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“There’s too much focus on winning and losing at such a young age.

“And not enough about the skill part of it. That’s truly where it starts. At 16, 17 when they hit the Canadian Hockey League, there should already be a standard of skill already in place.

“I think there are times there is too much focus on winning and losing hockey games and Xs and Os at a young age and not enough on developing the skill sets.”

-Brnet Sutter, WJC head coach for Team Canada.  More from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brent+sutter


duhduhduh's avatar

Spot on, Mr. Sutter.  I remember at the Winer Classic Alum game, Mickey was relaying his conversation with Nick about having his kids in Sweden to play hockey, and said that the focus [there] is much less on systems and much more on skills, which is a better approach.

Posted by duhduhduh on 01/06/14 at 10:48 AM ET


Too much ego and sense of entitlement, not enough speed and skill. There should be less focus on grit and size. Canada loves big and slow with blocker type goalies.

Posted by timbits on 01/06/14 at 10:58 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Way too much pressure on young kids. How can they even enjoy the tournament?

Hockey is my favorite sport, by far, so I’m all about a country embracing the sport like Canada does. But there has to be limits.

As of now it’s like Canada defines itself on how it does in international hockey. When they were winning five Golds in a row all was great; but now that they have lost five Golds, and not even won a medal in the last two years, a sense of panic has ensued.

It’s a game, not a an international referendum. Until Canada gets back to remembering that they will put way too much pressure on those young kids.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 01/06/14 at 11:06 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I get what he’s saying and I think I agree with him, but it also feels a little like two “sides” of an argument talking past each other. Maybe the real problem is that for some reason, at this point in time, coaching is stagnant or mediocre in the CHL by traditional standards? I really don’t know, I don’t follow the CHL hardly at all. But it seems to me that if the CHL is all about winning, good coaching and management would be about developing skills, since you win with skills.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/06/14 at 01:25 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I’ll provide an example of how this has trickled down to youth hockey.
I coach my son’s <u>house-league</u> Novice team. For those that don’t know, it’s the division for 7 and 8 year old kids.

This past Saturday we travelled out of town to play a neighbouring team.
The team we played, played the trap. They had a classic 1-3-1 going with a player always in the middle of the red-line to prevent any forwards that might break out of the pack.

Not only that, but anytime one of our players got around one of theirs, the opposing player would flop to the ice and swing their stick hoping to get a piece of the player, or puck, or hopefully both.

I saw about 32 tripping calls that never got called.
His kids were incredibly good at it. It always looked like the player was going for the puck, and because the refs are 12, they don’t want to piss off a coach by calling 30 penalties.

Every team in the league has complained about this and nothing gets done.

Their kids weren’t more skilled than ours. Most couldn’t skate that well.
But the coach put in a system that allowed them to win many games. And with half our kids on the ice, they got countless odd-man breaks and breakaways.

This is what a grown man devised. A grown man who probably is unemployed (or in a dead-end job) who needs to win meaningless HL games in order to make himself feel like a man.
He probably has nothing but this team’s successes going on in his life.

Sadly, I’ve seen this far too often throughout the last 7 years while being involved with my kids hockey.
It’s why this is my last year of coaching. I can’t take the crap that goes on in minor league hockey in my small little Canadian burg.
It’s also why I prefer coaching basketball and baseball 100x more than hockey. There’s very little pressure, the kids have fun, and because most parents are either clueless of the sport, or don’t think their kid will be the next Miggy Cabrera, it’s all for fun.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/06/14 at 01:54 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Just terrible Hank.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/06/14 at 01:56 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Agreed Paul.
I love hockey. I love seeing how much fun the kids have coming to the rink.
It’s just sad when adults find a way to ruin that experience for them.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/06/14 at 02:00 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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