or continue to do, to be a great teammate?

I think if you can ask, and answer, these four questions honestly that it will give you some perspective on your hockey season and hopefully get you reinvigorated for the second half.

Enjoy the break, enjoy the process, and remember that every day is filled with new opportunities. And, it’s our job to make the most of every opportunity.

What You Should Focus On


Personally, I'm not a huge social media person. I have all the accounts and use them occasionally, but it's usually for finding up to date information rather than post about myself. 

This is especially true for Twitter, for me. It's a great way to follow other coaches, learn from them, and stay up to date on highlights and other current events going on in the world. 

I came across a post a few weeks back that perfectly summed up my beliefs and a lot of what I talk about on this blog, focusing only on things that you can control. 

The picture above sums this up perfectly. 

It's almost like a two step process you should be asking yourself when thinking about things.

1. Does it matter?

2. Can you have any control over it?

If you can answer "YES" to both of those questions then it's worth your time, effort, and energy. 

On the flip side, if you answer "NO" to either one of those questions, then stop wasting your energy.

I see this a lot in hockey these days. Players get so caught up in so many different things and worrying about so many different things that they lose focus of what really matters. 

Ice time is the first example that immediately comes to mind for this. 

The reality is that if you're playing, and you're competitive, that you probably want more ice time. Even the guys that are on the top line and play a ton have thoughts about how they think they should get an additional shift or two. Trust me, I've been there as a player too... 

With that being said, if we use the diagram and ask ourselves the questions above that should help us come to an answer:

Does it matter? Yes

Do we have control over it? No

So that should lead us to the conclusion that you need to stop wasting so much energy thinking about how you're being short shifted and focus on the things that you can control. 

Now, I know that there are probably people that disagree with that last paragraph and would say that as a player you do control your ice time. 

In a sense you're right, in that most decisions about ice time are earned based on merit. In other words, if you play really well, have a good attitude, are a good teammate, are effective, and are producing for your team you're probably going to play more. 

I would agree with that. However, you still don't have complete control over your shifts and your ice time. That's your coaches job. 

You may be lighting it up and having a great game, but your coach might like a specific match up later in the game and decide to use someone else for a particular situation. Ultimately, it's your coaches responsibility to do what they feel is best for your team. 

Like I said earlier, this is just an example that I see all the time as a coach. 

In my experience, the best players are the ones that are able to identify the things that really matter and focus all their energy into that. 

Use the simple process outlined in the picture above and watch yourself become a more consistent player. 

3 Ways To Prove You're A Good Teammate


Being a great teammate is an absolutely vital part of being a hockey player.

For all the coaches out there, I'm sure you've all stressed the importance of being a great teammate to your players. 

But, how many of us can honestly say that we have an entire team of great teammates?

Sadly, probably not many of us. 

With that being said, it is possible, and when it happens the results are amazing. In fact, I'm a big believer that having great teammates is often the deciding factor for the best teams. In other words, the teams that win championships are usually the teams that are filled with the best teammates. And, I'd even go as far to say that I believe this to be true even up through the highest levels of hockey. 

For me as a coach, there are three things that I look for in a player that shows what kind of teammate they are. 

I say shows because have you ever talked with a player who admitted they were a bad teammate? I've been around the game a long time as a player and coach and I'm yet to come across one... If you ask any player if they're a good teammate, they're all going to say that they are. So for me, the proof is in their actions. 

1. Do They Block Shots?

Maybe not what most of you were expecting for the first thing that I look for as a coach, but it's true. Blocking shots is simply hockey courage. It's willing to sacrifice your body for the rest of the group. It's potentially putting yourself, and your body, at risk for the betterment of the other 19 guys on the team. To me, it's the ultimate way to show your teammates how much you care. 

Besides scoring a goal, what do teams get most excited for on the bench during the game? A huge shot block. From a players perspective, it's a way to prove to your teammates that you're laying it all on the line. You'd be hard pressed to find a guy who's constantly sacrificing his body, day in and day out, that isn't highly respected by this teammates. 

On the flip side, think of how you feel when a teammate flamingos a shot, or is intentionally just a little too slow to try and get out to block that shot from the point... As a player, we all start to question where the commitment to the team really is. 

