For the past three years, mid to late August is a time of renewal. For one, it's back-to-school time, which means the end of summer vacation, staying up late and looking for the best milkshake here in Hockey Bay. As a hockey family, though, this time of the year means something else. It's time to ramp up for another hockey season.
Beginning this week, Colin's 2012-13 campaign begins with two practices: the Pinellas P.A.L. Stars on Monday and the Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning on Tuesday. Next week, he'll add another TBJL practice on Thursday and, most likely, a power-skating session of Wednesday. It'll be that way, too, until next February or March.
After another summer of workouts -- a hockey camp, clinics, skating sessions and many hours out back in the Hockey Laboratory -- the months ahead are an the opportunity to see his efforts pay off. The first tournament of the season is less than two weeks away. His first TBJL games are in less than a month.
Really, he wishes he had games today. It's pretty easy to see that he has something to prove.
With the Jr. Lightning, it's to show that he can play and have fun. Given the unfortunate nonsense that came with the Brandon Jr. Bulls last season, he's looking forward to playing in an organization that values teamwork and camaraderie. Even better, he'll be a part of a new team that has plenty of room to grow.
Win or lose, having fun is our biggest goal this travel-hockey season. It's looking forward to practices. It's wanting to hang out with all of your teammates. It's waking up excited on game days. For him, that's what it's all about. I'll remember, too, that a relaxed state of mind can go a long, long way.
Beyond that, the opportunity with the P.A.L. Stars means he can continue working on his leadership skills. To me, development goes beyond skating and hockey abilities. It's leading by example. It's playing smart. And, like he experienced when he started playing, it's taking a younger player under his wing to show how the game is played.
Here we go.