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Advice Needed - My Son Got Demoted to the B Team


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Tryout season. 

My son isn't a goalie. He's entering the second season PeeWee. He played on the A team last year. Plays center. Scored a bunch of goals, PP, PK time. Coach loved him.

New season, new coaches, tryouts happen and he's the only kid that didn't stay on the A team. He's on the lower A team now ("A2"). The kids that he played with and were not moving to Bantam all stayed on the same team (now "A1").

He was crushed. Parenting is never easy.

The new team is mostly younger players who moved up to PW from Squirts. Roster is less than before, so he'll play a ton.

Tryouts are tough as all the rinks in the district all hold their 3 days of tryouts on the same 3 days on purpose. So going to another rink is all but not feasible. If I call today, I may get a spot on a B team elsewhere. Different rink, longer commute, etc.

He knows a few kids on this team. But all his buddies are on the other team still. 

My wife is done with hockey now. It's one thing to be on a lower team and whatever. But the $3500 bill for a team you don't want to be a part of.. is tough.

I can't pull him out of hockey. He's 11. I know he'll be fine playing still. It will be tough season to swallow as the rink is small and he'll have to be around all his buddies still. I'd imagine they'll even share ice slots at practices and all. While good to see your buddies, it's also like seeing your ex-girlfriend that much also.

I'm a glass is always half full person. But this is a stinker to deal with.

We didn't stick around for the post tryout meeting and contract signing. Little dude was crying and it was also 10 PM. So I still have the option to roll out. 

My son said he's ok today with the team. I just have to get my wife on board now.... advice?

Edited by MTH
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Damn, this is a tough one. I 'd say if you're okay with the $$ aspect of it and he's agreeable to play for the lower team, go for it. Kids are pretty resilient and this might be a good teaching moment/sacrifice/hard work, all that. Any chance they'll move him up if he tears up the low A team?

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agree with @motowngoalie  whether its a fair assessment and a chance to improve for next season, or the coaches made a mistake and he's good enough already, it won't dictate how good he actually is or how much he improves this season (**Playing better competition by nature should help make you better but at that age he can make huge improvements just working on fundamentals - in the driveway, body weight training, skating ,etc.

Hope he's able to see the A1 team as his next big goal vs a missed opportunity 👍

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So going along with your glass half-full outlook:

I am assuming he  will be at the top of his team skill-wise- this will hopefully allow for more ice time, allowing further improvement - I know a lot of people who said the drop for them was the best thing that happened to them.

This may also be an opportunity for him to practice some leadership among the less experienced/ lesser skilled players - that is always a good thing for both performance and life skills...

 

 

 

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Thanks. Teams are pretty set until next season - tryouts for Bantam.

The possibility of lesser competition in every practice is my concern. I hope that the kids he's with are the better younger kids.

I do think he got bumped due to a cascade effect in the organization. The AAA team in house is top 20 in the country now. This year alone there were 5+ kids who were cut and sent down to the AA team. AA team did some recruiting too, so kids from that team went down... then bumped my little dude off.

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3 minutes ago, Colander said:

So going along with your glass half-full outlook:

I am assuming he  will be at the top of his team skill-wise- this will hopefully allow for more ice time, allowing further improvement - I know a lot of people who said the drop for them was the best thing that happened to them.

This may also be an opportunity for him to practice some leadership among the less experienced/ lesser skilled players - that is always a good thing for both performance and life skills...

There are a lot of stories from kids who drop a level and only get better. That's a great point. I'll use it... thanks

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Another hard part - we're all hockey players. Goalies sit and watch the most hockey in the world. I know what my son does well and I know what he needs help with. As a parent it's an easy thing to pick at the issues - but I don't. I want my son to enjoy playing. He never watches other hockey (NHL or any other games). So he lacks some hockey knowledge for sure. From there I can write a list of all parts he needs improvement on. So getting bumped back isn't a super shocker for me. I have been on him for a few months for some bad habits. I assume that the coaches picked up on these. So the opportunity to remediate these this year will help. Especially the last year before they start checking.

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1 minute ago, MTH said:

Another hard part - we're all hockey players. Goalies sit and watch the most hockey in the world. I know what my son does well and I know what he needs help with....

So true!

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Back in my midget 16 (2016-18) days, I was bumped down from the very competitive 16AA team, to the A national to A American team (the equivalent of B, in this case) all in the span of a few weeks (My father wasn't big on the idea of the extra travel of the 16AA team, and made it known). At the time I didn't realize it, but this would actually be beneficial in the long term. While we did lose just about every game that season and I later had a much greater appreciation of defenseman that actually played defense, learned how leadership works, and I earned the prestigious title of 3rd string goaltender of the 18AA team at age 17! 

I also had a major breakthrough in my development where I had learned to become consistent. Previously, while I was pretty good at stopping pucks, I was nowhere near as consistent as I am now and I suspect it was due to the fact that because of the setback that I had encountered, I took a step back and looked at it from another angle. If someone had told 15 year old me that getting put on a team that was not competitive would allow me to advance in my development, I probably would not have believed them.

A situation like this can be interpreted as a setback or an opportunity to improve. (mind you my knowledge on parenting is limited at best on account of being 20)

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Don't know if you are still having that conversation with the missus, but if you pull him and he doesn't play this year, he would be that much further behind for the bantam year. Echoing the other comments (from experience as well), playing at that lower level can help him to develop.

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Another thing to note, how is his patience with the puck? Does he throw it off when he gets pressured? Learning to hold on to the puck a little longer under pressure will help making that jump and hopefully stand out in bantam. He will have a better chance on working on his patience, controlling the play at that lower level.

