Hockey is one of the world’s most popular sports and for good reason: the action never stops and there’s a wonderful community feel among fans. The sport is most popular in countries like Canada and Russia, but the sport is enjoying a wider appeal these days.
Hockey teams at the lower levels can come and go – take the Belleville Bulls as an example – but the truly legendary players leave a mark that endures throughout history. What exactly are the qualities of a brilliant hockey player, though? Here’s a closer look.
Above all else, the greatest hockey players are capable of being coached. Despite their natural talents and a desire to play their own way, the best players are able to see themselves as a part of the wider whole and submit to the will of the coach.
When a hockey player behaves this way, they help the coach to exercise control over the team and really shape the strategy. If players are disruptive and egoistic, though, they can really derail a team and squander their abilities: coaches will not suffer disruptive personalities for too long.
Hockey is an immensely physical game where every single second counts. The best players understand that hockey isn’t about fighting to win in just one big game – it’s fighting for every single inch and second of dominance.
The game is physical and tough – hockey players bear a lot of scars for the sport that they love. As such, only the most competitive players are able to fight through the aches and pains to continue vying for excellence.
Many people idealize the idea of being a star athlete, but the best players bear a commitment towards the game rather than a lifestyle. The truly great hockey players throughout the ages have played because of genuine love for the game and a commitment to success.
Some players can be very naturally gifted but still, lack that level of commitment that is required to excel. Natural abilities and attitudes are no substitute for genuine and enduring commitment.
As we touched on early, hockey is a very physical game and emotions can run high at any given moment. When you also consider the additional stresses and strains of being an athlete, some players can crumble under the pressure.
This is why it’s so important that players are able to pay attention to the mental side of the game and take care of their mental wellbeing. The best players throughout history have wrestled with stress and pressure, finding a way to balance these negative factors and still perform each week.
True greats like Howe and Gretzky undoubtedly paid close attention to their mental health and developed the mental fortitude to succeed and inspire in the fact of stress and pressure.
We hope that this closer look at what makes a hockey player great has been interesting to you. Hockey is an immensely popular game and we are very fortunate that some talented individuals are able to balance the above characteristics to delight us each week.