With the American college admission scandal being plastered over every news outlet, the hockey community could stand to take an inward look at itself. While nothing quite as egregious as “Aunt Becky” shelling out hundreds of thousands of her Full House dollars to secure a spot at a prestigious college for her socialite daughters is going on, there are some questionable actions taking place behind a thin veil of ice.
Every year there’s an infusion of new talent into leagues across the globe. Each player comes with their form of a support system, which is most commonly centered around their parents. Seems harmless, right? For the most part, yes. Just like the children of Hollywood, there’s a handful of newly minted contenders taking the ice with an over-zealous parent or two in their corner.
Over-Zealous May Be an Understatement
There are parents out there who go “the extra mile” when it comes to their kid’s athletic careers. There are also parents who take it to an entirely different level. I’m not talking about the crowd who swear their kid is the next Wayne Gretzky and send them to the pricey development camps. I’m referring to the super elite band of parents who spend their entire adult life living vicariously through their offspring. The exclusive club of parents who go above and beyond to do some unsensible things in an attempt to set their child apart.
It wouldn’t have been a stretch of the imagination if someone told you a parent reached out to an accredited website requesting that said website “fix” their child’s stats. Mistakes happen, the internet is full of misinformation, right? But these days, trying to sell the “correct my players’ stats” story is a whole new ball game.
Parents, coaches, and even players themselves are going to new lengths to upsell themselves. They’re looking to draw the attention of scouts at various points in their careers. Buying domain names and creating fake websites in an attempt to legitimize their claims. They’re posting bogus stats and reporting them to sites that are well-known for their authenticity and crying for corrections. There have been rumblings of players requesting that sites add in statistics for leagues they’ve never even played in. There have even been rumors of parents writing their own scouting reports. What’s worse is they’re submitting them to be published.
The End Game
Now, any level headed person would think “this won’t end well.”. Assuming you can submit any information to credible websites and expect them to publish it is assinine. Expecting them to publish it after reviewing your fake website full of imaginary stats is just ignorant.
Do the people going through all this extra trouble believe that scouts depend solely on random scouting reports? That they rely on a weekly stat check from whatever website is at the top of their Google search? By some stroke of luck, if someone out there does buy into the “update my players’ statistics because according to www.absolutelycorrectandlegitstats.com your numbers are wrong!” email they send out, what good will it do in the long run?
Think about it. If you’ve got a player that’s solid, but “average”, are you really doing them a favor by padding their numbers? First of all, if their production looks good on paper, that could draw attention from scouts. That’s normally a good thing. But if the player isn’t going to produce those actual numbers in real life, you’re setting them up for failure. Even if they did get into the big leagues with the “fake it til you make it” mentality, the odds of them putting up what their false reports promised is slim.
Secondly, what is with the wave of parents thinking their child is more deserving of a shot in the NHL than another? So much so that they need to secure it by any means necessary? Any means except actually earning it that is.
The Entitlement Factor
Entitlement. Such a deep-rooted factor in the sports community. Parents think their kids deserve a chance to play on the big stage. There’s a “win by any means” mentality going around, and it’s being ingrained into young athletes. Parents who find it acceptable to fake scouting reports and statistics are essentially telling their children that if they can’t get to where they want to go off of their hard work and dedication, they should lie their way in because they’re entitled to be there.
It’s an alarming trend. While it’s being splattered across news outlets in America and running rampant through Hollywood, it’s influence in the hockey community shouldn’t be ignored.
Feature Image Credit – (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)