Your favourite player didn’t make the team. He/she gave it all they could. There was nothing more left in the tank, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t their day, and got cut. At some point, parents are going to have to learn – Being cut from a team it’s part of playing “Rep” hockey. The question – As parents how are we going to “be there” for our kids who didn’t make it?



Since tryouts are happening across the GTHL, I figured this was a great opportunity to write an article about children being cut and how parents can sit down with their children and help him/her cope with not making the team.


I’ve been involved as a player, coach, and trainer in minor hockey for 35 years + and experienced being and making cuts. My first experience being cut back in my playing days was with the York Toros at the “AA” level. I was around 10 years old, and it sucked big time. Being a son of immigrant parents that worked 24 hours, I didn’t get that “Hey Son, don’t worry it’s ok” from them. It wasn’t in their DNA because they never had the experience or opportunity to play organized sports. So, I had to learn to “tough it out” like many other children from immigrant parents that were in the same position as me.


Fast-forward, to when I decided to become a select coach with my local hockey association (Duffield). It was there that I first saw the uglier side of minor hockey – meaning I made my first cut as a coach. And guess what, it sucked big time too! It was one of the hardest things that I had to do. Telling a child “Sorry, but you didn’t make the team” really bothered me, and I wasn’t able to sleep for a month. knowing what I did as a coach and knowing that feeling when I got cut as a kid – It Sucked Big Time!


Being involved in sports as a coach, trainer, and now a writer helped me focus and understand what was/is important for our children. Forget about all the “hockey politics” or the coach who “cut” him/her – What needs to be understood by all parents is to simply be there for your child and help them why they got cut. Turn that negative into a positive.


If your child is a “Bubble Player”, they have three choices to avoid being cut:


Deal With It – By the potential of being cut

Get Much Better – Work your butt off

Quit – Take the easy way


This is a harsh reality when playing “Rep” hockey and in Life as well. For example – You want to get into an Elite College/ University, a Fortune 500 job, or an Entrepreneur you need to be mentally ready for failures, learn from your mistakes, and work your butt off (while being smart too) to succeed. Hockey is no different.



Let’s look at a few Tips that I’ve learned over the year that can parents help their child deal with being cut from a team.




Be The Adult – I have witnessed where parents of kids who were cut from a team who wanted to be on will give the dirtiest looks to the coaching staff. Also, avoid all contact with their friends/neighbours who happened to be on that team throughout the season. Listen, no one likes a grouch. Lighten up, your kid happened to make another team and enjoy the season. Here is the most important part, your child can see how you react (acting like a grouch) and will act exactly like you. If you have a good attitude about a bad situation and have a good talk with your child, they will have the same attitude.


Don’t Call The Coach – Coaching “Rep” hockey is fun. The hardest part of being a coach at the “Rep” level is making the final cuts. Most coaches who are non-parent get paid, but it’s still not an excuse for you to call the coach, give them an earful, and/or criticized their lack of judgment. This is one of the main reasons why organizations are having a tough time finding good coaches


Don’t Call The Association – It’s bad enough that you called the coach there is no need to call the Association. Most local youth hockey Associations are run by volunteers, who just want to make sure the greater good is taken care of throughout the season. The truth is, they likely have little control over who makes the team and who doesn’t. Calling them to complain about your child being cut is just pointless. It’s better to make relationships with the coaches and Association vs. making enemies. It will hurt you and your child in the long run.


Don’t Make Excuses – It is amazing how many times I heard tons of excuses (on how it’s not their child’s fault) from parents made why their child got cut. Just like in life, kids can also have a bad day, an off day, gotten in over their heads (trying out at a much higher level), etc.…  In my experience, no one wants to hear about them, no matter how legitimate they are and can be. The thing any parent can do is learn from this and ask the coach for feedback on what he could be done and how their child can get better. Again, build that relationship.


Be The Example – As I mentioned before, have a good attitude about the cut. If your child gets cut and makes a lower-level team than expected, it will likely give him/her a chance to take on a leadership role both on and off the ice or be that go-to player. This is where parents should take advantage by having a good talk about this great opportunity that he/she will experience and have long-term benefits from playing at this level. This is your job as parents to help your kids to embrace it.


Jargon To Be Aware Of – The top kids are easy to spot and called “locks” players. The next ten are the bubble kids, five make it and five don’t. The math is simple if you want to avoid getting cut, your child needs to put in the work, and get better to become a “lock” player.


In Conclusion


Some of my greatest experiences as a player, trainer, coach, and now as a parent with a child that plays “Rep” hockey came when I had no idea what to expect at tryouts. Making a team with new faces can be exciting and being cut can just downright suck. Regardless of where you end up your child will make new friends, will have a great time and the initial shock of being cut will be a distant memory.


RememberMake The Most Of It & Be There For Them!




Related Article – Tryouts… Parents Are We Talking About Hockey Tryouts

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About Michael Orlotti

Michael has played various levels in Minor Hockey in the old MTHL league, High School Hockey at C.W. Jeffrey’s C.I., College Hockey with Seneca Braves - Now Called Seneca Stingers and was invited to play in Italy for the HC Milano Vipers. Attained his National Coaching Certification Level I & II from Hockey Canada. Also, Coached & Trained Players at various levels starting at the House League and through the GTHL A to AAA levels