Monday, August 07, 2017

A Good Hockey Picture

Eli 16.0 had a strong week at camp--easily the most fit and athletic off the ice, one of the best on the ice.

I understood last week, to a greater degree than I ever have before, that he is truly an elite athlete compared to other goalies his age (and even older). What's going to be key for him is to translate all that athleticism, every bit of it, onto the ice. He doesn't do that all the time, and he needs to if he's going to play juniors and beyond.

"Still in the pool," I said on the way home last Friday, and he laughed. I've been saying this every year after goalie camp since he was ten--there's a pool of players that will get opportunities to play in juniors and college, and he's still in the pool.

That pool is shrinking every year, and if he can just hang on for another year or two, very good things will happen.

There's one other thing he has to do, and we also talked about this on the way home. "You know how guys always say 'I was right there, if only I'd had the right situation?' "

"Everybody says that," Eli said.

"What do the guys who make it say instead?" I asked.

"Every situation is the right situation," he said. "Even when it's not, they find a way past it."

That's true. You wouldn't believe what high-level junior hockey is like. It's an absolute maze, and many kids wind up playing for two or three teams, across multiple leagues, in the same season. It's asking a lot of seventeen and eighteen-year-olds, to be so resilient. If you don't have an overarching sense of purpose and belief in yourself, it's hard to come out the other side.

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