It took almost 2 years, but the Banners finally started taking the ice at Patterson Park in 2022. This time, our seasoned veterans have been joined by the Junior Banners, and both groups share the ice on Saturdays. While the on-ice relationships have been great see, this weekend the off-ice relationships really stuck out to me. On Sunday, some of the older Jr. Banners stayed and skated with the Banners. After sharing a team lunch at Spartan Pizza, I brought home 2 members of each group.
Listening to the Jr. Banners talk about how they can’t wait to get better at hockey was so much fun. However, when each Jr. Banner left my car, the mentorship came to light as their older counterparts gave them advice. I heard the younger players being told to “just stay inside and play a video game or something with the snow coming today”, and “there’s nothing worth risking being out today, stay safe and be smart” on the way out of the door. I felt like less of a mentor/coach in that moment, and more of a chauffeur; and I was fine with it! Seeing our older Banners take on that role without being told to do so really showed how much they have been impacted over the years.