As in jumping teams prior to signing a roster or in some cases after a roster has been signed.  This is one of the biggest opportunities within youth hockey today in my opinion.  We have too many instances where a verbal commitment is made and then a change of heart comes along and the jumping begins.  This is something that absolutely needs to be addressed – whether that be locally within districts, state wide via MAHA or across the country through USA Hockey.


There are two sides to this of course – the coaches side and the players side.  Each side contributes to perpetuating the actions on the other side.  When a coach decides to bring in another “better” player after selections are made and cuts a player who was already offered a spot on the team, a ripple effect takes place as that player now begins looking for another place to play.  The opposite is true as well, when a player makes the choice to go to another team it sends the ripple effect the other way.


The problem I see here is that someone is initiating this sequence of events –whether it be a coach who is looking to fill out a roster or increase the skill level within his team or a player who is becomes dissatisfied with his team selection over the summer – maybe during pre season skates or maybe through conversations with other players.  Regardless of where it starts, it needs to stop.


I responded to a message on the mlive forums regarding this topic – my response is below:


All things being equal off the ice, the only reason for a coach to go back on a commitment to a kid is because he is focused on wins and losses.  That is not what youth hockey or youth sports is all about.  You held your tryouts, you selected your team – if you knew you had some “projects” on the team then step up to the challenge and teach them.

As a kid, there are many reasons to switch teams some of which don’t have anything to do with wins and losses – more friends on the other team etc.  However, it is still not acceptable once you have made a commitment to a team.


There should be a personal commitment, supported by integrity that would prevent this from happening.  But reality has proven otherwise.  We need to ask ourselves what values we are instilling in these young athletes when we condone and perpetuate this type of behavior.  What type of adult are we creating when honor and integrity are not priorities?


We have all seen the examples of this type of selfish approach in professional sports.  The athlete who holds out for more money, when millions of dollars are already on the table in compensation for playing a game they supposedly love to play.  The dissatisfied player who doesn’t play to his abilities or refuses to play because he is unhappy with management, the coaching staff, the team etc.  Browse any forum on these topics and you’ll see the negative comments associated with this behavior.  If that is the case, why do we condone this type of behavior from a child and why do we set this example for these children as a coach?


The answer is to lead by example through our actions and words to teach these athletes the importance of honoring your commitment.


See you at the rink.




Filed under AAA hockey, High School Hockey, House Hockey, Tier II - A & AA Hockey, Travel Hockey

5 responses to “Jumping

  1. Willy

    From a legal standpoint, if there is no contract, there is no legal violation, when a child decides to leave a team to play with another team. In fact, of course, a contract would not be legally binding, if one of the party’s is a minor.

    That said, if you accepted a job, and then received an offer for another job which was better for you, i.e., more economical, better position, shorter commute, I think if you wanted that job, you would be foolish to stay with your employer because you did not want to hurt his feelings. That is what I am teaching my child.

  2. TheHockeyScribe


    Thanks for the comment and your opinion on this topic. I have to respectfully disagree in that I feel a person’s word is the foundation for his/her integrity and once given should be honored. It’s not about hurting anyone’s feelings – it is about honoring your word – your word is your bond.

    In your example you mention having accepted a job and then receiving an offer for another “better” job. And while it may be a better position, shorter commute etc. – I still believe that once your word is given you have an obligation to stand by that, to display integrity through your actions – not just give it lip service.

    There are not many companies that don’t state integrity as part of their corporate values – but a company that would accept an individual who has just recently accepted another position must know they are compromising their own integrity by hiring someone who has so recently given their word to another company.

    It’s just my opinion and you are absolutely entitled to yours – and I appreciate your comments on this article.

    The Hockeyscribe.

  3. Willy

    I also appreciate your opinion, but employment is “at will”. There are many loyal people that have lost their jobs lately. I do not think when you accept a job or a position on a hockey team, that you owe your employer or coach control over you. I do not think a future employer would have any issues with the fact that you accepted another position, but because his offer was better for you that you decided to accept his. In fact, he or she would be thrilled that you would be gong to work for him or her. There is nothing wrong ethically or morally with excerising your free will.

  4. TheHockeyScribe

    You make good points. I personally have been impacted indirectly by the troubled Michigan economy and have seen someone who was very loyal to the company for which he worked experience some difficult times as a result of that company’s current challenges. The interesting thing is that it has not dampened his loyalty to that company – even in retirement.

    I also do not believe you have given control to anyone when you commit to a team or an employer – in fact I believe you have entered into a partnership – a symbiotic relationship to perform and be rewarded for performance.

    We obviously view this from slightly different angles and with different perspectives and I respect your opinions. Thanks for sharing them.

    The Hockeyscribe

  5. Chris Coury

    Never in all my 40+ years of hockey have people become so untrustworthy……yes there are coaches (only a few) who will cut some player if a better one comes along but by far the vast majority are players/parents who have no integrity…..they don’t even call to tell you the truth….and don’t even answer the phone when they see who is calling! Detroit/Michigan parents and players are the WORST in the country. Great culture we are developing!

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