Even Non-Stars Shine

Every Player Has An Important Role To Play In A Team’s Success

A SMALL PERCENTAGE FROM EVERY TEAM, from youth hockey all the way to the NHL, is made up of star players. Typically, 80 percent of a team is made up of what I call the “non-stars.”

It’s important for parents to know that even if their son or daughter is not on the first line, scoring the goals or racking up the assists or part of the first defensive pairing, power play or penalty kill, every player who slips on a jersey is an integral part of the hockey team.

I have friends who have enjoyed long and successful NHL careers playing on the third and fourth line. There are many cogs in the wheel that are necessary to make the wheel spin.
Here are some tips for the “non-star players:”

Make Yourself Heard

Be vocal on the bench and on the ice. Cheer your teammates on when they finish their shift. Start a bench pat and send it down the line. Don’t be afraid to talk on the ice. Let your teammates know you are behind them, ready to congratulate them for making a nice play. This also can psyche the opposing team out. It is hard to beat a unified team. Take pride in yourself and your contributions to the team.

Show Leadership

The goal scorers or stars are not always the team leaders. They may be gifted with more natural ability, but may not necessarily have the charisma or ability to inspire others. Non-star players are often the leaders of a team. There is nothing better than a team full of charismatic leaders who earn the respect of their teammates. That is a team that will go a long way.

First On, Last Off The Ice

Work ethic is an important trait for every player to have. When doing a drill, don’t look to see if the coach or parents are watching. Be focused on what you’re doing, and believe me, your efforts will be noticed. Be the best practice player and you will be a star player.

Push your teammates to do better. Push each other including the last person in a drill. Say, “Nice effort, keep it up!”

Make Your Point

The little things that happen in a game play a huge role in the success of a team. I believe the assist to the assists or goals should count for points even though they do not count on the stat sheet. The blocked shot should count for a point. Taking the hit to make a play should be worth a point. Winning the battle for the puck should count for a point. So should winning a face off. All these little things add up to victories over the course of the season.

Character Counts

Make every teammate smile or feel good about his or her game. Every single player is responsible for the win.

It’s important to rally around your goalie, especially after he or she has given up a goal or is in the middle of a losing streak.

It is a long season. Make the locker room a special place. Have a team joke that is known only to your teammates. Make each other laugh and become friends. You need different personalities for a winning formula, from the happy-go-lucky joker to the serious down-to-business player.

It’s We, Not Me

If you’re one of the “star” players, be humble and cheer on your teammates. It will help you become a tight-knit group and care for each other when your team needs it the most.
Hockey is a funny game, and different players step up at different times. Non-star players can become the star players and vice versa. Don’t think that you are pigeon-holed the “non-star” player or “star” player. Things change quickly. You can become the star player of a particular game, or season, or following season. The key is to keep working hard and don’t feel bad about an off game or a bad shift.

Pick yourself up and go for it in the next shift or next game. Remember that hockey is a game of mistakes. Recover and learn from the mistakes and move on... no big deal. And remember, even star players in the NHL make mistakes.

Take pride in yourself whatever role you have on the team. Remember, you made that team for a reason, and everybody is an important member and integral to helping the team to victory.

Jeff Serowik is a former NHL player who founded Pro Ambitions Hockey, the largest youth ice hockey training operation in the world.

 

Issue: 
2016-11

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