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5 hours ago, jacksork said:

Another thing to note, how is his patience with the puck? Does he throw it off when he gets pressured? Learning to hold on to the puck a little longer under pressure will help making that jump and hopefully stand out in bantam. He will have a better chance on working on his patience, controlling the play at that lower level.

He's good with the puck as for time wise. He needs to improve protecting the puck. He tends to lose the puck quite easily if under pressure. It's a skill he needs to work on. He's quick and all just can't maintain when in traffic as well as he should.

Another one - bane of many hockey parents - skating/standing with one hand on his stick when on offense and in the other team's zone. Kills me. Yelling, discussing, etc... helps. But he'll quickly return to doing it.

I told him that it's like standing in the batter's box with just one hand on your bat. 

He's just sloppy (like most kids). 

Lower level should help. I hope.

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I did reach out to another rink. Would be the same level, but new environment. My older son jumped to AAA when he was PW Major. Level was one thing, but the new program was another. Sometimes you need to change things up to help you focus on what you need to do.

Supposed to hear today from the director as to what he can offer my son. Long shot, but can't hurt to try.

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6 hours ago, jacksork said:

Don't know if you are still having that conversation with the missus, but if you pull him and he doesn't play this year, he would be that much further behind for the bantam year. Echoing the other comments (from experience as well), playing at that lower level can help him to develop.

Funny, my wife did say that but that my little dude would do private sessions through the year instead. Sounds feasible now, but I noted that we don't do many private sessions now. Without being on a team, I think he'd grow bored of skating around in circles with a coach two times a week. Hockey is more than that.

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5 hours ago, MTH said:

He's good with the puck as for time wise. He needs to improve protecting the puck. He tends to lose the puck quite easily if under pressure. It's a skill he needs to work on. He's quick and all just can't maintain when in traffic as well as he should.

Another one - bane of many hockey parents - skating/standing with one hand on his stick when on offense and in the other team's zone. Kills me. Yelling, discussing, etc... helps. But he'll quickly return to doing it.

I told him that it's like standing in the batter's box with just one hand on your bat. 

He's just sloppy (like most kids). 

Lower level should help. I hope.

 

5 hours ago, MTH said:

Funny, my wife did say that but that my little dude would do private sessions through the year instead. Sounds feasible now, but I noted that we don't do many private sessions now. Without being on a team, I think he'd grow bored of skating around in circles with a coach two times a week. Hockey is more than that.

Just caught this thread and wanted to chime in.

Dropping down a level is not a bad thing, if he's getting a lot of playing time.  Dominating at a lower level is huge for confidence. 

He's going to be working with a bunch of freshly graduated squirts?  Sounds like a great opportunity for him to become a leader in the locker room and on the ice - a key skill that will help him in as he becomes a young adult.

Not having to see him play, it sounds like there's a great opportunity here for him to work with a private coach and eliminate bad habits/reinforce good ones.

As a kid that did goalie lessons once a week, I loved working with my goalie coach, but I was reinforcing the lessons with team practices and games.

Just curious, how close are you to NJ?  I've got a buddy who's running lessons out there with a good background that I can link you up with.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Chenner29 said:

Just curious, how close are you to NJ?  I've got a buddy who's running lessons out there with a good background that I can link you up with.

I actually live in NJ just outside Philly. Please shoot me a PM if you could. That would be great for him. Thanks.

Edited by MTH
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I reached out to another rink where my older son played at for a bit. They said they could use my younger son and that they hadn't picked teams yet. So he's in the PW pool there now as "the younger brother of...". Hopefully this is a good opportunity for him there to get better. New team at whatever level at a rink that plays in a different league than his old one may push him to go after it. Playing with the same kids since your first year Mite brings with it that mite mentality still with goofing around and all with the same kids. 

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Sounds like this is going to work out for you and your son - and I’m really glad for you! We went through a similar thing last year, for Novice house league (!!) where the sort out authorities were so busy watching the kid whose parents bribed him (not making this up), that my kid was not noticed at all, and relegated to the C team in his 2nd year of Novice. He’s no superstar, but all his friends from hockey and school were on B. I was livid, wanted to quit as volunteer coach (bribery parents don’t volunteer for anything either), and say “don’t insult me by saying you evaluated my kid; tell me you just didn’t look at him”. 
Anyway, he was fine - it was me that was upset (still am!) - and while I stopped counting, I think he had over a hundred goals in that year - easily averaging 6-7 a game. Huge boost to his confidence... though it was hard to shake hands with other team coaches, and be accused of stacking our Novice C house league team, with comments about my son being a ringer. Wanted to say “our hockey association failed us, sorry - I don’t want to be here wasting my son’s time against your little shits either “

Anyway, he’s back with his friends this year - a much improved player overall!

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So my little dude signed today with another rink. Some good friends at this rink heard about what happened to my son. They helped me get him in the door immediately. The hockey director had my son come the next day and do a skills clinic with older kids to see how he looked. It all worked out. Got on a team he was happy to be on. Now he has to just improve his game and enjoy the new environment.

What added fuel to the changing rink situation was that some of the kids he knows from his old rink showed up to his baseball game on a Sunday night. They were breaking his stones a little about not making their team. I know it will be a hard and long season dealing with the kids at the old rink all year for my kid. 

Yeah, it's wrong. But they're little dudes and that's what they do. Changing the environment completely will let him do his thing without worrying about feeling embarrassed and all. I could go into all the character building phrases - but honestly, he's 11 and will not see it that way.

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8 hours ago, jacksork said:

Glad to hear it sounds like it will be working out. Will he end up playing his "old team"?

Not really. Maybe at a tournament. But the lack of playing each other was part of the reason he joined them. Just spend a season doing your thing and not dealing with that. He's all of 11. Hard enough with his phone and xBox chats and all to deal with crap like this. 

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