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Authors: Todd Millar

Moron

MORON

The Behind the Scenes Story of Minor Hockey

Copyright © 2013 Todd Millar,
www.toddmillarspeaking.com

Published by:

Blooming Twig Books

New York / Tulsa
www.bloomingtwig.com

Front cover design by:
Roman Kaufmann
www.desiigo.com

All rights reserved. This book may not be photocopied for personal or professional use. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without permission in writing from the author and/or publisher.

Hardcover
: ISBN 978-1-61343-037-8
Paperback
: ISBN 978-1-61343-038-5
eBook
: ISBN 978-1-61343-039-2

First Edition

For the children of the game.

Todd Millar

Blooming Twig Books

New York / Tulsa

FOREWORD

by JIM PEPLINSKI

W
hat is virtuous about hockey today? What is virtuous about any sport? Why bother playing at all?

When I was a kid 40 years ago, minor and profes­sional sports were more similar than they are today. I believe minor sport today too often imi­tates the pros, with a misguided view that such imitation is good. Instead, “real” minor sports should continue to focus on teaching our children respect, ethics, honor, teamwork, playing within the rules, the value of relationships, and learning how to win and lose. Professional sport doesn’t teach values, it reveals them.

  • Real sport is five kids piling into a car, driving to practice, talking about the day, and looking forward to sweating.
  • Real sport is a bunch of kids playing road hockey or pick up baseball, and missing dinner because they got so engaged in the game.
  • Real sport doesn’t require 13-year-olds to wear ties at games, be at the rink 90 minutes before a game, miss school for practices, sit around on expensive ice, straining to hear a coach talking about something, or sitting in the stands counting face offs.
  • Real sport is please and thank you.
  • Real sport is when your son or daughter loves the sport so much that they will do the dishes and cut the lawn so you get some time to yourself before driving them to their activity.
  • Real sport is fast, hard practices with game-like drills that leave you spent after 45 minutes.
  • Real sport is hockey, but also swimming, wrestling, badminton, tennis, golf, and soc­cer – sports that you can play for decades.
  • Real sport keeps kids playing, and whether they ever reach a podium or win a Stanley Cup, keeping individuals participating longer is part of the biggest victory – the victory of making a positive difference in someone’s life and our community. This is what is virtuous about sport.

There are a number of elements in
Moron: The Behind the Scenes Story of Minor Hockey
that I believe are debatable, including the title. What are not debatable, in my view, are the author’s good intentions, accurate observations, and calls to action. Millar has put his integrity and considera­ble experience into these pages, and it shows. Moron will challenge you to look at the reality of the behaviors and the environment of minor hockey in Canada, and decide if you want to make a difference in the game.

We won’t all be lucky enough to play in the NHL or the Olympics, but we can make a very positive difference by ensuring that the real lessons of sport are cemented in our behaviour. When we learn these lessons, we will also perform better in busi­ness, and better in life.

Jim Peplinski
is a former professional National Hockey League player and captain of the Calgary Flames. He played for the Canadian National Team in the 1988 Winter Olympics, and after ten years in professional hockey, he promised himself that he would retire from hockey if his team won the Stanley Cup. The Flames won in 1989, and Peplinski followed through on his promise. He has since gone on to have many successes in the business sector, including his role as Vice President of Business Development with the only team he competed for, the Calgary Flames.

PREFACE

T
here is a problem inside of minor hockey. As both a father of a hockey player and as a volunteer at all levels of minor hockey in Canada, I would be hard-pressed to recommend hockey as a place for kids to go and participate in minor sports.

95% of minor hockey is wonderful. The game of hockey is incredible, and I have really enjoyed my time working with my son and countless other kids in the hockey system. But that 5% of problems is a big problem, and could well jeopardize the future of the sport in Canada.
1

I am only one voice, but I have seen just about every angle of the minor hockey world, from play­ing hockey as a kid, to being a father on the side­lines during my son’s games, to coaching and ref-ereeing countless games, to sitting in boardrooms and talking about the workings of the organization, and finally serving a term as President of Hockey Calgary (before stepping down amidst controversy surrounding a blog entry I wrote entitled, “Neu­trons, Protons, Neurons and Morons,” which has since been called, “The Moron Memo”).

