There were plenty of kids wearing Mathew Barzal jerseys at the New York Islanders practice in Vancouver on Sunday.
They were youth hockey players from Burnaby Winter Club, Barzal's minor hockey alma mater in the first suburb east of Vancouver. Barzal's an idol for those kids, living proof that maybe one of them can one day play in the NHL.
But before there was Barzal, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the guy to come out of BWC and was an influence on a young Barzal.
"He was one my guys that I looked up to growing up," Barzal said on Thursday. "Playing in the same organization, watching his minor hockey games back in bantam and pee-wee. I remember him dominating back then and just wanting to be like him. He went first overall in the [WHL] bantam draft and I knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps."
It's clear how Nugent-Hopkins made an impression on Barzal growing up. According to Elite Prospects, Nugent-Hopkins scored 214 points (119G, 95A) in 66 games in his second bantam year at BWC. (Barzal had 153 points in 51 games in his equivalent season.) Nugent-Hopkins wound up being drafted by Red Deer first overall in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft and eventually went on to be selected first by the Oilers in 2011.
While Nugent-Hopkins was ascending to the NHL, he caught wind of a kid who was skating through the competition, getting word through coaches who had them both. Since then he's been following Barzal's blossoming career.
"I noticed him pretty much as soon as he started," Nugent-Hopkins said. "He slipped under some people's radar because maybe he got hurt in his draft year so he didn't go as high as he probably would have. For the guys that have known him for a while and seen him play for a long time now it's not too unexpected."
The four-year age difference kept Barzal and Nugent-Hopkins from playing together growing up, though Barzal remembers Nugent-Hopkins dropping in for a pair of ice times with his bantam team. They have skated together over the past two summers at 8-Rinks in Burnaby and have developed a relationship.
"We're at the rink competing against each other, chirping each other, having fun. He's a great guy," Barzal said.
Barzal leads the Islanders with 51 assists and 69 points this season, which has impressed Nugent-Hopkins, who has 33 points in 48 games this season.
"I'm not surprised that he's playing well and already established himself as a high-end player in the league," Nugent-Hopkins said. "I am a little surprised at how many points he has only because it's his first year in the league and you don't see that often."
They'll likely be facing off at least a couple of times on Thursday night, which could wind up leaving an impression on the next kids coming up at BWC.
"I know that he's a really good player and he's having a lot of success right now," Nugent-Hopkins said. "So it's good to see a Burnaby kid doing so well."
PeeWee A1 win Final Four!
PeeWee A2 win Final Four!
New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with forward Ty Ronning on an entry-level contract.
Ronning, 20, has skated in 64 games with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, registering 55 goals and 22 assists for 77 points, along with a plus-11 rating and 36 penalty minutes. He has established WHL career-highs in several categories this season, including goals, points, plus/minus rating, shots on goal (313), game-winning goals (eight), and power play goals (15). Ronning ranks second in the WHL in shots on goal and is tied for second in the league in goals in 2017-18.
Enjoy the Journey
There are 3 times when we can help our child’s performance and create great memories:
Before the game
During the game
After the game
Before the first game of the season
Ask yourself the following questions:
Then ask you child the same questions.
If your child’s answers are the same as yours, then great! If they’re not, then drop yours and accept theirs. They are the ones playing hockey.
The reality is that 75% of kids are out of organized sports by age 13. Why? The majority cites parental expectations and behaviour as the number one cause.
So “release them to the game.” Let this activity be theirs. Let them control it. Let this be the risk that they take to learn their life lessons: how to succeed on your own, how to deal with mistakes, how to talk to their boss etc. Empower them to become the very people we all know and hope they can be.
How do you know if you’re not “releasing” them?
You continue to share the credit when things go well. “We won.” No, they won.
You find yourself trying to solve all the problems that come up during the season. Let children learn how to deal with this on their own.
You catch yourself yelling at an official during the game.
You try to continue to coach them when they know more about the sport than you do.
They try to avoid you after the game, or they’re embarrassed by your involvement.
During the game
Be there. Or miss some, let them bring back to you what they thought was important.
Model appropriate behaviour. If 90% of parents think spectator behaviour is a problem, but 99% say it’s not me, then who is it?
One instructional voice. This is the voice of the coach. Kids find it very confusing when they hear multiple voices. Encouraging is OK.
Focus on the team. Watch both teams play; don’t just focus on your child.
Choose one role. There are 4 roles, player, coach, referee, and spectator. Everyone gets to be one of these. One.
After the game
When kids are asked about their worst memories from athletics, the most consistent answer is the car ride home.
Here’s how to make that car ride home a positive:
Save your analysis. Don’t analyze their play, the referees, their teammates, the coaching, etc.
Give your athlete time and space. Kids need time and space to recover. Some may need an hour, others need a week.
Be a confidence builder. What can you say to do that? 5 simple words after every game: “I love watching you play.”
Alum Ty Ronning scored his 50th goal with Vancouver Giants!
Dante Fabbro's Gold Medal from the WJC
Alum Matt Barzal scores his 1st NHL goal!
Wednesday Night Hockey: 6:45PM BWC Atom A5 vs. NSWC A5
Rob Blankstein- MHA Chair
Terry Shein - General Manager
Maco Balkovec - Hockey Director
Divisional Manager Roxanne Reid
Joe Saloustros- Head Coach C1
Burt Henderson - Head Coach C2
Joe Saloustros- Head Coach C1
Doug Macdonald -Head Coach C2
Saylor Preston- Head Coach C1
Brad Reynolds - Head Coach C2
James Sullivan- Head Coach C3
Divisional Manager: Megumi Mizuno
Curtis Fraser - Head Coach A1
Darcy Pinch- Head Coach A2
James Sullivan- Head Coach A3
Jeff Scheffel- Head Coach A4
Mason Malkowich- Head Coach A5
Divisional Manager: Derek Usher
Bill Hunt - Head Coach A1
Sinclair Kim- Head Coach A2
Angelo Scigliano Head Coach A3
Bryan Kim- Head Coach A4
Ryan Robinson - Head Coach A5
Divisional Manager: Sheldon Evers and Scott Ashton
Jim Cammazola- Head Coach A1
Saylor Preston Head Coach A2