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I didn’t really know where to put this, so I just threw it in lifestyle. This last COVID year has really crushed me more than I thought. I got cut from a team I thought I had a spot on, and got thrown into the high school hockey world. I care about hockey more than anything else in the world and want to be the best soooo unbelievably bad, but for some reason at the same time I feel like my love for the game is diminishing. I really don’t want it to. I played central states last year (low level aaa) and struggled, but was very excited to play at that level again this year. I was confident that I would improve and have a great year. I never got that chance. My coach for my high school team is a total dick. He says not to take things personally and none of the games mattered last year, but he yelled at me and took his anger out on me all the time and it ruined me. Up until this past year I had never ever considered quitting hockey as an option. I was finding some way, any way, to make the NHL. And I can tell that’s still buried deep inside me. But this past year I have considered quitting more times than I can count. I am lost and don’t know what to do, so for now, I think I’m taking a 1 to 2 week break. But this brings me to my question, especially from the older more experienced goalies. You don’t have to play pro to be able to answer my question so if you have a minute, please give a quick answer. How did you rekindle your love and fire for the game of hockey and the great position of goaltending if you ever started to lose it? Thanks for your time guys.

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I think the first thing you need to ponder on is what do you want to get out of hockey? Are you still bent on trying to make the show? Do you just want to play competitive hockey for the sport of it? Do you want to play hockey just for the fun?

Once you have a better understanding of what you want out of the sport, the easier it will be to decide where you want to go from here.

 

You're around 15/16 right? That was the period of time I dropped out of hockey myself. I had been playing as a Dman since I was a tyke and I honestly was not good lol. Middle of the pack D man on my house league team. I dropped out as I was no longer enjoying the sport. I was more interested in chasing skirts, partying, and just enjoying the latter part of my teenage years.

It wasn't until I was 23 that I regained interest in the sport and as a goalie. I'm having more fun now than I ever did as a kid (helps that I'm far better as a goalie than a player).

At first, I enjoyed the competitiveness again and the social aspect was cool too. As the years have passed, my priorities for the sport have shifted towards the social part first and the sport second.

Long story short, life is generally pretty up and down and you'll change your priorities on a constant basis as you age. What's important to you now will seem so inconsequential in 5 years, and the inverse is true too. Take a small break, reassess what you want out of the sport and go from there. Don't be too hard on yourself for losing some love of the game in the short term. It happens to all of us. 

Good luck.

 

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So one thing I’d suggest right out of the gate here is to not make big, irreversible life decisions in the midst of a pandemic that makes all of us feel shitty. It might also be helpful to remember that about others - including coaches who may have lost tempers. Not excusing- partly because I don’t know the whole story; just asking you to consider that others are maybe coming from a difficult place too.

That said, if you truly love hockey, you’ll find a way to feed that love. If I’m being honest, I spent a good 20-30 years hating kids like you who got a chance to play . My parents couldn’t afford it - not even close. I wanted to play so bad that I started at 39, and fell on my ass several times in my first lesson with a kid who was “coaching” me, got smoked for >20 goals in a 50 minute pick up game, and STILL came off the ice with a goofy grin. I LOVED it. I still do - and while better, I still suck- lol!
Because of all that, a younger - though still adult - version of me would have dismissed this as the trivial moaning of a spoiled brat. But as a 42 year old, with kids of my own, I can see there is a genuine struggle here that in relative terms is real, and troubling to you. I think what Coop said is on the money: figure out what you want from hockey. The rest will fall into place once you do that.

And if I started as a shitty 39 year old, and now have to refuse offers to play/fill in, a REAL goalie like you will be able to rejoin effortlessly if you ever decided to take a break.

Good luck!

Edited by Lucky Pucker
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I'm sorry you're struggling.  We all go through it and it is normal to have these fluctuations in emotions related to playing goalie and related to life in general---especially after the past year.  Playing goalie has a lot of feels involved with it and with someone as dedicated and passionate as yourself, it's probably even more intense than it is for most goalies.

One thing you touched on is taking a break.  There is tremendous value in stepping away for breaks from time to time, even if for no other reason than just missing the game.  When you step away, focus on other things in life, and then miss playing, miss your gear, miss being at the rink with your team, that can be a powerful motivator and ignition for your love of hockey. It takes discipline and a bit of wisdom to know that sometimes the best thing you can do for something you care about so much is take a break, create some space, refocus on other things. 

