If only we could all see the game through the wide, innocent eyes of the little five-and-six-year old hockey players.
Look at them and how they play the game for the pure enjoyment of it.
Oh, if only it stayed that way.
View the game through the innocence of youth and keep it that way.
Endless passion not to be meddled with by the adults with self-serving agendas.
Yesterday’s game should always be forgotten, win or lose.
Or, if it has to be re-played in the minds of the players and the coaches, it should be kept positive.
Unless there is a major, one-of-a-lifetime championship at stake, player development should always be first and foremost.
Just imagine if the game stayed the way it is in the minds of the little ones.
A youthful treasure that never had to give in to adult politics.
Never having to deal with the pressure to make a select team as an eight-or-nine-year old.
Excited to play.
Tired after a spirited match but happy just to be on the ice playing Canada’s game.
“X factor” should never be about anything more than what a young player aspires to be.
Only things that should ever matter are the good intentions of those who play it, coach it, and watch it.
Best that we can hope for is that even when the games become serious, the love for the sport remains within.
Anything else, beyond pure passion and fun, is a mere bonus.
Being all that they can be, some of the young ones will advance through the ranks and get an education, if not a salary from the game.
Young at heart and in spirit should never be taken away from those who play the game, regardless of age or level.