Hockey Athlete Etiquette Part 1 – The Look

The way the young athlete acts is different then when we were kids I know…

Still, proper etiquette & manners need to be taught. Read further to understand why. Remember the old phase “Don't judge a book by its cover?”

What a crock of bull. We all do it, heck society as a whole does it too. Sure we know its not politically correct but that doesn’t matter. Watch anyone walk into a store, restaurant, whatever. If they look like a slob, dress like a bum, etc.; well that is how they will be perceived.

Notice how words like ‘slob’ & ‘bum’ conjure up a negative mental image? Today’s young athlete has so much opportunity to be seen & heard thanks to the many social media avenues and the increased number of combines, tournaments and tryouts. If they are to be seen and truly noticed it is essential that they carry themselves with air air of professionalism (note: not arrogance) that makes the perspective team staff eyeball a player even before they step on to the ice.

I am saying that the look, body language & mannerisms of a player are equally important to the high caliber players that teams are looking for. If your player/athlete wants to be picked over another of equal playing ability then take note of a few well mannered suggestions:

1. Pull up your damn pants. Nothing says crass like a player showing off his/her underwear while walking into an arena. If you cannot show up in a suit and tie (which will be the norm for games & tournaments for 99% of teams) than you had better at the very least be in a clean track suit. The wannabe ‘gangster’ style might work with your friends in school but in truth you just look silly.

2. Take off the backwards hat. When you walk up to the registration table for a tryout or combine, chances are that one of the coaches is sitting there or nearby watching. Look the part of a professional athlete and show some respect; one does not wear a hat indoors. Understandably if it is cold outside and you have a winter toque on; remove it when you walk in so the coaches can also put a face to the name before they step on the ice.

3. Turn off the phone; no really turn it off! When you come in for an event you need to focus on what you are doing. Your friends will likely all know what you are doing that day and understand the importance of it; sure send updates & text when you are on lunch break but when you step back into the arena (and especially the locker room), lose the phone. You want to be available at all times to be approached by a coach or scout; looking like you are too busy to concentrate on the task at hand makes you look like a flake with a hint of talent but no drive. (Yes it is okay to take pictures with other players that you meet, but put the phone away once finished.)

4. Get dressed quickly in the locker room, stay seated and mingle quietly. No one likes the really loud guy and do not speak when someone else is speaking.

5. If you are ready and the coaches are in the room and someone arrives late, stand and move so that person can get dressed. Look the part of a team player even if it inconveniences you.

6. Arrive early…. Two hours is good.

7. Never arrive late. See above. If by act of traffic or extreme circumstance you are late without prior warning then when you are ready to come on the ice do the following.

• Make sure you do not step on mid drill to interrupt someone else – you will look foolish and tick off the other player(s).

• Skate immediately over to the head coach and first apologize for being late (do not explain further unless asked) & ask for his/her permission to fall into a group for the remaining session.

8. Help pick up pucks; you will often get a chance for a quick chat with the coach before getting off. This is an excellent time to personally thank the coach for the session and let him/her know you really enjoyed it. Take your glove off and offer a firm handshake with eye contact…. be assertive.

9. Remember to avoid leaning up against the boards or standing while the coach is talking. Take a knee. These small mannerisms are noticed and will stick in the mind of the staff on hand.

10. Chew your food with your mouth closed! I can’t imagine why this comes up but it still does with young teenagers. You look like a goat when you eat, smarten up! What do you think the coaches will be talking about? “Hey great practice, did you see number such and such? He has some serious speed for sure!” “Bob; did you see that kid with the long blond hair at lunch? He was spitting food everywhere, I thought I was back on the farm! Gross!”….. Nice way to stick in someone’s head.

This all matters. How you dress & act are absolutely just as important as how you do during the skills and scrimmage when trying out for a team. All things being equal the one who looks more professional and is humble in attitude will 9 times out of 10 be picked over the kid whose bag is tore open, dressed in pajama pants and who races in with 5 minutes to spare while the coach is giving a pre-ice speech.



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