I share my stories with you between these covers, but my stories are by no means the only stories out there. I would like this to be the beginning of a discussion, because such a conversation is sorely needed, if we are to save our beloved sport of mi­nor hockey in Canada. We need to make change, and it’s up to you to join me, and help me to en­sure that this sport will remain safe and fun for our children long into the future.

Within minor hockey, I see that we have six main problems. Throughout this book, I attempt to ex­plain why I believe these problems need to be ad­dressed in order to save minor hockey in Canada.

  1. Safety of our kids. Especially with regard to body checking.
  2. The issue of Fair Play, and the rules and regulations surrounding it.
  3. Bullying, which comes in many shapes and sizes inside of the game of hockey.
  4. Respect in Sport.
  5. Volunteerism, and how we can fix the volunteer system.
  6. Adults are the real issue, not the players.

Here’s an invitation. Please reach out to me direct­ly via my website, blog, or social media sites (I do monitor them daily), and share your story with me. I know that there are many perspectives on every situation, and I welcome the discussion that will ensue. We all share the common desire to make this sport better, safer, and more fun for our children. So, let’s communicate for their sake!

Let’s continue the conversation, and always remember,
it’s about the kids
.

Todd Millar, March 2013

Hockey
Calgary Boss Resigns Over Body Checking "Moron Memo"

September 23, 2012

When contacted late last week regarding a controversial blog of his that used the word moron 14 times to describe those who disagreed with banning hitting in Peewee (ages eleven and twelve), Millar said he'd resign if opposition to his leaked rant grew too loud.

Late Sunday afternoon he made good on that promise, reit­erating that he never intended for his blog to be disseminat­ed as it was by minor hockey opponents ...

The blog post was written April 30 in the midst of a cam­paign aimed at educating parents bfore a city-wide vote in June that wound up shooting down a body checking ban in Peewee.

-
Eric Francis, Calgary Sun

Hockey Calgary President's Resignation Over Critical Blog Post a "Loss" for Organization

September 24, 2012

Hockey Calgary is disappointed their president decided to resign following controversy surrounding a personal blog post in which he decried opponents of banning body check­ing in Peewee hockey as "morons. "

On Sunday, Todd Millar I ft his volunteer role as presi­dent of Alberta's largest minor hockey association after a rant he penned in April and posted on his website was cir­culated among members of Hockey Calgary ...

Millar told the Herald he was disappointed to leave Hock­ey Calgary, adding that calling people morons is not how he wanted to end his tenure with the organization.

"There's certainly some disappointment, but I respect the fact that (this) was my own doing, "Millar said ...

"Hop fully something good comes from what's transpired here in the last 24 hours, " Millar said. "Maybe that's bringing the attention back to the body checking debate. "

-
Annalise Klingbeil, Calgary Herald


Neutrons, Protons, Neurons and Morons

Also known as

The Moron Memo

Published April 30, 2012,
2
on my blog

Neutrons, Protons and Neurons are all common in Science and things I know virtually nothing about. [However] Morons are something that I am be­coming all too familiar with in the last few weeks.

Wikipedia defines Morons as [the following]:


Moron” was coined in 1910 from the Ancient Greek word
moros,
which meant “dull” as opposed to oxy, which meant “sharp”, and used to describe a person with a mental age in adulthood of between 8 and twelve. It was once applied to people with an IQ of 51-70, being superior in one degree to “imbecile” (IQ of 26-50) and superior in two degrees to “idiot” (IQ of 0-25). The word moron, along with others including, “idiotic,” “imbecilic,” “stupid,” and “feeble-minded,” was formerly considered a valid de­scriptor in the psychological community, but it is now deprecated in use by psychologists.

The informal definition or non-clinical definition is one I can relate to given all the current events in my hockey life: “a person who is notably stupid or lacking in good judgment.”