When the pandemic first started and hockey got shut down for us I was actually pretty depressed and quite angry.  I was playing 3 nights a week at the time and hockey was my primary social time and physical activity away from home.  Then boom, cold turkey, it was over with no return in sight. Naturally, life still moved along and I began to focus on my house, my dogs, my partner, DIY projects, getting more tattoos, and anything other than hockey.  I stopped logging in on here even for a few months because my motivation and interest in hockey took a back seat for a while while life in other areas moved forward.  I developed other parts of myself more actively with my house/partner/dogs/tattoos/art, etc.  Through all that I became happy and secure and more well-rounded and it made me realize that yes, being a hockey player and a goalie are primary, essential parts of who I am and I love it and need it in my life.  Nowadays, things are revving up again and I feel like a 10 year old kid.  I have new gear on the way, a new team, my very own NHL team starting soon, I live 6 minutes away from their practice facility with 3 rinks I'll be playing in.

The point is: time away was healthy for me and my relationship to hockey.  I'm more excited about hockey right now than I have been is many years.

I encourage you to focus on and develop other, new, different parts of yourself and your life.  Through that, you'll be a more well-rounded, well-developed, happier person--generally. That will make you a better, happier, more positive, more disciplined hockey goalie.  Guaranteed, brother.

Hang in there and good luck. We support you on here.

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I'm not going to go into great detail like the rest but the only thing I'd say is keep positive and hold your chin up high. I'm also sorry for the crappy situation with a coach etc.  I started playing on ice very late because I'm originally from Israel but have played other major sports competitively. I think it also comes down to being realistic and knowing that not everyone makes the big show, something we all come to truth with. There is so much money you can spend on coaches etc., in the end, it doesn't always pan out. 

I started on ice in my late 20s, I play for fun now all year, gave up on playing other sports. It's for the love of the game. 

Edited by mr_shifty1982
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I experienced something similar when I was your age. A really angry, emotionally abusive coach that made me nervous and anxious when I thought about going to the rink. For me, the solution was pretty easy: I knew I wasn't making the show, so I left my house league and played in the city rec league.

Still competitive, but no expectations of anything more. No practices, just games. All in all, way less stressful.

I never stopped loving hockey, but in that moment I wasn't able to detangle the bad feelings that my coach brought up from the game itself. I needed time and distance from a bad environment to realize that, yes, I do in fact love hockey and will continue to play it until the day I die.

If your high school coach is making you feel like you want to quit hockey, you're not going to experience any long term success in that kind of hostile environment. Hockey in general, but especially goaltending, is so dependent on how good you feel. So, whether it's finding another competitive team to play on, or taking a step back from chasing your dream and playing for your own personal enjoyment, you should try to get away from that coach.

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1 hour ago, CJ Boiss said:

I experienced something similar when I was your age. A really angry, emotionally abusive coach that made me nervous and anxious when I thought about going to the rink. For me, the solution was pretty easy: I knew I wasn't making the show, so I left my house league and played in the city rec league.

Still competitive, but no expectations of anything more. No practices, just games. All in all, way less stressful.

I never stopped loving hockey, but in that moment I wasn't able to detangle the bad feelings that my coach brought up from the game itself. I needed time and distance from a bad environment to realize that, yes, I do in fact love hockey and will continue to play it until the day I die.

If your high school coach is making you feel like you want to quit hockey, you're not going to experience any long term success in that kind of hostile environment. Hockey in general, but especially goaltending, is so dependent on how good you feel. So, whether it's finding another competitive team to play on, or taking a step back from chasing your dream and playing for your own personal enjoyment, you should try to get away from that coach.

I’ve dealt with coaches like this since I started playing at 15. None of them knew how to deal with goalies and our emotions whatsoever. 

Covid really messed up a lot for me and obviously for a lot of others hockey wise. Have to deal with a shortened season in my last year but even with that a coach found value in me and now i’m signed with a d2 team. d1 is the goal but i think it’s pretty crazy i got that far. 

for me my only big break was inevitable when everything got shut down. for me i can’t afford to take another break like that, i’m making up for so much lost time at this point. 

however some time off will give you time to reflect on how you really feel about the sport. in reality there’s so much you have to do to make it to that next level, and that’s a lot of pressure. you gotta decide if you want to do that or not. 

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I think @coopaloop1234's initial question is the most important – what do you want from hockey? And… is that still a possibility?

