The Heart of Hockey
Tyler Smith
Former Junior Hockey player for Humboldt Broncos & Founder of Not Alone co.

“Hockey is a sport comprised of community, camaraderie, culture and character.”

I’m not here to write about myself. I am here to write about how individuals long for a community that they feel a part of and how the hockey community has the power to allow individuals to have a sense of belonging and recognition. Around 40% of kids nowadays unfortunately don’t feel like they belong and that is alarming to read.

Hockey is a sport comprised of community, camaraderie, culture and character. And as our incredible late Coach Darcy Haugan said, “character determines success.” Hockey has become focused so much on success that at times we tend to overlook what this game is capable of and how important individual, team and organization character is. From Ben Stelter, to Jonathan Pitre, to our Humboldt Bronco family, to everybody that has been impacted by KidSport, to the PWHL, this game we love can do so much good, for everyone.

The next time you stare around your dressing room, or the stands in your local arena, take a second to remember that there are people around you that consider the rink their home, their safe space, their comfort zone. Hockey is a physical sport, but the mental and emotional side of this sport deserves more time and space. I’ll always come back to it, people long for community. Make sure you are doing your part to ensure that an environment and culture that your teammates want to be a part of has been established and maintained. A culture built on love, family, kindness, loyalty, respect, all of the words that we know about and see frequently… but this time around, think about them a little extra and a little harder. The core covenant that Coach Darcy built for us as Broncos is a big reason as to why I try to be the human I am today. Because we can all do our best to become good hockey players or good athletes, but being a good human is what we need to focus on.

Let’s get to a place, together, where we remember why this game has helped so many and shaped so many communities across Canada.

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