Glossary: Referees and Linesmen

Ever heard anyone yell “Come on, linesman!” at a game? We didn’t think so. But many calls made—or not made—on the ice involve linesmen in addition to referees. The important thing to know is that it’s the referee who calls the penalties; this is why you may see a penalty happen right in front of a striped shirt but see no penalty called. The referee needs to see the penalty, or the linesman needs to report it to the referee. Here’s how it works: Read more

You’re Not the Referee (or a Linesman)

Why does the “right” call seem so obvious from the stands—and not to the ref? The New York Times Magazine provided a clue this summer in “You Make the Call,” a story about video review inspired by the Jim Joyce call that prevented Tigers pitcher Armando Galarrage from claiming a perfect game: “Video interpretation has its own rules and may be an art—but the same is true of live baseball. In the moment, Joyce was being an umpire, not a film critic. Only he had his vantage on that particular kaleidoscope of shapes and colors and time, comprising shoes and calves and arms and green grass and a bag and a ball and a glove.” Read more

Coaching = Teaching

“There is nothing mysterious about developing a good team, because coaching is nothing more than teaching. Coaches impart the techniques to the players. The better job they do, the better job the players will do.” —John McKay, former college and professional football coach Read more

Cowbell Etiquette

When all you can think after an overtime loss in a tournament championship game is “Thank goodness, now we can get away from that noise,” you know someone is going a little too far with the cowbell. Ringing cowbells at hockey games and other sporting events is a tradition with no clear origins. (There is plenty of folklore available related to cows and alpine skiing, and cows wandering onto football fields, but it’s hard to see how that relates to ice hockey.) The one reason that makes the most sense for ice hockey is that a cowbell makes more noise than clapping your hands with gloves on—and even that only applies if you’re watching a game outside or in the most frigid of ice rinks. Read more

Fit to Be Tied: Skate-Tying Primer

When I was growing up, I relentlessly teased my two younger hockey-playing siblings for needing Mom or Dad to tie their skates at the rink until they both were almost 10 years old. In my young mind, it seemed ridiculous that my siblings were not able to tie their skates laces sooner, considering I learned to tie my shoes before kindergarten, and most children become proficient at this task by age 5 or 6. Read more

Striving for Perfection in Hockey is Counterproductive

Hockey is a very fluid game with lots of intangibles that are very tough to measure. It’s not like bowling where the ceiling is 300. (Unless you’re a Mormon by the name of Ishmael from the movie Kingpin and bowl 15 frames.) In every important aspect of your life—mainly school and work—you try to get a 100% on the test or produce a product with no defects. You get rewarded for perfection. Try that in hockey and you play rigid, scared and boring. Read more

How to Increase Motivation and Performance through Goal Setting

Success in sports, as in any other achievement arena, depends on both skill and motivation. Skill and motivation are intimately related to one another. Athletes who are not motivated to develop their skills will probably not achieve their potential, and inadequate skills will not allow athletes to achieve their goals. Read more

Top Coach Advice from Grow the Game Contest

A theme quickly emerges when it comes to top advice from coaches—and that is effort. Just keep trying your best, no matter what’s happening, and you’ll have fun and get fit. Becoming a better player will take care of itself. Read more

Dressing Your Mite with Ease

Wrangling kids into their equipment in crowded, noisy locker rooms can be stressful even for pro hockey players. If you’ve never played hockey, the equipment can be a mystery—and it offers plenty of opportunities for do-overs: Put the shin guards on before the breezers, for example, and you’re sunk. Try it under time pressure, and it’s a recipe for frustration for you and your player. Follow these tips from veteran parents and you’ll be dressing your kid like a pro before long—plus teaching him or her to take over. Read more

6 Tips for Building Team Camaraderie

The best hockey seasons, win or lose, happen when everyone on a team gets along. When every player is supportive and friendly, practice and games—and the locker room—are fun. Nothing, even losing, causes more misery to parents and players than cliques and bullying in the locker room and on the ice. Plus, results on the ice indicate that closer-knit teams do perform better. So it’s no wonder that many coaches devote so much energy to ensuring that players not only improve their stickhandling skills but also their friendships. Read more

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