Covid has certainly thrown a wrench into any kind of continuity, so don’t take that too hard. You are doing the right thing taking a break - I wouldn’t limit it to 2 weeks. See how you feel then and if not 100%, hold off. Get your head straight and stay out ‘til you can answer the questions about what you want out of this.

I am also very sorry to hear about yelling coaches. When I was young (and the steam engine was high-tech) this happened a lot (present company included), but to me there is no excuse for this today. Everyone deserves to be afforded respect until they go out of their way to lose that right. Think about the best teacher you have had so far and I bet respect would be one of the words you would use to describe them.

Knowing what I know now, I would approach you coach and let him know that it’s not acceptable or excusable to preface his distemper by saying “it’s not personal” and that you deserve the respect everyone else does. If he wishes to talk about things in a calm and rational manner and work with you to get to your common goals, great. If not, it’s not a big loss for you to opt out of his system.

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4 hours ago, A.YOUNGoalie13 said:

I didn’t really know where to put this, so I just threw it in lifestyle. This last COVID year has really crushed me more than I thought. I got cut from a team I thought I had a spot on, and got thrown into the high school hockey world. I care about hockey more than anything else in the world and want to be the best soooo unbelievably bad, but for some reason at the same time I feel like my love for the game is diminishing. I really don’t want it to. I played central states last year (low level aaa) and struggled, but was very excited to play at that level again this year. I was confident that I would improve and have a great year. I never got that chance. My coach for my high school team is a total dick. He says not to take things personally and none of the games mattered last year, but he yelled at me and took his anger out on me all the time and it ruined me. Up until this past year I had never ever considered quitting hockey as an option. I was finding some way, any way, to make the NHL. And I can tell that’s still buried deep inside me. But this past year I have considered quitting more times than I can count. I am lost and don’t know what to do, so for now, I think I’m taking a 1 to 2 week break. But this brings me to my question, especially from the older more experienced goalies. You don’t have to play pro to be able to answer my question so if you have a minute, please give a quick answer. How did you rekindle your love and fire for the game of hockey and the great position of goaltending if you ever started to lose it? Thanks for your time guys.

At age 20, I was released from my junior team two weeks before nationals.

I was with the team 3 years.  My first year I won the starter job as an underage 17 year old...we won a lot of games but lost in the final.  My second year we won states and lost in the semis at nationals.  In my third year, a lot changed - I had a new goalie partner and half the roster aged out, so I had a new team and lost some of my friends.  I struggled throughout the season and it ended up with me getting cut when I got to the rink for practice one morning.

Looking back, I realized I didn't work as hard as I should have.  I took my first year for granted, and felt like playing time was somehow "owed" to me because of that fantastic first year.  Our coach was pretty hands off with goalies, but he did a lot to try to get me going.  He brought in a goalie coach, had me skate extra with the 18u team, brought in off-ice trainers for us, etc.  I just didn't want or appreciate the work...I went through the motions and I'm betting he could see it.  It didn't help that I was staying out late the night before practice and had some questionable off ice agendas (lol)

16 years later (!!) with some school and work and overall life experience behind me, I've come to realize a few things, and there are some real life skills to be learned here:

  • You're not always going to get along with everyone you work with (or work for) on a personal level.
    HOWEVER, this does not mean you cannot have a good working relationship. 
    Looking back with some past managers I have worked for...I would never hang out with them, but we had clear communication, they held me accountable, and bottom line we worked well together. 
    I recommend you sit down with your coach and lay everything out.  Find out his goals and expectations for you.  Talk what you'd like to achieve, both in your own development and career.  Talk about things you are working on off-ice to help what you do on-ice.
  • You need to earn your stripes every day. 
    Put in the work and bring the right attitude.  A few years ago, you'd see things like "trust the process" or "embrace the grind."  As cheesy as it sounds, if you love what you are doing day-in-day-out, are out there working on the right things, and are having fun doing it, the results will come.  Have your own goals and plans for your training and development, but have fun when you're working out too.
  • Find a support group. 
    Do you have a goalie coach?  If so, reach out and let him or her know how you feel.  If not, take this two week period to work with one.  I've worked with a few goalie coaches through my years and leaned on just as much for the on-ice stuff as I did for the off-ice.  Do you have a mentor?  Sometimes it is nice to vent to someone verbally than over a keyboard.
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I'm not going to sugar coat it for you. If that makes me seem like an asshole, so be it.

