Hockey media has always been focused on what happens on the ice during a game, and what people get compensated for their performances.
Other hockey news focuses on their life and scandals that occur, treating players as though they need to be perfect in every way. What never gets reported on is the number of hours athletes have to spend in the arena practicing, away from family, and being ridiculed by the public for even the smallest slip-up.
Cole Perfetti Interview and Background
From a young age, players are separated from their families if they want to play in the CHL. This was attested to by Winnipeg Jets player Cole Perfetti. During his time in the OHL, Perfetti moved to play with the Saginaw Spirit at age 16, which saw him have to move to the States and live with a billet family.
While his billet family was extremely accommodating, this experience can be a massive step for someone so young, as they still are used to depending on their parents, and forces children to mature rather quickly. While this can be extremely useful for personal development, it can also be extremely difficult for someone so young to be taken away from everything they’ve known to that point.
Perfetti spoke to this by stating “It was hard because you moved out at 16, right? So you’re still kinda young, you still depend on your parents then. It’s a big big change to just kind of move away and live with a new family that you don’t know.”
As well, during this time the media slamming begins, as from the young age of 16 players are expected to be flawless and not mess up even a single play, while they are still just developing into their own skates. All the while people are critiquing their plays, and balancing their whole future on performances. This provides a lesson in keeping up the balance between the good and the bad that will be crucial to these kids when and if they make it to the NHL.
“You’ve Gotta Take The Good With the Bad”
Once in the NHL, it is a whole different ball game, as players have almost their entire life put on display, which isn’t something that they asked for, as they’re just people too. And the better the player you are, the worse it gets.
“People will be bashed and you know, write on social media about if the guy signs a $5 million deal, oh he’s terrible, he’s the worst, he’s not worth it. But you know? It’s tough. It’s a tough situation, but at the same time, like you’ve gotta take the good with the bad.”Cole Perfetti
Hockey players may have the privilege of playing the game they love for a lot of money, but they also have to take the short end of the stick, getting bashed in the media and having to take a hit to their confidence and self-worth whenever they play. This helps build a thick skin but is something that players should not have to go through. It has become an expected behavior for anyone who joins the NHL to put up with, as they are in the public eye, and getting mass media attention. When asked about his strategy for this, here’s what Perfetti had to say;
“You can’t get too high and you can’t get too low. When you know things are doing good, you just gotta be able to stay, keep your head on straight and when things are, you know not going good, just be able to stay off everything and block it out and you know, it’s tough.”Cole Perfetti
While the NHL may seem like a glamorous career, earning tons of money doing what you love, it should always be remembered that the players in the league are regular people like us, and shouldn’t be treated as harshly. This is the first piece in a series of reports after an interview with Cole Perfetti, so be sure to stick around on Overtime Heroics to see more of what this stellar prospect had to say.
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