A website that has created youth hockey in the United States and Canada in part by listing thousands of teams in both countries each week has announced that it will stop the practice at the youngest levels of competition.
Neil Lodin, co-founder of MYHockey Positions, said on his website Wednesday that the platform would no longer set a numerical standard for teams for children under 12, noting that standards contributed to poor playmaking in adults.
“Youth sports have been a rat race to the top between parents, coaches and clubs,” Lodin wrote. “There’s this ‘If you don’t follow the Joneses, do you even love your baby?’ mind out there.
“The youth hockey community is not immune to these issues,” its message said. “And let’s be honest, the column is a contributing factor when they are misused and isolated rather than as a teaching tool and coordinating resource.”
In December 2021, MYHockey Opportunities and its influence were the subject of a copy in The New York Times. The Director of American Hockey Development, the governing body of the game, Ken Martel, said in the article that he feared the weight of some parents, coaches and youth hockey clubs could have an impact on player development and playing costs. . game.
The site’s ability to collect and analyze statistical data for thousands of teams ranging in age from 9 to 18 has made it a must-have tool for many in the youth hockey community.
It is based on the modern principle of predicting the team’s “performance appraisal” and the variation of the goals of any game that can be played against any opponent in the database. Coaches and tournament directors use the website regularly to identify teams that are rated to be equally balanced, and to plan games accordingly.
But critics have claimed that the site practice of assigning a number to a team has sparked the first instinct among many youth hockey players to climb the ladder in a never-ending game of one upmanship.
In an interview, Lodin said the website would continue to provide basic data that helped inform coordination decisions – such as losing records, game results and other statistics – while eliminating the standards of its youngest teams. The site listed approximately 3,000 teams of children under the age of 12 during the recent hockey season.
“We are taking steps that we think make users more likely to use the site as intended, as a tool to help the team coordinate appropriate competition levels, as opposed to the impact of hockey,” Lodin said.
Tom Farrey, executive director of the Aspen Institute Sports and Community Program, who Lodin praised for offering the idea of getting out of the ranks while storing data that helps teams compete in a competitive environment, called the move “a step in the right direction. . ”
“It sends a message that development is more important than comparing children to teams that are still in the early stages of development,” Farrey said.
Martel, of the American hockey game, praised the progress.
“This will hopefully reduce the pressure a bit,” he said. “We are a game that goes on late. The best kids are not the best kids later. No one knows who is good until after puberty.”