Corey Perry, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Jonathan Toews, Eric Staal, Marc
Staal, Jordan Staal and locals Kevin Bieksa, Cory Conacher, Josh Jooris, Jordan
Szwarz, Josh Anderson, Brett Fleming, Mike Folkes, Scott Tanski, Stephen
Harper, Justin Scott, Brian McGregor, top OHL playoff scoring Defenseman Travis
Dermott and the vast majority of all players that play or have played in the
NHL, OHL, NCAA and other levels of pro hockey have in common?
They all played minor hockey in their hometown or region! They didn’t change schools or make a hockey move in an effort to find a magical solution to get to higher levels of hockey. Contrary to the beliefs of some, the grass is not always greener elsewhere. There is something to be said about playing for your hometown with your friends and school mates. There is something very special about representing your hometown and working as a team towards common and individual goals. Our Eagles players are truly fortunate to be able to represent one of Canada’s greatest cities.
It’s a well reported success story on how the Staal’s honed their skills playing on their full sized backyard rink often under the lights. Who hasn’t seen videos of the “Great One” working his magic under the tutelage of Walter Gretzky? Perhaps the time and money spent driving back and forth on the highway looking for ways to improve one’s skills, exposure and game knowledge could be put to better use. We are extremely lucky in Burlington to have affordable and easy access to some of the world’s best on and off ice training facilities and instruction.
Lastly, who wouldn’t want to see the City of Burlington build some outdoor rinks where our children can go out and play, improve their skills and just have some fun? It’s a lot easier with today’s technology to build lasting outdoor rinks and yet Burlington is lacking in that area. We build these beautiful one season outdoor basketball courts and artificial turf soccer and football fields but stop short of creating year round playground access and winter opportunities for our youth. We should share this article with our Councillors and ask if there are any plans to build multi-use year round summer basketball and winter skating rinks like those built in many smaller communities than ours. Until it becomes a reality however; it might be worthwhile to team up with neighbours and build that nice backyard or neighborhood rink like the ones many of us enjoyed when we grew up playing the great game of hockey. Playing on outdoor rinks is where children learn to be creative. It’s where they can handle a puck without being told what to do. It’s where hockey was meant to be played!! Help us make this a reality in Burlington.
I have heard lately that councillors are starting to listen and will be presented a plan by Parks and Recreation staff, to add outdoor rinks to the “winter” plan. As I stated earlier, we live in the best city in Canada mainly because of forward thinking people who positively influence the people and infrastructure of our great community. Let’s keep reminding them and showing our support.
Coordinator of Player and Coach Development