One of the most popular games on the hockey calendar is the annual Winter Classic. Stadiums are transformed into winter wonderlands, ready to embrace whatever elements Mother Nature throws their way. Yet no matter the weather, the game goes on because it reminds everyone of the ‘good old days’.
Hockey players look forward to winter because it means that the season is truly in full swing. It means they aren’t limited to just practices and games at the arena. Now they can work on their stickhandling and shooting on the backyard rink. There, they can play freely. Nobody will get upset at them for making a mistake. They can try new things outside of a structured practice without going off track.
There’s a reason ‘play time’ exists in daycare when kids are still developing. It gives them the opportunity to be creative and social among their peers. Hockey players need that same time and exposure to develop their skills. This isn’t to say that kids should skate around freely on the ice during an hour of valuable practice time but allowing them freedom within the structure of a drill can increase development.