How to be the perfect hockey parent

It feels as though former NHL player Scott Young was talking to the hockey factories of Minnesota when he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame this week in Boston.

In paying tribute to his parents, Young, a Massachusetts lad, seemed to dismiss the new age of hockey parenting in which parents push their kids into the factory prep schools in a desperate bid for NHL stardom.

It was a 19-minute speech but you can zoom right to 12:15 for his lesson about perfect hockey parenting.

“They didn’t have a plan,” he said. “It was never, ‘you have to go play for this coach because he’s the one who will teach you how to skate the best.’ Or ‘you have to go to this prep school because that’s the one that will get you a D-1 scholarship.'”

“They just wanted me to enjoy playing hockey and they loved watching me play hockey,” he added. “That was it; there was nothing else.”

What made a difference for Young?

Disco.

His dad tried to play him a song in his 8-track player when Young was 8.

“And the lyrics were, ‘you don’t have to be a star, baby, to be in my show.’ And that summed up my parents’ attitude about me playing youth hockey. I didn’t have to score goals. I didn’t have to be the best player on the ice. I just had to have fun.”

His dad died in 1999. But he told his mom, “you did it right.”

When your kids are grown and gone, you want them to talk about you just like that.

Scott Young celebrates a goal in 1997. AP Photo

Young also relayed a Herb Brooks story of some note.

“We (the U.S. Olympic team) were in Salt Lake, we were doing really well. We didn’t lose a game until we got into the gold-medal game. All the news was all about Herb and how he was undefeated. [There was] the ’80 gold medal game, and we were going strong. It was all about Herb.

“He came on the ice with a box. It was a box of USA Hockey pens. He took out a pen one by one and skated up to each one of us and said, “Here, write your own story.”

“He didn’t want it to be about him. He wanted it to be about us.”

(h/t: Paul Tosto)