Is the seriousness of children’s hockey necessary?

It’s time to scream at the ice, bang on the boards and yell at the referees. Yup, it’s hockey season. And before you think I’m talking about the NHL, I’m talking about the little tykes skating around.

Apparently it’s playoff time for the kid leagues in the province. I took in a couple of games that my nephews played last weekend. And despite them still being very young (eight and 10 years old) the seriousness in the stands was something intense.

Mostly it was the parents shouting instructions and directions from the crowd. (Though admittedly my parents — the grandparents of two of the players — were just as vocal.) Whether or not the kids could make out what was being screamed is one of the questions I had.

Nevertheless, there seems to be no separation between fans at an NHL game that are stomping, hooting, hollering and “come on”ing at the game play. The seriousness and competition was evident from my fourth-row seat in the stands watching young children try to figure out the game.

I’m the type of person who claps for both teams. They’re kids, after all. Isn’t the point to encourage everyone to have fun and do their best? Apparently not. I was getting side glares from people when I clapped for the non-family-member team.

If the kid fell and spun out on the ice, he was quickly encouraged/demanded to “Get up, get up, get uuuuuup!” It was intimidating to be around and I wasn’t even on the receiving end of the orders.

Later my brother posted a graphic on Facebook that summed up my thoughts exactly. It said, “Dear Fans, please remember… These are kids. This is a game. Coaches are volunteers. Referees are human. This is not the Stanley Cup finals.”

It sounds like I’m not the only one who caught on to the intensity that is kid’s hockey nowadays. I was overwhelmed just being beside the people. I can’t imagine what arm-chair criticism the kids would be subjected to when they got home.

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