Hockey Coach’s Assessment: “The Kids Get It”

Editor’s Note:  Sports Feel Good Stories reader Darren Ferris submitted “The Kids Get It” story below which has been entered into the TeamSnap/ “Sports Feel Good Story of the Year” Contest.

Kids understand the game at a different level

I coach my daughter’s Bantam girls ice hockey team. We are the low house level – most girls haven’t played more than 3 years – and a few are brand new to hockey. In terms of our record, it was a dismal season, only 2 wins, but we kept the girls spirits up and still had fun. They perseviered and worked hard at practice and even trained on their own. We ended up having a very successful playoff run and made the final game. We lost that game, but getting there was nothing short of a memorable journey for coaches, players and parents

Hockey feel good storyFast forward to the end of the season. We are playing in a season-ending tournament, and we’re playing our final game of the tourney and the season. We have one player in particular who started playing hockey at the
ripe age of 14, brand new. At the beginning of the season, she could barely stand on her skates, something like Bambi when she tries to walk on the frozen lake. Other hockey skills like passing, shooting and skating were difficult for her as well. And she fell a lot.

Her teammates were very supportive and encouraging from the get-go. They were always positive and did their best to help her with skills and position. But as the season progressed, she made very steady improvements. By the playoffs and this tourney, she was an effective forechecker who wasn’t afraid to bang and crash.  She helped cause a lot of turnovers in our favor.

The Kids Get It
Post-game photo of both teams

During this particular game, the other coaches and I noticed that as the game went on, the girls began to rally around her, and desperately wanted her to score that first goal. Every shot on net, every rush she took, and every check she made had the bench erupting with shouts of encouragement for her. The players even went so far as to get us to adjust the lines to put her in better scoring position.

Despite getting a couple shots and working her tail off she wasn’t able to get that elusive first goal. However, her heart and determination certainly didn’t go unnoticed. The coach of the other team picked her as Game MVP. To say her teammates and the spectators went berserk would be an understatement. It was an event in my coaching career that I will truly cherish and share as an example of an absolute selfless team effort, camaraderie and inspiration. I can only hope that my future teams will come together and support and play for each other like these kids.

–Darren Ferris

Have an inspirational sports story of your own?

TeamSnap and have launched a contest to find the “Sports Feel Good Story of the Year” to recognize inspiring athletes, coaches and fans from around the world. Submissions are being accepted thru October, and winners will be chosen in December.  See contest details here.