I can guarantee you this, the pain you feel from blocking a shot will never be as bad as the feeling of skating back to the bench after you had a chance to block a shot and didn't and the other team scored. 

Part of being a great teammate is putting the team first, and one of the best ways to show that is to 'eat' a few pucks from time to time. 

2. How Do You Celebrate On The Bench When A Teammate Scores?

As a coach, it's always one of the most interesting things to observe on the bench. How do guys on the bench react when your team scores?

Some of you might be surprised by this point, but if you've been around the game for a long time, and coached before, you know what I'm talking about. 

It almost seems like a crazy notion because we all naturally think that if our team scores we all should be excited and celebrate. If only that was true...

Great teammates celebrate every goal for there team. And you can tell it's a genuine excitement for the team. Because let's be honest, if you're a great teammate then it doesn't matter who scores, as long as it's someone on your team. 

Guys who aren't good teammates don't get excited for other guys when they're on the bench. They may give a subtle cheer, but usually their body language tells the real story. It's usually either a why wasn't that me or a if coach gave me that ice time I could score too... or it's something along the lines of man that was such a lucky play. 

The reality is, if you're a great teammate you don't care if it's a dangle, a rebound garbage goal, or luck. You're just excited that your team found a way to get one home. 

Once again, this is another one of those instances where body language tells a huge story. It's not only about saying the right things, but it's more about showing the right things. 

3. How Do You Respond When A Teammate Makes A Mistake On The Ice?

What's your first response when you see your teammate turn the puck over?

Are you the teammate that instantly is saying "COME ON..."or "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Or, are you that teammate who is looking around at the rest of the guys saying "we're alright" or "we'll get it back"; or at the next whistle skating over to that teammate and giving him a tap on the shin pads and saying "we're good, shake it off"?

When you read it that way, it's pretty easy to decipher who's a good teammate and who isn't. 

And now I'm sure that someone is going to comment or bring up the fact that some players only react the first way because they are competitive and care so much. 

To me, that answer (or shall I say excuse) is crap. Just because you are competitive and like to win doesn't give you the right to be a bad teammate. In fact, if that's how you react you're only hurting your team, not helping. 

If you're a good teammate, you realize that no one is perfect and mistakes happen. Hockey is a game built on mistakes. The team that can stick together through those mistakes, and pick each other up, is usually the team that will end up winning. 

What do you think of that list? Do you agree, or disagree?

These are just three different, or unusual, things that I look at as a coach that helps me understand who's a good teammate and who isn't. 

The other cool part to all three of these things (and that follows a trend we've been talking about in this blog) is that they take no talent to do.

I'll admit that blocking shots is definitely an art form, but the reality is that the biggest component to being great at blocking shots is simply having the hockey courage to throw your body in front of pucks and do whatever it takes for the team. 

But the truth is that all three of these points are a choice. They're a choice for each player to make. And the thing that I like most is that they are instantaneous. They aren't just asking someone a question and giving them the opportunity to make sure they say the 'right thing'. But rather, they are a gut reaction. They show the true colors and character of the individual. 

So after reading this, are you a great teammate?

The Truth About Tryouts


What can I say about tryouts other than they suck.

They suck for players, they suck for coaches...really they suck for anyone who has a vested interest in the team or player.

While on one hand it’s exciting because it’s the fresh start of a season, the actual tryout portion has always sucked.

As a player, it’s stressful.

There’s always that thought in the back of your mind of wondering what coaches are thinking and also trying to wonder where you fit in, if at all, with a team.

While I used to think tryouts were stressful as a player, they are even more stressful as a coach.

Regardless of what you think, or what some people say, it’s never easy to cut kids.

There’s also so much more that goes into tryouts besides judging someone’s ability or talent. For me, it’s always a constant battle to find the right players to fill the roles needed to have a successful team.

There really is no better way to say it then to quote Herb Brooks...”it’s not about picking the best players, it’s about picking the right ones.”

In other words, you don’t build a good hockey team with 20 guys that can score goals. You need all facets of the game covered. You obviously need skilled players, but you also need guys to play defense, kill penalties, be physical...and the list goes on.

