Last year I posted a blog about called The Day Zach Quit Hockey. In my blog I talked about my feelings about Zach leaving the game he loved playing. Now, almost a year later, it's time to tell the rest of the story. I know some will wonder why I've let a year go by before telling this story, and some will wonder why I'm telling this story at all. The reasons I'm telling this story now are because enough time has lapsed to allow me some breathing room and because the rumors surrounding Zach's decision have persisted for nearly a year and it's time to tell the truth....
I've always been a huge fan letting everyone in our hockey community know where our family stands at tryout times. As long as we've been a part of hockey there has always been a new hockey organization popping up here and there. Parents who have wanted more challenges for their players or a better organization for their young ones have driven the charge to start something new. We've been on both sides of a new organizations. We helped lead the charge for a new hockey program in Louisville when we saw it might be a better opportunity for Zach to play. And we've stayed put with an existing organization when we felt it was a better situation for Zach, Lucas and our whole family. In all of this, though, we have always been forthcoming about our choices and our decisions. We have always strived to tell it like it is when the question comes..."Where are the boys trying out?" We'll tell you exactly where they'll be trying out and why. I've never thought it was a good idea to make tryout time a secret. It doesn't make any sense to me why it has to be so hush-hush where any family wants their kids to play. Last year was no exception for us. Zach wanted to tryout for both the newly established AAA team and the existing AA team, but if he was going to play he only wanted to play on the AAA. The truth of what he wanted to do was out there for our hockey community ~ no secrets from us.
Here is where the truth needs to be told and I'll tell it to exactly needs to hear it. I won't use names of the individuals. They know who they are.
Dear Coach and Assistant Coach,
When you take on the role of coach, you are supposed to exemplify good moral character, make good decisions and be committed to helping our youth become good people....you are supposed to be a mentor to the youth you coach. You have done none of that when it came to our son. You have lied to him, Assistant Coach. And you have lied about him, Coach.
Assistant Coach, when Head Coach left in between the first and second tryouts, to attend to personal business, he left you specific instructions on what he wanted you to tell Pokey for the second tryout. The coach wanted to you to tell my son what he wanted to see from him on the ice. And you failed to tell him what he needed to know until it was too late. I know that for a fact. I asked Pokey if you ever talked to him. His response left me speechless. He said "Assistant Coach talked to me about what Head Coach wanted to see on my last shift of the final tryout. I didn't have time to show Head Coach what he wanted to see." Assistant Coach, you lied to my son by omittance and in doing so you showed your true character. Why did you do it? Is it because you, Assistant Coach, care only about your own son? Is it because you knew Pokey would have been up against your son for ice time and in making sure Pokey didn't have the proper instructions for what the Head Coach wanted to see, you made sure your own son would benefit? Or is it because you think we took sides in a dispute that happened years ago, before we even stepped foot into Richmond? If, as I suspect, my questions above are true those are low and disturbing traits in someone who is supposed to be a mentor of youth.
Head Coach, you have perpetuated a lie about our son all year and it's time to set the record straight, in writing. When Pokey got cut from the U16AAA team he came back for the U18AAA tryouts. He finally knew what you wanted to see. He showed it to you and he showed it to you well. In fact, he kicked ass during that tryout. And you know he did. But you told people you couldn't put him on the U18AAA team because you couldn't have a kid born in 1996 on the higher team. I accept that. I understand that. What I don't accept or understand is why you would then tell people that you offered Pokey a spot on the U18AAA team, but he didn't accept it. You told people Pokey wanted to stay with the Richmond Royals and play U18A. You, Head Coach, told people that repeatedly through the year. Both of those statements are lies. You lied about our son. You never offered him a spot on your U18AAA team and he never said he wanted to stay with the Royals and play U18A. Never.
I am glad Pokey's previous and current coaches/mentors never lied to him or about him. I'm glad he had the luck of experiencing only those who thought enough of him to not lie to him and about him. I'm glad he had and has such wonderful coaches. He's a lucky kid.
I just thought I'd finally set the record straight when it comes to Pokey...don't ever lie to him or about him. If you have a problem with any of our family's decisions you are welcome to talk to me or my husband, but do NOT put him in the middle of your insecurities about how you've conducted yourself when it comes to my child.
I hope someday you'll realize what it takes to truly coach and mentor kids, because right now you don't have a clue.