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The ideas of play, love and excel are the foundation that the ADM is built on. Once the kids are on the ice and playing, the game itself can only take them so far. There need to be reasons to love the game. And if all they’re doing is playing hockey 365 days a year, there’s a good chance the game they’re supposed to love becomes more of a chore than a passion. That amount of exposure too early on can put undue stress and pressure on them and give the kids plenty of reasons not to love hockey.


Playing the game is where kids learn that the game is, in its simplest form, fun. By mixing in age- appropriate training and practice with an introduction to skills and athleticism, kids will have even more fun. And to keep it fun, there should be a low priority placed on winning and losing and a high priority placed on just introducing the game to a young kid.


Once kids learn to play the game and begin to develop skills and athleticism, hockey begins to take priority among their other activities. Skills become more refined, their physical and mental makeup is stronger and the friendships they developed early on continue to grow. The games become more important, and hockey in general becomes a bigger part of their lives.


Now that they play and love the game, a higher premium can be placed on excelling at it. Tougher competition and more of a focus on mastering skills play an increased role in their development. Hockey starts to take a larger priority over other activities. But, above all, the game is still fun and the friendships that were forged back in Mites are as strong as ever. The bottom line is that if we can give kids reasons to stick with the game, we can unlock their potential and help them excel at the game they play and love.