The intentions are brilliant, but it will still be necessary to go deeper, to search more and above all to get closer to reality.
Try to convince a 10, 11 or 12 year old that score and ranking don’t matter. You should have fun even if you eat a 9 to 1 beating. Good luck! Try to make them accept that we have ball scores in the school yard, in baseball, in football, in school reports, but not in hockey. The idea is good, but it never lasts. She can disinterest even the most competitive kids. They exist and those too must be respected. At 10, Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky and Marcel Dionne didn’t care about the score.
I also understand the rapid, strong and negative reaction of the school network to the advice to give skating lessons at primary school. The idea is good, but again, unrealistic. Just imagine all the organization and costs associated with children and teachers traveling to the arenas, the quality of teaching that needs to be perfected and developed. Think of the equipment for the little ones whose parents are already exhausted by the purchase of school supplies, computers and clothing. We are in a very big country. Going to the bullring in our big cities is one thing, but from a small village in Gaspésie, Abitibi, Côte-Nord or Bas-du-Fleuve it’s another.
THE REAL LIFE
Also, teaching toddlers to skate is not easy and not all physical education teachers have the right techniques to help them develop properly from the start. Getting on the ice with 20 6-year-olds just starting to skate is no small feat. Several qualified instructors will tell you that it is impossible, unrealistic. Just dress them up, put on their skates and you’ve got your helmet full and that’s the reality. Please note that children of this age cannot tie their skates themselves.
For more than 30 years, I’ve been giving regular hockey clinics to boys and girls of all ages and I’m surprised the Quebec Committee on Hockey Development hasn’t pushed for the quality of primary education in our national sport. I am always amazed to welcome a player who has previously reached a good caliber in minor hockey and who is still oblivious to many primary elements such as positional play on defense if not on offense, how to skate with their heads held high, pass a high quality pass, the technique of wrist throws, slapshots, backhand, etc. It is even more surprising with goalkeepers who, all too clearly, have been left to their own devices for a long time, while innocently cultivating mistakes or shortcomings because there was no one skilled enough to correct them (or them).
It’s summer when we have to take the little ones to the arena. Unoccupied ice hours are plentiful, parents more available. In this way, the government could help to keep the infrastructure open. Imagine a great week of free skating school with real specialists in July or August.
And yes, the committee rightly points to the crucial contribution that equipment suppliers and manufacturers should make. It’s almost theft with kids skates going for $500, 600, and even $1000. The cost of the sticks is also embarrassing, abhorrent, and insulting.
Out of the enclave
- The rest of John Perron in Chandler (Gaspésie) is for sale. The 1986 Stanley Cup winner with the Canadiens now wants to spend his winters in Panama… the best place in the south, he says.
- They were Bouchervillois, but the interim commissioner of the QMJHL for just 37 years, Gilles Courteau, and his wife, France, now live in Sherbrooke in a brand new home.
- Young college golf champion Jeffrey Lebeau, who studies in Texas, is from the Eastern Townships and is the son of Chantal and Stephan LebeauStanley Cup champion in 1993 with the Canadians.
- I am sad for the people who live around Lac St-Pierre. The moratorium is extended for the next five years. Fishing for bass is prohibited as has been the case for 10 years.
- Still wet eyes, at the reception after the funeral of Guy Lafleur, his mother, Pierrette, 90, said, squeezing my arm, “I should be gone…not him. †
- Yvan Cournoyer “I don’t like Paul Henderson’s goal against the Russians in 1972. I’m always afraid it won’t score. †
- Claude Raymond celebrated her 85th birthday on Saturday. A machine, the little man from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
- To declare Lac Saint-Jean “solid”, 70% of the ice must have melted and this is not yet the case. The big lake is late this year. Two years ago, it reached melting point on May 12.
- Time passes. Martin Brodeur is now 50 years old.