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The heart-breaking reason this nine-year-old boy quit hockey

Sam Lescarbeau sits on the bench during a Knights of West Kelowna hockey game.
Image Credit: Contributed
May 04, 2015 - 4:30 PM

"TO WIN AS A TEAM AND LOSE AS A TEAM IS A PRICELESS CONCEPT THAT SHOULD BE CHERISHED AND VALUED MORE THAN WINNING AT ALL COST"

KELOWNA - A young hockey player made a heart-breaking decision to quit his hockey team with only two games left in the season and his father’s written reasons for him leaving may leave you shaking your head... or reaching for a tissue.

Yannick Lescarbeau wrote an open letter to everyone on his son Sam’s team explaining his decision. He didn’t attack anyone and he didn’t try to cause trouble. Instead he expressed his appreciation for the coaches and remained supportive because in many ways, it appears Sam loved being a member of the West Kelowna Knights.

”He has fully embraced the Knights, made serious new friendships and he had so much fun with each and every kid on that team,” Yannick wrote. “After the first practice, Sam said to me in the car with a big smile… ‘Dad, I think I am fitting in with those guys.”

The Lescarbeaus don’t take quitting lightly, he wrote, but he explained why it was acceptable this time, given the circumstances.

“It was important to share why Sam and I decided to leave the team,” Lescarbeau wrote. "Like every nine-year-old on that team, Sam dreams and lives hockey, and when hockey is no longer fun, when you find yourself crying on the bench because as a nine-year-old, you have only played two shifts in the game, no matter how important that game is… it is time to have a talk with yourself and re-evaluate why we do this.”

“On the ice and on the bench, Sam no longer felt part of the team and it was really sad to see him crying in the middle of the bench with his gloves off when he watched the same kids over and over on the ice. Too often this season, I saw players with sad faces or crying on the bench and looking at me with their small eyes and disappointed little faces to see if we were going to put them back on the ice. Too many times on the drive home, my son asked me, 'Dad, I thought I played hard today, why did I not play in the third period.'"

Lescarbeau emphasized he has no personality conflict with the coaches of the Westside Knights although he clearly disagrees with their coaching style.

"When the fun is no longer present, there is no good reason to continue the pain, and we reached that point too often this year, and in my opinion, too many times when the situation was not warranted,” he wrote. "As a hockey dad, as a coach, to win as a team and lose as a team is a priceless concept that should be cherished and valued more than winning at all cost with only a few (players). This year’s Knights philosophy is clearly not for us. This was not a personality conflict with the coach, but rather a hockey philosophy difference.”

A parent of another Knights player, who asked not to be named, said he agreed with the reasoning.

“At that age, if your kid’s crying on the bench with no feedback from the coach about what he did wrong, then something’s not right,” said the parent.

The Knights of West Kelowna are a spring hockey club described as a developmental hockey program for young players from the local area.

Attempts to reach Lescarbeau for an interview were unsuccessful.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We published a follow up story May 8. Things are looking up for Sam. Read that story here.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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