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12-16-2011, 03:00 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Country: Switzerland
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A couple of years ago (well, more than a decade ago), in a competitive league, I was on a team of university-aged kids playing with this rookie 16-year-old. The kid was a forward by training. He struggled a bit to start the year; a non-factor up-front. The last 16 games of the year he was converted to defense because he was an amazing skater with size (guy was nearly 6 feet and fairly bulky) and we needed another d-man. This kid struggled so majorly. He was getting beat, weak on his stick, started handling the puck like a grenade....just a mess. But he always hustled, and it looked like he was picking things up in the final games of the year. Our team ended up losing the division and lost in the second round of the playoffs. In the final game, that guy took the penalty that led to the tying goal.

At the end of the year, as we were all leaving the rink, all of us were very cold towards him. Our captain, who had been suspended down the stretch for two-handing a goalie was oozing hostility. I wasn't feeling very gracious myself. One of the other players on our team, went to the guy and said "walk with me" and then kind of loudly said "don't worry about what those *****s say. It wasn't your fault".

That kid went on to have a really solid career and ended up getting drafted. No pro-time, but that example always kind of stuck with me on how to treat young, inexperienced players.

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