There also needs to be the team dynamic.

Successful teams have a bond that is often hard to explain. It’s not that they always get along with each other, but I think the difference is that there’s a mutual respect amongst the players and a commitment to the same end goal. And each player is truly genuine in these feelings.

We all know that it’s one thing to say it but it’s another thing to say it, believe it, and actually do it.

With all that being said, I’ve always tried to keep the same perspective. Put the needs of the team ahead of the individual and don’t stress about trying to please everyone.

Trying to please everyone is a recipe for disaster. No matter what happens, someone’s always unhappy.

So for players, my advice for tryouts is to go in with the attitude of controlling what you can control. These include things like your work ethic, attention to details, and playing with a little sense of desperation in your game. Also, remember everything happens for a reason. So whether you make a team or not, learn something from and become a better person through it.

For coaches, go into tryouts with an open mind and a plan of what you need to build a successful team for the long haul. Taking extra top end talent might look good in the short term but is that really the best thing for your team to be peaking and playing it’s best at the playoffs?

And at the end of the day, always trust your gut. It’s crazy to think, but nearly every time I have trusted my gut, I feel like I have made the right decision. The ones that have come back to bite me are the times I went against what my gut was telling me.

The Importance Of Understanding Your Role In Hockey


As players get older and start playing on more competitive teams, things start to change. 

Ice time is no longer equal. 

Winning starts to be emphasized more. 

Different roles have to be filled by players in order to build a successful, and cohesive, team. 

Some people disagree with this thinking, some say they agree as long as there kid is still on the first line, and then there is the small minority who fully agrees with this reality. 

Personally, as long as it is age appropriate, I am 100% on board with this and think that being a part of a team that emphasizes those three ideas teaches a lot of valuable life lessons. 

The reality is that in the real world, life is not always fair. Someone is probably going to get a promotion or make more money than you at some point even though you think you deserve it more. 

I think that's one of the best lessons I ever learned throughout all my time in hockey. The importance of understanding your role and accepting it in order to make the group better. 

It's honestly a humbling and often difficult experience at first. 

Let's face it, we live in an often selfish, me-first, type of world these days. Sports and hockey are no different. 

Nearly everyone thinks that they should be on the first line, on the powerplay, and on the ice protecting the one goal lead late in the third. 

But the reality is, we all know that just isn't true. 

And here's the crazy part, THAT'S OK!!

We have this image in our head as hockey players that if we aren't the first line center then we aren't as good or important to our teams success. 

I'm here to tell you that is completely false. In fact, I would argue that you would have a hard time finding a really great hockey team at any level that didn't have a lot of depth, and role players, to go along with that top end talent. 

I look at some of the most successful teams I've ever coached. Those teams were recognized by outsiders because of a few of our top end offensive players, but when I look back at those teams I think about a couple of the stay at home defensemen who were so strong in our own zone and in front of our net. And I think about a few of the role players who's specialty became killing penalties and blocking shots. 

I'll be the first to admit, not the most glamorous jobs, but none the less absolutely vital to the success of our team. 

The reality is that you can't have four first line centers. You need to have that third line center who can shut down an opposing top offensive line and maybe occasionally chip in offensively. Just like you need that fourth line to be strong in the defensive zone and give you a few great shifts when the team needs it. 

I'm not saying that anyone should ever settle with their role, especially when still playing minor hockey. But, I am saying that you should embrace your role for whatever it is and make the most of it. You have to be able to look at it as doing your job and holding up your end of the bargain. 

For me, I have always related it to a wheel. Each player on the team is a different spoke on the wheel. When all 20 guys are doing their job, the wheel is strong and sturdy and rolls along smooth. When you have a few guys that aren't buying in, the wheel can still move and function, but it's not nearly as efficient. And when that road starts to get bumpy and tough, that's when that wheel will fail you. 

So whether you play every other shift or one shift a period, find a way to contribute. If you aren't getting a ton of ice time, be a great teammate. Encourage your teammates, pump them up, show them that you genuinely want them to succeed. I'm telling you that if you can learn to think this way you'll make it a hundred times further than if you don't. 

Remember that it takes all types to build a successful team. Make sure you're one of the spokes that's helping carry the weight. 

