Hockey Canada president suggests kids take a break from hockey this summer

Tom Renney wants your kids to take a break from hockey this summer. In a new video he is very explicit about this, asking parents to, “please understand the value of multi-sport participation.”

For years, Renney coached some of the best hockey players in the world. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi in Edmonton with the Oilers. Henrik Lundvist and Jaromir Jagr in New York with the Rangers. Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, Markus Naslund, and Mark Messier with the Vancouver Canucks.

“To a man, the great players that I’ve had the opportunity to be around, to watch, and in many cases, coach, have all participated in other sports,” he says.

Now, Renney is the president and CEO of Hockey Canada. Along with the smartest minds in hockey, he sets the program for the game in Canada, ensuring that young players get the best instruction and our country can continue to be among the competitive best.

The importance of multi-sport participation for kids is a message that has become resounding lately, and for good reason. Everything we know about how kids develop and what’s good for them tells us that kids need to change it up.

Renney wants kids to keep playing and to keep active, and suggests that kids benefit from expanding their minds and using their “physical assets in a completely different way.”

Over the course of the last hockey season, Renney has been issuing inspirational and instructional videos. This is his last one until the fall. He’s taking a break, too.

He doesn’t suggest that you have to stop loving and thinking about hockey. Just that you, and your kids, do something else for a few months,

What is it that you and your kids will do?

11 responses to “Hockey Canada president suggests kids take a break from hockey this summer

  1. Parental and athlete burnout is a consideration. I have lamented over this some time, and after last summer vowed never again to have my kids in AAA Summer leagues. Hockey took up our entire summer, nearly every weekend was a game or tournament and we never got to do anything else. It was my choice, based on both kids enthusiasm to continue playing. Those beautiful summer weekends where we were in an arena prevented us from being out boating, swiming, fishing and having family fun. I believe that it was beneficial for both kids to be on the ice all summer, they both hit the ice this past fall full stride, but we were overwhelmed with duty at the rink and seemingly never got a break. (We did, it went by so fast) I am hoping that my kids will go on to play college hockey, where ever that me be, I have done all I can to get them ready. I have a new plan this year though, track in the spring, cycling in summer and early fall, their cardio will still be on target for skating, and with that in mind, I think that they will be much more eager to practice and put more into practice while they are there. I am trying this in 2020, we will see how it goes. They are young and have plenty of time to prepare for what comes up next.

  2. I agreed however if you want to play aa or aaa and other players are on the ice in summer time it Will be tough to be at the same level when training camp will come.
    I know on a long term it should be better but you must make the team in September in order to stay with the best during the winter

  3. The amount of times a week that kids are on the ice in minor hockey at the AAA or AA level varies from 4-6 days a week. Depends on tournaments and extra programs kids are put into. Could be more…could be less at xmas. This level of hockey “officially” starts in mid August and can run to mid April, then tryouts for next season start. Allot of the kids will play on spring hockey teams which could be 2/3/4 or more tournaments plus practices. Spring hockey ends mid June or end of June. Some kids will do power in spring. Some kids will have been playing soccer or baseball or lacrosse all spring aswell.

    So really 1.5 to 2 months without hockey, however some kids do camps a few weeks in the summer and/or power or skills programs.

    Repetative strain injuries are a reality in young athletes these days who specialize.

    I would say most high level athletes never leave the game for long now a days but they also do another sport. I feel checking out from the mental side of the game will rejuvenate kids. Each child has a different appetite for their sport.

    The top kids will generally always be tops and love to skate and play the game. They may just be easy going or maybe want to be the best. They may play Jr. But the top 1% of the 1% who get drafted and sign a contract with the NHL and make it to full pension is just that…”1% of 1%”.

    Respect, Be on time, Work hard, Play fair and love the GAME for what it is.

  4. I believe it depends on the amount of on ice time the players receive in the winter months. Gretzky advocated Kids playing many sports off season, but then again he was on his backyard rink, and at the arena many hours each day during hockey season.
    Many countries have their advanced hockey players training year round. In hockey, as other sports repetition is very important. I think recreationally hanging up the skates in the summer is fine. But at advanced levels, keep em on the ice, as well as play other sports on days off.

    1. Wrong.
      Gretzky had a backyard rink…. he didnt play on it in June.

      Advanced players? Less than 1 percent of kids make the NHL. Of those 99 that do t, more than half lose interest after Junior and university because they were overplayed.

      Year round hockey is ruining kids. They need more skills. They need to run, to jump, to swing, to swim, to kick, to slide. They need to develop muscles that arent being developed from only hockey.

  5. The only this has a chance to happen is if it is mandated. Even modified ice hockey has grumblers in the GTA (notably the NYHL) after it has been mandated for well over a year now. There has to be teeth to these mandates and clubs that draw players only during that sports regular season should get funding from the NSO and Sport Canada.

  6. I agree wholeheartedly! Kids won’t bring the same energy and excitement into a new hockey season without taking a break. Over the last couple years, our son has moved from houseleague, to AE, and now to AA. While it’s tempting to work on his hockey skills leading up to this AA season, we are doing what we’ve always done – hauled the hockey gear to the basement and brought up the soccer, swim, and basketball gear for the summer. He will improve his endurance, speed, strength, agility, and team skills – all without putting on the skates. Summer is for sunshine and open spaces with friends. I think he will start this upcoming season with a little more excitement because he’s had a good break.

  7. Hello,
    Great and educational video. I currently have my 8 year old son enrolled in lacrosse, ball hockey and summer baseball.

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