The 2013-2014 season for me was a disaster. Every year, I set a handful of goals for the year and I usually achieve about half of them. Last year, I hit each of them except one. This year, I didn’t hit any. These goals are not outrageous, but they do push me. Most are statistic based and I keep them to myself during the season. For example, this year a few of my goals were:
- Don't get hurt - Play in a minimum of 17 regular season games for both the Piranhas and Coyotes. It isn't a full 20 because of the overlapping schedules.
- Reduce Penalty minutes - I wanted to have less than 22 penalty minutes this year. While I did have less than 22, it is because I missed a lot of games.
- 8 points on the Piranhas, 20 points on the Coyotes. I really felt that I needed to step up on the Coyotes this year in the point producing department. I also realize that the Piranhas would be in a tough spot this year because of their new division.
- 3rd place overall for the Coyotes - It would be very difficult to take 2nd place in the division, but possible. I left it at 3rd because I knew that we'd have games where we were short handed, and we hadn't played in the summer. I expected to finish hot. The Coyotes finished second to last.
I had a total of one goal all year, and I did have quite a few assists. I didn't score my one goal until the last game of the Piranha season, but it was a beauty:
So why didn't the season go so well? As with anything, there is never just one reason. I do believe a lot of the reasons I struggled were because of off ice reasons. For example, I had family issues which created a big distraction for me. Normally, the game is my number one focus, but I can honestly say that I didn't have one game where I was fully focused. This year, I also took a leadership role with the Coyotes. That didn't go the way I wanted. I tried to believe that the reason the Coyotes were in the situation they were in was because they didn't have the leadership or opportunity to do the things they needed to. When I gave them the opportunity, or tried to inspire change, it didn't work. This created another distraction for me.
But there were distractions at the rink for me as well. One thing I tried to get the Coyotes to do was to be a little bit more self-organizing. I needed them to not have their hand held every step of the way, even if it meant growing pains. When problems would arise, I would often shortchange myself so that an individual would be happier. Probably not the smartest thing for me to do. I also feel the team didn't get to be self organizing the way I wanted them to be after 20 games.
The biggest barrier to my success though was my hip. I had a nagging hip injury that started early in October. I tried to play through it, but after a rough game in December, I needed time off. I saw a couple of doctors who gave me advice on what to do, and even though I followed their instructions, the hip is still not fully recovered. It impacted my mobility, my confidence, and my strength.
I tried to let it recover. Give it a month of no stress, I tried to skate less frequently later in the season. But this just lead to me never being in my peak condition.
I took on bigger roles on both teams this year. I'm happy about that, but the success wasn't there. The stress snowballed and it cause me to start doubting myself. I missed many easy chances on the Piranhas, including missing an empty net for a goal from five feet which I continue to get heat for.
This was by far the most difficult, and least successful season of hockey for me since I started playing. At the same time, my expectations were high as well. When I first started playing, my goal may have been to just get one shot on goal in a game in a level that is similar to what the Piranhas are in. Now I'm expecting to average a point per game from the blue line in a much lower level.