“Are your kids in any competitive sports?”
It’s a simple question, but one that instantly puts me on the defensive. Because let’s be honest; in the past few years, kids’ sports have become increasingly competitive, to the point where competition – and winning – are the main undercurrents of the program. In fact, while both Ryder and Reid participated in house league soccer for years, we recently pulled Reid from the program.
It’s not a big deal. The team was fine, the coach was fine, but there was definitely an emphasis on winning – a slightly uncomfortable emphasis, if I’m being honest. One day, as I watched Reid, running head down and visibly frustrated, I realized one thing: it wasn’t fun for him anymore.
And kids’ sports are supposed to be FUN.
This past Christmas, both Ryder and Reid received their first pairs of ice skates. I know what you’re thinking – if there’s one sport that has a reputation for competitiveness, it’s hockey. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
McDonald’s Canada believes kids’ hockey should be fun. That’s why they sponsor more than 53,000 Atom and Bantam hockey players across Canada each year. The atoMc Hockey Program provides teams a full set of primary game jerseys and socks, featuring the Hockey Canada logo – the same worn by Canada’s National teams.
But what makes atoMc Hockey different? Simple. atoMc Hockey is all about TEAMWORK. Being a great teammate can be exemplified in a variety of ways, and in minor hockey these qualities are not always seen on the scoresheet. Cheering on teammates from the bench or showing strong commitment to the team during practices and games may go unnoticed at times, but atoMc Hockey believes it is important to recognize and celebrate these acts of sportsmanship throughout the season.
The Golden Moment jersey, which is provided to each atoMc team at the beginning of the season, is awarded to one player after each game who demonstrates the meaning of being a great teammate. The Golden Moment could be awarded for on-ice accomplishments, encouraging teammates, or by improving as a hockey player from one game to the next.
I absolutely love this, and will be seeking out house leagues in our area that are supported by atoMc Hockey. It fits in *perfectly* with how I envision kids’ sports to be: fun and collaborative.
Recently, courtesy of McDonald’s Canada, we attended a 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship hockey game between Canada and USA. Before the game, we checked out the atoMc Seriously Fun FanZone, an interactive area where fans of all ages had the chance to test their hockey skills and meet Team Canada alumni – all while taking in the experience of the World Junior tournament.
While the game was exciting for the boys, the FanZone gave them a chance to find the fun in hockey!
Will my boys go on to play the sport competitively… and maybe even professionally? Maybe! Until then, I have just one wish – that they enjoy the game, and use their participation as a way to build their skills, confidence and sportsmanship.
And, of course, I want them to have fun!
This post is sponsored by McDonald’s Canada. The atoMc Hockey program supports house league atom teams across Canada (excluding Quebec) and is the only minor hockey sponsorship initiative endorsed by Hockey Canada.