Readers Speak Out About Star's Female High School Hockey All-stars
I expected feedback on the Toronto Star's annual high school hockey all-stars. But, honestly, nowhere near the reaction that came in - and it wasn't even lunch time on Tuesday. I am sure there is more coming and we like it when people express their feelings and opinions.
Let me first clarify that the comments were about the 2010 girls' all-star teams - first and second. Yes, the boys' team will be announced soon.
Each year, we do our best to recognize six players who had a banner year for their high school teams. Always considered is the accomplishment on the ice, the leadership, stats are important too - although it's not mandatory that a player chosen be the next Hayley Wickenheiser. It's also nice if the players are doing well in school and are good role models in the community.
The comments were, shall I say, very interesting. One thing should be made clear: We don't pick players because their parents call us, coaches think they're the best in the world, etc. We picked players in their graduating year for our first team and we consulted with a variety of university, high school and rep coaches. Asked for opinions from game officials and other players. Even saw players in game action - and it does help when they win a provincial championship.
One person didn't like that we were "showing off young girls". Another individual was big on grades and not happy that we had a player with a 60 per cent average and thought they should all be students with academic honours. An e-mailer was upset that we had players who were chosen in previous years. Ah, can you not have a second year of excellence on ice?
Several people had some harsh words about choosing school and hockey in the United States. There were others who thought I didn't have a clue about hockey and two people who accused me of "deliberately" leaving players off the team.
The e-mail and voicemail seemed to go on and on until I heard one message praising the Star for devoting a full page to showcase six very good players and six more on a sceond team. Yes, someone actually took the time to say something positive. Thanks to Stan, whoever you are, and I'd buy you a coffee. To be fair, some parents have called now, teachers too.
Huge thanks to Bob Bishop for his page design. And splendid photography from Aaron Harris.
If you missed the paper, you can still catch this salute to female high school hockey talent on our website. As for autographs, you're on your own.