Specialization, pressure, prep-schools and player development: insights from elite Canadian hockey players
LE3 .A278 2021
Bachelor of Kinesiology
Articles within the popular media have identified hockey academies as a growing concern within the hockey landscape in Canada, that market themselves as building elite performance. Pathways to elite sport performance have been broadly identified to include sampling early or specializing early. While there is a lack of research on specialization specifically within the Canadian ice hockey framework, previous research on early specialization in general has determined this approach to be potentially detrimental to the development of a young athlete, with many sport and medical associations preferring sampling as a safer method of achieving elite sport status. Despite this seeming consensus within the academic community, youth sport continues to trend toward increasing specialization. It is postulated that elements of parental involvement potentially contribute to this trend, and the place of hockey within Canadian society may also perpetuate specialization within the sport. However, there is little research regarding the developmental pathways of youth Canadian hockey players such that one must go back almost twenty years to find the most recent paper charting the developmental activities of elite Canadian hockey players, and this does not include any insight into the emergence of hockey academies. Further, what little literature that exists regarding athlete development within elite Canadian hockey likely does not reflect the experiences of current Canadian hockey players.
The author grants permission to the University Librarian at Acadia University to reproduce, loan or distribute copies of my thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats on a non-profit basis. The author retains the copyright of the thesis.