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article imageOp-Ed: Hockey vs. School — Why not just combine them? Special

By Chace Elliott     Sep 28, 2012 in Sports
Sports in our society take precedence over school work and in Canada that sport is usually hockey. Kids and parents alike dream big of the NHL but what do the children's report cards look like and how can we fix them?
Kids in Canada are being brought up to be completely involved in sport and to dedicate everything they have to it. Hockey is a major problem to the grades of many high school students. In the lives of the majority of students playing high-level hockey, there is only one thing on their mind and that is the game itself with academics often taking a back seat. If marks were linked to the sport not only would kids graduate with higher grades but they would be blessed with more opportunities to have a better chance of success. There is no telling to where kids would go after high school if hockey were linked to grades in some way or another.
High school may be tough and unappealing to many student athletes when it should in fact be a main priority. After high school we are being thrown into the 21st century job market where marks and education are almost an essential key to success. Sure there are other qualities that are taken into account but none like education. Almost every player that is at an elite level dreams about going to the NHL or at least playing junior and is driven to succeed at this goal. Little do they realize that it is the education that is going to be able to help them reach their full potential not only as an athlete but also human beings. Only the very elite ever get the chance to make the NHL but the opportunities to move on in the sport are endless. With a focus on schooling and good grades athletes are able to play pretty much wherever they want at the college level. Every team after division two NCAA looks for the smartest athlete not for the best and reward scholarships based on academic performance.
With this ever-increasing pressure to be a smart athlete, students shouldn’t be placing their focus on hockey but instead it should be on school as well. Graduation with higher grades means more opportunities for everything not only for scholarships to move onto the next level. With more cooperation between the schools and minor hockey systems athletes would be forced to concentrate on both school and hockey without letting school fall by the way side. The players that are going to succeed in hockey will still do so even though they have to spend a little more time on their schooling and the kids that fail to keep up on their schooling will be forced to change in order to do so in order to fulfill their love of the game. Marks from high school are always going to haunt you when you are trying to move onto anything that requires an education.
Having hockey linked to school may have its draw backs but in the end it would only benefit the athlete. There are so many aspects of the game that are linked to the ones being taught in school. There is respect, honour, pride and the drive to succeed, all of which are lifelong traits and are keys to success. There are times when a student is not able to look up to a teacher or school staff member as a mentor or role model when they really need one and that is where their coach can come in. From experience this places a negative vibe on the school setting and a positive one on the hockey setting but this could change. If they were linked students would be able to view a coach as part of the school and the school as part of the team in which neither one would have a negative vibe placed on it.
An avid hockey fan and parent, Tamara Hagel has this to say about linking the two, “Yes...I think that minor hockey and the schools should partner together. Schools have volleyball, badminton, basketball, track, curling and football. Many of these sports have professional leagues. There is no reason why hockey couldn't be included in our schools. I believe in opportunities... it should be offered to all levels. Great way to start the Mentorship Programs! Grade 1 is a good time. The kids are in school full time. Combining grades 1-2, 3-4,5-6 ect... Same concept as Dynamites, Novice, Atom, PeeWee ect.”
Of course something like this will not happen over night, but the reward could most likely out weigh the effort. An opinion from one hockey parent states, “If the Educational Institutions wants these kids for the sport...then they need to provide tutoring, online courses and extra tools to help them succeed.” Someone needs to step up and implement these changes, if not for us then they should be doing it for the students!
Academics are the key to anything you want to do in life and sports are most times no more successful than a hobby. These sports though are able to take away from the school because they are very important to student athletes. If academics and school were linked together, there would be no telling of the success rates for the many athletes that come out of high school and the opportunities for these athletes would increase significantly. After all one mom stated “Sometimes the pressure to perform takes precedence over education.” Now tell me in what education system or society that this is something to encourage? It may be more work for the adults involved to make this coordination happen but in the end having more opportunities for the athletes would be well worth it. Schools and hockey associations alike say that the athlete and student always come first so why should they not interact with eachother?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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