What to do when you get cut

What’s shaking?

So, a bunch of you are in try outs right now, and so, things are shuffling down and teams make promises and then sometimes you end up getting cut. So I wanted to chat about that because I’ve had emails about it and everything, so it’s sort of a common theme and I’ve just created kind of one common story.


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The common story is, “I got cut and the coach said X, Y, Z,” whatever it is. One guy was like, “I’m too small.” One guy was like, “I was too aggressive.” One guy’s like, “I play too deep in the net.” Like, it runs the whole gamut.

So then, a lot of times the response is, “But obviously that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about and he probably just didn’t like me, or it’s politics, so, screw them, I’m going to go somewhere else and show them, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Which it’s natural, and I know it’s not probably cool to admit it, but it hurts your feelings. It hurts your ego, so subconsciously it hurts your ego being told, in our opinion you’re not good enough.

But, that’s also a lesson we need to learn in life. One guy had a great point, he pointed out, “You learn a lot more from your losses than you do from your wins.” And everybody can be great when they’re winning and everybody can be gracious and on their A game when they’re winning, but it’s those who can be there when they’re not and pick themselves up and learn to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep going.

Here’s the thing about hockey and business even… it gets harder. The better you get, the harder it gets. More people are gunning for you. More people are trying to copy you, rip you off, say things behind your back about you to undermine you, to try to get them ahead.

It only gets worse and worse. So, yes, it sucks, okay. There’s no fine print that says like, “And, for you lucky few, life will just be very smooth and nothing bad will happen and you’ll just, you know, breeze through. It’s sort of the price of admission. Some parts are wicked awesome and some parts just suck ass really bad.

On that spectrum, getting cut from AAA hockey is, on a scale of zero to ten, like ten is those poor people in Houston that lost … you know, that don’t have a home to go back to. And there are a million other tragedies, I’m sure you’ve all experienced them too, that would be close to ten out of tens. This is like a two. This is like, “Oh, that hurt my feelings and okay, what’s my next move?” So, learning to take that and it’s okay to be frustrated and feel like, “Well, I’m going to show them.” And this is sort of the point that I wanted to make.

It’s like you always have to look for the thread of truth as well. If you went in there and played like Matt Murray. Like literally played like Matt Murray, I am guaranteeing you that 99 times out of 100, you are going to be the goalie for that team. Because, the coaches really do want to win. I know that sometimes there are just politics galore and it’s ridiculous and I know that sometimes that happens, but resist the temptation to be like, “Oh, this is politics and I really deserve to be playing on that team.”

Look for the thread of truth. So, the same happens at Revolution. If somebody stops training with us. It’s like, “Well, it’s not the right spot for them and they didn’t fit our system,” or whatever, but it’s like, “No, no.” Okay, is there something that we could actually be doing better to help that athlete so that they would want to stay and train with us.

You have to look for, “How can I do better.”

I think the thing for you to do, if you’re in that situation that you got cut, you can be pissed off about it, that’s fine. But then also, look at it and say, “Okay, you know what? Obviously I was lower on their depth chart. I wasn’t their first pick. I wasn’t their no-brainer choice. So that means I’m not going to be getting maybe as many quality reps in practice, and definitely not as much game time.”

You become a better goalie by playing games. I mean, you can practice with your goalie coach and do off-ice training and practice really, really hard, and that all helps, but you need that game time to really hone your craft and get used to the speed.

You obviously weren’t the top level of their pick for whatever reason. So now, you’re going to maybe be playing for a lower level team where they’re thrilled to have you. You’re going to get to start more games and that’s what’s going to make you a better goalie.

You’re not going to go to the NHL from bantam, or midget or anything like that. So, work on honing your craft. It’s like you could get perfect on all your math exams in grade 10, and MIT isn’t going to come and give you a three year bachelor’s degree in mathematics, you know, you would need to hone your craft and then go through the steps and get to that level.

Relish that opportunity to play your very, very best to get all that game time and to develop. Plus, you don’t know what’s going to happen down the road. That team might run into trouble with goalies and then you’re going to be called up to AP or whatever.

The other thing you should do is kind of take stock. Say, “What did I do to prepare myself for this opportunity over the last four months?” So, look at that whole four month block, because really it’s going to take … it takes years and years to live up to your potential, to train up to your potential, but a four month block is sort of a reasonable amount of time to make some significant progress.

“Did I work on my mobility? Did I do my off-ice training? Did I work with my goalie coach or find a way that I could study the game and become better technically on the ice? Did I really look after my rest and recovery? Was I getting my sleep? Was I watching my nutrition?”

Were you doing all these things or are there places where it’s like, “I kind of did some stretching, sometimes. I didn’t really work out in the gym. I did like phys. ed. class bench press. Nutrition, no my lunch was Goldfish crackers a lot of days.” So, look at that and say, “You know what, maybe this time I actually didn’t deserve to be on that team, or there are things I could have done to make it so that I was just … I was Matt Murray at those tryouts, and there’s … you know, I was untouchable.”

So, be disappointed, that’s fine. One of the biggest things you learn from sport is how to get knocked down and get back up and keep going.

I was a cross country ski racer, that was my varsity sport. I remember the first year I went to Nationals, and Nationals is pretty much the national team and then a few provincial skiers. I was not on the national team. One of our races went, a 30 km race, and a couple people quit the race, but I was last. That’s a long race to be last.

But it’s like, you just learn you got to keep going and you can’t quit. You have to keep going back at it. So, it’s a valuable lesson to learn and now you’re going to get to see more game time and look at what you can do better moving ahead, and that’s it.

That’s my little lecture on what to do if you got cut. I know it sucks, but it is what it is. You can only control what you can control, so think about that, but resist the temptation just to be like, “Oh, they’re an idiot. They don’t know. It was just politics, blah.” Because that doesn’t make you any better, so really look for ways that you can take something from it and sometimes that’s fuel for the fire, but also take something tangible that you can use to make yourself a better goalie.

Okay. That’s it guys. Get back to work or school or whatever you’re supposed to do. See you!