What Does It Mean To 'Buy In?'


I feel like nearly every coach and every team, regardless of sport, talks about the importance of buying in. 

So what does it mean to buy in?

To put it simply, it means to fully engage yourself as a player to the team concepts, team goals, and, most importantly, to your teammates. 

While to most this seems like a fairly common sense ideal, and not something that is new or revolutionary to sports, there are plenty of people that will say they don't get it (trust me I dealt with a handful of parents and players that claimed just that this past year). 

Another way to look at it is this: if you don't get buy in, you won't be successful as a team. 

I would be willing to argue with anyone about that last statement.

I've been around the game for almost 30 years. In that time, I've been a part of some really good teams and some teams that really struggled. And, if I'm being honest, if you really dig down to the core of every one of those teams, the buy in is the difference. 

A team of 20 that are all focused on the same goals and are able to build a trust and respect with each other is a pretty impressive and powerful thing. Mix that in with some talent and you have a nearly unstoppable team. 

I've been lucky as a coach to win two state championships in the past few years. 

Now that a few years have passed, it's really amazing to look back on those teams and see what really sticks out about those groups. It's almost funny, because to an outsider, I would almost guarantee that they would say that they remember the talent of the players. 

But for me, I remember the leadership and the buy in from the entire team. The talent is completely secondary. And that's the honest truth (I'm not just saying that to fit this blog post...)

It's little things like remembering seniors who accepted being role players with their minutes but leaders in the locker room and off the ice. 

To me those guys were the difference makers on the team. Those were the guys where 'buying in' could be the most challenging. It would have been really easy for guys to have bad attitudes or cause problems because they were seniors and thought they should have been playing more. But they didn't. Looking back at it now, I'm amazed at their maturity and their ability to have perspective on things and truly embrace their part. 

It's funny because I still talk with a lot of those guys and not one of them ever brings up the amount of points or the ice time they got. The things they do talk about every year were the bus trips, the close games in front of a sold out arena, the funny hockey stories about things that happened over the course of that season... 

The real cool part about those teams is that even the guys that played a lot and got a lot of recognition don't reminisce about their individual success. Now that a few years have past, they remember the fun times with their teammates at the rink and at school more than an individual performance in a game. 

Now the crazy thing about buying in, is that it really takes a whole team. The old saying 'it only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch' is completely true. I've seen it and I've, unfortunately, been a part of it. 

I decided to write about this topic for a couple reasons. 

First, it's another one of those questions that everyone should be asking themselves. Coaches, parents, and players a like.

Coaches have to lead and coaches have to set the ultimate example of buying in. It starts from the top and if you aren't committed and showing up everyday focused and ready to work, then your teams will follow suit. 

Parents are a support system to their athletes. Whether you realize it or not, the attitude that you have towards the coach, team, and other players is contagious to your son or daughter. If you aren't supporting and buying into the team, your son or daughter isn't going to either. 

Players are presented everyday with new and different opportunities to learn and grow as athletes and people. If you're playing hockey then you need to remember that you signed up for the ultimate team game. There will be obstacles along the way, both personal and team wise, but your attitude and 'buy in' will make the difference. Are you going to get on the boat and paddle with the team, or try to battle the waves and swim yourself? I think we all know which one will ultimately succeed... 

The second point is that this is another one of those areas that we can completely control. I've talked a lot about how we all need to focus on the things that we can control and stop wasting time and energy on the things we can't. 

You are 100% in control of your 'buy in'. 

If you remember the way that I described 'buying in' at the top, you'll notice that every one of those things is something that you can control. 

You can control whether you buy in to the team concepts, systems, and rules. 

You can control whether you buy in to the goals set forth by the team. 

And you can definitely control whether you are a great teammate. 

If you notice a trend in the things I talk about, the real important things in hockey and life, are all things that we can control. 

Can you be a good teammate? Can you be coachable? Can you put the team first? Can you show up everyday and work as hard as you can? 

If you can answer YES to those simple questions, then you understand the power of 'buying in'. And if you can't, then hockey isn't going to be a good fit. 

Enjoy the journey and 'buy in' because I guarantee you'll enjoy the ride a hell of a lot more.