From the Desk of Allyson Tufts: Don't Promise the Draft

From the Desk of Allyson Tufts: Don't Promise the Draft

There are so many ways we can care for our kids and make sure their needs and wants are met. From buying everything on their list at Christmas to making their favourite meal on special occasions. If they want to have a friend over, we can organize the sleep over. If they want to see a movie, we can take them and even buy the popcorn. As they get older and get their licence, we can help to get them their first car and buy them their favourite equipment. But when it comes to hockey, we cannot manipulate the outcome in their favour.

One of the toughest things to do is to listen to your young player as they tell you that the coach was really hard on them or one of their teammates told them they “sucked.” Your first instinct is to bash the coach or the teammate they’re referring to so you can make them feel better. I’m sorry to say, I’ve done that. There is a risk in doing that because as they move to higher levels there are going to be moments that you aren’t going to be able to control and there isn’t going to be one thing you can say to make your young player feel better.

A greater example of this is the draft year. The year your young player puts their heart and soul into getting drafted. There are scouts everywhere and conversations with the coaches are endless. If your child has made it that far, they’ve probably had endless compliments from relatives and friends telling them how good they are. They’ve probably been told by many people that getting drafted is a sure thing. The caution with this is that it doesn’t matter what you’ve “heard”, what the “rumour” is and what a “scout” has promised. Until the moment that draft list goes out you have no idea whether or not your child has been drafted.

I promise you that during this year you are going to want to know long before draft day if your child has made it on that list. I can tell you with 100% certainty there is no way to find out unless your child is at the calibre of Connor McDavid or Austin Mathews. As parents, regardless of what information we “think” we have, we shouldn’t be the ones telling our kids that they are going to be drafted. They will find out on draft day just like everyone else. I’m sorry to say but this is one time as parents that we literally have zero control no matter how hard we try.

This is a story from the book about one of the parents from our team who had been given many promises about his son. He and his son were certain he’d be drafted and planned a party to celebrate.

“The night before Draft Day would be a long one, we decided to go out for dinner. On the way to dinner I got a call from one of our fellow hockey Dads’. He was so excited that both he and our son had been mentioned in the paper as potential draft picks. It was a neat experience for he and my husband to have their sons, who they coached in Rep, be recognized together. He was calling to invite us to his house to follow the draft with them. They were going to have a small party and thought we might want to join them. He had decided to get an agent for his son, and the agent had promised him he’d be picked up by the seventh round. I made an excuse why we couldn’t be there and wished them luck.”

Unfortunately, this young man didn’t get drafted that night. Despite the promises made by the agent, the feedback from the stands, and the group of people around him – the outcome wasn’t what he and his parents were assured it would be. We have no control in this crazy game, it comes down to how our kids play and it comes down to the “powers that be” in hockey that make up that draft list. No matter how good you are at business, making things happen, making connections – this is one deal that you can’t make. Don’t pump your kids up so they know how to celebrate when it happens. Prepare them so they know how to keep moving forward even if it doesn’t.

- Written by Allyson Tufts
Author of Lessons from Behind the Glass