BC Hockey sat down with author Allyson Tufts to talk about her book, the partnership with BC Hockey and the upcoming parent program video series that will be released this fall. The series will be launched as the second phase of the Sportsmanship Starts in the Stands program.
Tell us about your book and why you wrote it.
ALLYSON: My book started out as a form of therapy for me. I always enjoyed watching my son play hockey but I have to say, I also found it stressful. If he got cut from a team or benched by his coach, it used to upset me. My husband would remind me that it's all part of the experience, and while I understood that, it never made me feel any better; so I used to go home after games and I'd journal rather than drive him crazy. It seemed smarter to write down my thoughts than to act on them.
The book basically goes through our hockey experience with our son from when he was seven (7) years old playing house league right through to the night of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) draft. At the end of each chapter there is a reflection and lesson to help guide parents along going through the same things. I wrote it because I wanted people to learn from our experiences.
BC HOCKEY: Why do you think it's an important message?
ALLYSON: I think it's an important message because in so many cases parents are losing sight of why we put our kids into sports, and I have to say, I was one of them. I think by telling my story people might recognize some of their own behaviours in the arena, the impact of those behaviours on their child and hopefully change them for the better so both parent and child can enjoy their experiences at the rink.
BC HOCKEY: We understand you've sold quite a few copies; what has been the feedback been from other hockey parents?
ALLYSON: The feedback has been incredible. When I launched the book in April 2015, my publisher told me I would never sell 500 copies in the first six (6) months, but by May 2015 I was ordering 500 more! I've had a lot of people say that they've laughed, they've cried and that they couldn't put it down once they started reading it. The ultimate compliment was when a lady told me that she kept the book in her purse during tryouts and it helped her immensely.
BC HOCKEY: Do you think parent behaviour in the rink is just an issue in hockey?
ALLYSON: No I don't think it's just an hockey issue; I think it happens in every sport. I wrote it from a hockey perspective because that was my experience. I think it's a parent issue, not just a hockey issue. I think as parents we have the best intentions. We commit so much time and money to our kids and as a result sometimes our passion from them gets out of hand.
BC HOCKEY: We understand you've done a bit of a self-made book tour; tell us about that.
ALLYSON: Yes, it's been an amazing year. The book launched in April 2015 and in June I was invited to Hockey Canada's Sponsorship Summit to participate on a panel representing the hockey mom. Following that, I traveled to Hockey Canada's head office in Calgary to speak to their senior staff. That's where I met BC Hockey Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Barry Petrachenko and Chair of the Board, Randy Henderson. Since then, I have been to Thunder Bay, Ontario to present to Hockey Northwestern Ontario (HNO) President's meeting and flew out to Vancouver to film the video series. It has been an incredible experience so far and the response has far exceeded my expectations.
BC HOCKEY: How did your involvement with our organization start?
ALLYSON: As mentioned, I met Barry and Randy in September 2015. Barry approached me and asked if we could talk. We met after the meeting and continued to correspond after my return to Ontario. I was so impressed with Barry and Randy; you can tell they care about the organization a great deal and are always looking to improve. I presented some ideas to them and they really like the video concept and here we are!
BC HOCKEY: Can you tell us a bit more about the video series?
ALLYSON: I can say this: it will be different than anything anyone has ever seen before. It's a series of interviews from people at the grassroots level in hockey. We hear from parents, players, coaches, referees and other Association members. People were really honest in these interviews. I think it's going to be a great way to provide parent education through story telling. I'd better stop or I'm going to say more than I should! I'm just going to say that I cannot wait until it launches; it's going to be amazing!
BC HOCKEY: We heard a rumour that there may be some familiar faces in these videos, perhaps some former National Hockey League (NHL) players?
ALLYSON: I'm going to keep that one a secret but I will confirm that yes we have some very recognizable faces in the videos. Once this project got going, it was incredible to see how many people came on board to be a part of it. Along with all the others I mentioned, we also had representatives from Hockey Canada, BC Hockey and the NHL take part.
BC HOCKEY: What's next for you with your book and message?
ALLYSON: I will be attending the BC Hockey AGM in June as a guest speaker to present a teaser for the video series. The project launches in September which will create awareness in BC and the Yukon. From there, the goal is to speak to as any Minor Hockey Associations (MHA) in as many provinces as I can. My dream is to get this message to every hockey parent in Canada.
BC HOCKEY: Thanks Allyson and we look forward to the launch at the AGM next month!