If you can't wait for hockey you're not alone. There's only so many times we can watch C.J. Spiller run into a wall of defenders or the Bills defense get scored on at will. The Sabres are back with a young lineup and based on the preseason shenanigans we are in for an interesting year.
Here is why we are looking forward to this year.
Evidence Piece #1
Paul Ranger's Kick the Stick Shootout Attempt
Evidence Piece #2
The Entire Sabres/Maple Leafs Shootout
Evidence Piece #3
Evidence Piece #4
Our 3rd Jerseys
Evidence Piece #5
The Rookies & Young Guns (U25 Team)
72 Luke Adam 6' 2" 206 Jun 18, 1990 23 St. John's, NF, CAN
33 Joel Armia 6' 3" 187 May 31, 1993 20 Pori, FIN
63 Tyler Ennis 5' 9" 157 Oct 6, 1989 23 Edmonton, AB, CAN
65 Brian Flynn 6' 1" 180 Jul 26, 1988 25 Lynnfield, MA, USA
82 Marcus Foligno 6' 3" 226 Aug 10, 1991 22 Buffalo, NY, USA
25 Mikhail Grigorenko 6' 3" 200 May 16, 1994 19 Khabarovsk, RUS
19 Cody Hodgson 6' 0" 194 Feb 18, 1990 23 Toronto, ON, CAN
22 Johan Larsson 5' 10" 200 Jul 25, 1992 21 Lau, SWE
4 Jamie McBain 6' 2" 200 Feb 25, 1988 25 Edina, MN, USA
57 Tyler Myers 6' 8" 227 Feb 1, 1990 23 Houston, TX, USA
3 Mark Pysyk 6' 1" 193 Jan 11, 1992 21 Sherwood Park, AB, CAN
55 Rasmus Ristolainen 6' 4" 207 Oct 27, 1994 18 Turku, FIN
5 Chad Ruhwedel 5' 11" 180 May 7, 1990 23 San Diego, CA, USA
6 Mike Weber 6' 2" 211 Dec 16, 1987 25 Pittsburgh, PA, USA
1 Jhonas Enroth 5' 10" 166 Jun 25, 1988 25 Stockholm, SWE
Evidence Piece #6
Saucy Paws, Dangles, and Sick Goals
Hockey season is back meaning dry-land training is going to be traded for more ice time as preparations for the first games are being finalized. It also means that 6 am practices, spending 5+ days at the rink, and the pressure of academics and hockey are back onto the kids.
Thinking back to my playing days, all I ever wanted to do was play games. As a kid and even as an adult who actually likes going to practice every day? Ok get on the line because you didn't make a tape-to-tape pass on that last breakout drill. Skate faster in a meaningless circle drill! I could never put together the importance of a practice while I was a kid. Now as an adult you realize that skill development does require time on the ice honing our skills but do we really need to overwhelm our kids that much?
Let's look at our adult sports leagues. It's all games and no practices and trust me not everyone has the skills to be playing games without practicing but we realize practice isn't fun. So why do we subject our kids to practicing 5x more than they play?
While I understand that there are going to be kids that want to develop their skills and become the best that they possibly can be, this is where AAA hockey comes in. What we need to consider is reinventing and reintroducing the house league. Travel hockey has become so watered down because everyone wants to be a "travel" player. In reality many of these AA programs are just house leagues that wanted the travel name. Now these kids who wanted to just play games every weekend and practice once a week are subjected to practicing like a AAA team but may lack in the skill development department.
Some of my best memories were made in house hockey and playing pond hockey where yes the wins still matter but there is much less pressure and the focus is on having fun and beating your buddies. It's a friendly place for competition where kids can go to have fun and that is what I believe is missing in today's hockey leagues. You can't possibly tell me that the kids will remember just another game against a travel team more than their time playing outdoor ice hockey at the Tim Hortons Backyard Classic. Case and Point.
My name is Nick Penberthy and am the Founder of the Tim Hortons Backyard Classic. Now after 5 years of running the THBYC we have raised over $30,000 for Hasek's Heroes.