If you REALLY have plans to play pro hockey, you have to have a large back to handle all the pressure and negative and politics and bullshit that comes with the position. You kind of have to have a "I don't give a f$$$" attitude, not the kind that says you don't care about anything but the kind that says "bring it m$$$$$f$$$$!". See what I mean? Keeks said it well..."you gotta have the biggest balls to make it to the show". An overwhelming confidence that will surmount any challenge or difficulty or obstacle. Goaltending is the only sports position that faces so much pressure and scrutiny by almost everyone...INCLUDING yourself ;)

I had dreams (and still do at my age, in coaching) of playing pro since my first time discovering hockey as a youth. I did it all myself and made my own contacts and approached the LHJMQ and OHL myself to get a shot and when met with opposition, instead of doing EVERYTHING in my power to get in somewhere and make my way up, I let it affect me and got upset and left the game for a couple years, so bye bye dreams. I was 18. I regret it to this day.

I'm not telling you what you should or shouldn't do but bottom line, the choice is yours. Think it through well and once you make your decision, go all in, whether you go the pro root or just enjoy your minor hockey career till it ends and then enjoy the crazy fun world of beer league.    

Chin up, shoulders back, skate like you own the position B|

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2 hours ago, Chenner29 said:

At age 20, I was released from my junior team two weeks before nationals.

I was with the team 3 years.  My first year I won the starter job as an underage 17 year old...we won a lot of games but lost in the final.  My second year we won states and lost in the semis at nationals.  In my third year, a lot changed - I had a new goalie partner and half the roster aged out, so I had a new team and lost some of my friends.  I struggled throughout the season and it ended up with me getting cut when I got to the rink for practice one morning.

Looking back, I realized I didn't work as hard as I should have.  I took my first year for granted, and felt like playing time was somehow "owed" to me because of that fantastic first year.  Our coach was pretty hands off with goalies, but he did a lot to try to get me going.  He brought in a goalie coach, had me skate extra with the 18u team, brought in off-ice trainers for us, etc.  I just didn't want or appreciate the work...I went through the motions and I'm betting he could see it.  It didn't help that I was staying out late the night before practice and had some questionable off ice agendas (lol)

16 years later (!!) with some school and work and overall life experience behind me, I've come to realize a few things, and there are some real life skills to be learned here:

  • You're not always going to get along with everyone you work with (or work for) on a personal level.
    HOWEVER, this does not mean you cannot have a good working relationship. 
    Looking back with some past managers I have worked for...I would never hang out with them, but we had clear communication, they held me accountable, and bottom line we worked well together. 
    I recommend you sit down with your coach and lay everything out.  Find out his goals and expectations for you.  Talk what you'd like to achieve, both in your own development and career.  Talk about things you are working on off-ice to help what you do on-ice.
  • You need to earn your stripes every day. 
    Put in the work and bring the right attitude.  A few years ago, you'd see things like "trust the process" or "embrace the grind."  As cheesy as it sounds, if you love what you are doing day-in-day-out, are out there working on the right things, and are having fun doing it, the results will come.  Have your own goals and plans for your training and development, but have fun when you're working out too.
  • Find a support group. 
    Do you have a goalie coach?  If so, reach out and let him or her know how you feel.  If not, take this two week period to work with one.  I've worked with a few goalie coaches through my years and leaned on just as much for the on-ice stuff as I did for the off-ice.  Do you have a mentor?  Sometimes it is nice to vent to someone verbally than over a keyboard.

Yes I have had the same goalie coach for 8 years. I haven’t talked to him yet but I plan to

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@RichMan is spot on.  All others have made great points as well. 
 

I’ll be short here, I feel like you are putting a great amount of pressure on yourself.  
 

Find a way to have fun everytime you get out on the ice.  

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18 minutes ago, Mike24 said:

@RichMan is spot on.  All others have made great points as well. 
 

I’ll be short here, I feel like you are putting a great amount of pressure on yourself.  
 

Find a way to have fun everytime you get out on the ice.  

This ⬆️ !

Edited by RichMan
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52 minutes ago, Mike24 said:

@RichMan is spot on.  All others have made great points as well. 
 

I’ll be short here, I feel like you are putting a great amount of pressure on yourself.  
 

Find a way to have fun everytime you get out on the ice.  

Good point, which leads me to another topic...

