It can be a toxic topic. And it seems as though it is a constant cause for consternation. As in, coaches of certain AAA rep hockey clubs who not only pick their own son for the team, but kids of their friends as well.
In a perfect world, the best players who try out for one of the AAA rep hockey teams would make the team, give or take a slight margin of error.
But most of us know — by admission or not — that some players make some AAA rep teams because their dad is the coach or assistant coach or their dad or mom is a friend of the coach or assistant coach.
This goes on with players as young as nine years old. Dad is a coach? You are on the team. Dad’s friend is of one the coaches? You are on the team.
Even in instances where, at an older age level, parents aren’t allowed to coach their kids, there is a way around the process. Ever heard of backroom deals involving dads and their friends? Don’t kid yourself. Some may already be in play a season ahead.
So, how to get away from AAA rep teams being stocked with kids of the coach and players of dads who are friends of the coach?
Well, I doubt that anyone would ever go for this. But here goes.
The most fair way to pick a rep hockey team would be to invite all from a given age group to try out for a given team. And at the tryouts, a qualified, neutral coach is selected to pick the team. The catch is that going into the tryouts, the coach does not know the name of a single player. At the end of the tryouts, he picks the best nine forwards, six defensemen, and two goalies — without knowing their names.
I know, I know. There are are some who will scoff and shake their heads at what I just said. But in the spirit of fair play and fair evaluation, why not go with such a method, or at least a variation of it?
Why not? Because it is too radical a thought. And because when it comes to AAA rep hockey, there are always those with an agenda and a motive who are allowed to get away with having the kids of those in their inner circle a part of a team, whether they deserve it or not.
Check out the rosters of some of the AAA rep teams. Do your homework and see how many kids of dad of kids of dad’s friends are on the team. You might be surprised.
Sooner or later, a kid is going to have to make a team on his own, without the influence of dad or dad’s friend. So, the favouritism and nepotism can’t go on forever.
But in the meantime, what about the kids who didn’t make a certain AAA rep team because dad or mom wasn’t friends with the coach or the coach’s wife?
Like it or not, folks, all is far from fair when it comes to who makes a AAA rep hockey team and who doesn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not against parents coaching their kids or the kids of their friends. As long as they truly deserve to be on the AAA rep team in question.
What is fair should be fair for all concerned.