Exploring the Experiences of Elite Male Hockey Players
The purpose of this study was to explore the sport experiences of six U Sports (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) male hockey players (three past CHL players and three past NCAA Division I players) through one-on-one interviews with them. The focus was the exploration of how parents, coaches, and peers had influenced current U Sports hockey players’ overall well-being in the transition through the CHL (Canadian Hockey League) or NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). This study included male participants only, because the CHL, one of the two development leagues investigated, is for males only. Interviews revealed meaningful hockey experiences within the CHL and NCAA, in climates that affected players' motivation, expectations, and goals. The key findings of this study arose from the analysis of these interviews: (1) coaches need to have a better knowledge of the ‘psychology of performance’ for their athletes; (2) coaches should provide feedback in a more ethical way regardless of competition level; and (3) all social agents, including the athletes themselves, need to create informed and appropriate expectations to avoid realizations that can result in negative outcomes to well-being. Future research should be expanded by broadening the range of interview questions, diversifying the participant pool, and targetting policies in addition to practices.