I am not a psychologist and I am certainly not about to analyze the term moron or any aspect of the term, however, I most certainly have come to appreciate the relationship between a moron (in the non-clinical sense) and parental behaviour in Hockey. I listened to a young elite hockey player stand before a group of parents [tonight] at a Hockey Calgary [awards banquet]. This young man (17 years of age) made more sense to me then many adults who on a regular basis feel absolutely compelled to expressing their views on every as­pect of the key topics in hockey. The young man stood before a room full of adults (100 plus) and shared his view on his experience as a young hockey player growing up in Calgary. At one point he talked about how every year at evaluation time it was the parents who got more excited and bent out of shape than the players. The players just wanted to play hockey. They could care less as to who was on what team or line. It was always the parents who had the issues. A very astute perspec­tive and very accurate from a young man leaving minor hockey.

The game of hockey in the minors, I am told, has always had the issues that it has today. Apparently, we all are supposed to simply accept the game the away it is and never allow any change, even when knowledge is provided that clearly suggests change is required. Yes, I am talking about the body checking debate here in Calgary. Hockey Calgary has made a motion that body checking be re­moved from Peewee Hockey and parts of Bantam and Midget going forward. Five years of scientific studies and copious amounts of data all point to the rationale. The research, in short, clearly identi­fies that there is a 33% increase that a player in a body checking Peewee category (ages elev­en/twelve) will potentially experience a major in­jury and/or concussion than a player in a non body checking environment. In other words allow body checking and you will keep the ambulances busy. Don’t, and you will save children. How many: 33% of the kids in Calgary playing Peewee (approximately 500 per year). In Calgary, I have been on every radio station, in every paper, many TV stations and on all the major news networks sharing the message. Seems simple, right? Well here is the deal: there are so many morons in this game that cannot understand that by simply changing a simple rule you will save the wellbeing of eleven- and twelve-year-olds. These morons ha­ven’t even taken the time to read the research. I would welcome the argument from any one of them if they would simply read the research and provide me any scientific research that argued the data that Hockey Calgary has published on its website. But they cannot. Why? Because it doesn’t exist.

So, although it is not politically correct or ac­ceptable in the psychological profession to use the term “moron,” Wikipedia does have it right; these parents, hockey fans, and in some cases, custodi­ans of hockey associations (a real embarrassment to volunteerism) truly fit a portion of the defini­tion: a person with a mental age in adulthood be­tween 8 and twelve. I guess I should just ask the kids if they want to have body checking. They just might have a better view on the game than the morons. Just like the young man speaking at the AGM. He gets it.

Apparently this moronic argument is all about de­velopment and whether we are developing WHL and NHL hockey players. Well the question so appropriately put to me by one reasonable parent with a recent email asks, “
What level of risk do I feel is acceptable for my child to be exposed to, now knowing the scientific data on the effects on body checking in Peewee hockey?”
Now, that is a sobering question from a non-moron. Yes there are plenty of reasonable people out there; our problem is [that] the morons are louder.

It is said that leadership, and truly leading the way, is a lonely and challenging role. It is, and that statement couldn’t be truer. I applaud the Board of Hockey Calgary for all their hard work and their leadership. Their decision and direction is absolutely correct. Children’s safety should come before any of the moronic arguments I have heard during the announcement of the motion to change the game.

One can only hope that sanity will prevail. Even the morons say the game is all about fun. I guess [for them] it is fun to watch eleven- and twelve-year-olds getting injured.

Don’t give up, Calgary, sanity will prevail and the morons who have opposed so many well-researched things in the past (seat belt laws, smok­ing age limits, drinking and driving etc.) will lose this battle, too. It is just going to take some time.

Here is to Body Contact, not Body Checking, for the children’s sake.

_________________

1
95% is a subjective and estimated figure. I don’t have any concrete studies to support this claim, but would be interested to hear about any, so please drop me a line if you find one. When I refer to this figure throughout the book, it is intended to be an approximation, for the sake of argument.

2
Transcript of “Neutrons, Protons, Neurons and Morons,” April 30, 2012 (edited for grammar),
http://rtmillarholdingsinc.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/neutrons-protons-neurons-and-morons/.
Accessible from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine,
http://bit.ly/moron-blog
.

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