9 hours ago, A.YOUNGoalie13 said:

I was finding some way, any way, to make the NHL.

If you watch interviews or talk to a lot of guys playing pro hockey, you will find that for many, the NHL was never the ultimate goal.
They focused on dominating every league they played in at that specific time in their life and eventually found their way into the league.

Focus on what you need to do to be the best in your immediate space, and you will find it builds on what you need in the future.

And finally, this guy:

9 hours ago, coopaloop1234 said:

I think the first thing you need to ponder on is what do you want to get out of hockey? Are you still bent on trying to make the show? Do you just want to play competitive hockey for the sport of it? Do you want to play hockey just for the fun?

Once you have a better understanding of what you want out of the sport, the easier it will be to decide where you want to go from here.

 

You're around 15/16 right? That was the period of time I dropped out of hockey myself. I had been playing as a Dman since I was a tyke and I honestly was not good lol. Middle of the pack D man on my house league team. I dropped out as I was no longer enjoying the sport. I was more interested in chasing skirts, partying, and just enjoying the latter part of my teenage years.

It wasn't until I was 23 that I regained interest in the sport and as a goalie. I'm having more fun now than I ever did as a kid (helps that I'm far better as a goalie than a player).

At first, I enjoyed the competitiveness again and the social aspect was cool too. As the years have passed, my priorities for the sport have shifted towards the social part first and the sport second.

Long story short, life is generally pretty up and down and you'll change your priorities on a constant basis as you age. What's important to you now will seem so inconsequential in 5 years, and the inverse is true too. Take a small break, reassess what you want out of the sport and go from there. Don't be too hard on yourself for losing some love of the game in the short term. It happens to all of us. 

Good luck.

 

Who the fuck are you and what did you do with the real Coop?  Why are you being nice?

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I had almost the exact same experience this year. As an ‘04 trying to play juniors I got next to no game time even after repeatedly proving I’m better and more durable than the other goalies. Thankfully my coach seems to like me but I’m no longer sure if I like him. The way I got around it was growing closer to the guys on the team as well as putting in even more work strictly to better myself for the next season even if I wouldn’t be playing this season. The most important thing was to not let my playing time go to my head. Even despite holding the 4th string title I carried myself like a starter would which for me meant being relaxed and comfortable where I was. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere which gave me the ability enjoy my time up north and dial in some gear and fine tune my technique. A wise varsity friend of mine once asked me if you’re not having fun why bother playing? Since then I’ve tried to make it a point to be the happiest guy on the ice. 

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11 hours ago, Chenner29 said:

And finally, this guy:

Who the fuck are you and what did you do with the real Coop?  Why are you being nice?

Just because I have my niche for shit posting doesn't mean I can't contribute positively sometimes. :x

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12 hours ago, ThatCarGuy said:

I had almost the exact same experience this year. As an ‘04 trying to play juniors I got next to no game time even after repeatedly proving I’m better and more durable than the other goalies. Thankfully my coach seems to like me but I’m no longer sure if I like him. The way I got around it was growing closer to the guys on the team as well as putting in even more work strictly to better myself for the next season even if I wouldn’t be playing this season. The most important thing was to not let my playing time go to my head. Even despite holding the 4th string title I carried myself like a starter would which for me meant being relaxed and comfortable where I was. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere which gave me the ability enjoy my time up north and dial in some gear and fine tune my technique. A wise varsity friend of mine once asked me if you’re not having fun why bother playing? Since then I’ve tried to make it a point to be the happiest guy on the ice. 

This coming from a goalie your age made me proud. You've obviously tapped into the maturity that is needed to handle adversity and continue with your efforts. Good on you!

58 minutes ago, coopaloop1234 said:

Just because I have my niche for shit posting doesn't mean I can't contribute positively sometimes. :x

Now I'M even more confused ;) :P lolll

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@A.YOUNGoalie13 here is a quote I printed and taped onto my wall a long time ago:

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity: an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty" 
- Winston Churchill

I have plenty more positive vibes I can share to help keep the noggin' in focus :D 

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On 4/13/2021 at 10:02 AM, RichMan said:

@A.YOUNGoalie13 here is a quote I printed and taped onto my wall a long time ago:

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity: an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty" 
- Winston Churchill

I have plenty more positive vibes I can share to help keep the noggin' in focus :D 

We need a @RichMan ‘s Good Vibes” thread

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