Authors: Todd Millar
The Behind the Scenes Story of Minor Hockey
Copyright © 2013 Todd Millar,
Blooming Twig Books
New York / Tulsa
Front cover design by:
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.
: ISBN 978-1-61343-037-8
: ISBN 978-1-61343-038-5
: ISBN 978-1-61343-039-2
For the children of the game.
Blooming Twig Books
New York / Tulsa
TABLE OF CONTENTS
by JIM PEPLINSKI
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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
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.
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.
Transcript of “Neutrons, Protons, Neurons and Morons,” April 30, 2012 (edited for grammar),
Accessible from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine,