Chris Pryor

“Dump it in!”

 

By Chris Pryor

 

A few days ago I was sitting at our practice rink which was at the time being used by a youth association playing a PeeWee game. As I was watching the game I could hear the coach of one of the teams yelling for his 11-year-old forward to “dump it in.”

Normally this is not such an unusual request, but in this instance there was not an opposing player within 2O feet of the kid and he had easy acess to gain the offensive zone. What’s wrong with this scenario? When does winning override development? At what age is it OK to dump the puck in?

Let’s just take a step back here and look at this. We all like to win and it’s an important facet of the sporting world for obvious reasons, but at what age do we sacrifice important development in the hope of winning a few extra games at 12 years old? If players start to become scared to make a mistake when he or she is a PeeWee, why would we think they will become more confident as they get older, when the opposite probably will or should occur.

Confidence is such a strong attribute. Rather you’re an adult or a youngster, if you have confidence, you have a different air about you than if you don’t. Why do we lose it? I’m sure the answer isn’t exactly crystal clear but at an early age, we should be encouraging our younger players to experiment and try to make a difference (within the concept of your team).

There is plenty of time and many, many more games down the road where winning will take precedent, but for now let’s encourage our kids to try different things and learn from their mistakes. Mistakes are going to happen, if not there would be a lot of 0-0 hockey which unfortunately we see way too many times in today’s game.

Chris Pryor is the director of hockey operations for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is in charge of the amateur and pro scouting departments. A native of St. Paul, Pryor spent eight seasons as a scout for the Flyers. He played parts of six seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars and New York Islanders. If you have a question for a pro hockey scout, e-mail it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..