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Deep Dive #2 - Locker Room Chemistry: The Key to Success in SMJHL and Beyond

As a rookie, I am quickly learning that being part of a good locker room is the key to a successful hockey team. More important than goals scored or even wins, the vibe and team chemistry within a locker room is paramount. A happy and healthy locker room is a key building block towards success. A bad one can fuel toxicity and demoralize players.

A Good Locker Room

A good locker room is friendly, helpful, they pull each other up when they're down. They relate to each other. It's a must if you spend so much time on the road with one another. Sometimes it's sharing photos of their pets, what video games they like to play, or dishes they cook. Or other times they relate with each other on the other sports teams they like to follow, with friendly trash talk if player's allegiances are rivals.

A good locker room motivates each other to get better. They work together in practice by working on their shortcomings. They strategize on how to best face their next opponent. And they play the game together as a team first, then as individuals.

“I would describe chemistry in the locker room as having affinities with the other members of the locker room, but also being able to integrate and incorporate the new members so they feel at home. Everyone has their own personality traits and style and different degrees of comfort and being part of a fun environment will start from the most basic interactions,” micool132 described on a good locker room environment.

Micool further went on to implore that he enjoys the simple gesture of saying “good morning” to each other in the Colorado locker room. Saying “good morning” to one another is a way of letting your teammates know that you're active and there for them.

Micool's favorite display of chemistry stems from the Atlanta Inferno locker room in the sense that everyone is funny. They all enjoy a good meme and will all get on board when a new one arises.

“I was a new guy in the team, like everyone else as we were an expansion team, and I was mostly inactive on my character named Nathan Explosion. I knew the Co-GM so I said I would give it a try to come back to the SHL. I didn't know Hotdog at all at this point (the GM). So I go into his direct messages and I say something along: Hey, I like the team, I hope you keep me around and I can give it a serious shot,” Micool explains.

Micool then made a key mistake in his DMs to the GM by saying, “This is Nathan Explosion, from the Atlanta Flames by the way...” The team is the Inferno, not the Flames.

Hotdog then shared the interaction in the locker room, saying something along the line of  “micool DMed me and thinks I don't know who he is.” This lead to everyone on the team to change their name to Micool132 (Nathan Explosion Btw) or some variation of the sort. A meme was born, unforced and funny. The team was having fun outside of hockey. Once they all got back onto the ice, you can bet they were ready to go into battle alongside their teammates.

A Bad Locker Room

A bad locker room can be the death of a team. It could be the difference between making the playoffs or not. It could be the difference between last place and an up and coming team. Players who are inactive, toxic, or too selfish can be a drag on the team. And those attitudes can be contagious, spreading throughout the entire organization.

“A bad experience would be when a teamate in the locker room felt frustrated about the whole game and site because of a few misconception about the drafts and the ego damage was too much and they left,” Micool132 explains a bad locker room experience he had with Colorado.

Micool elaborated further, “This player was drafted 1st overall in my draft class as they were guenuinly a fun person, engaged, liked hockey a lot. A very good person honestly.  Then came the SHL draft. He got drafted in the 2nd round, to his surprise, thinking his on ice performance were good enough of a 1st round pick and a high one too. He learned that history on the site does take an important place in draft, to the detriment of first generation players sometimes, but also that on ice performance didn't mean shit in the actual draft rankings as mostly every GMs know that junior stats doesn't mean nothing for SHL play.”

“We thought the user would know this or have asked questions about it but overall just was defeated by how the league worked and decided to give it up.  It was not a toxic moment at all in our chats, however the chemistry we had pre-draft and post-draft incident was clearly destroyed, a sort of malaise carried by a now negative attitude just didn't make it enjoyable for his teammates.”

Ironically, that player went on to get drafted by a very good SHL locker room in San Francisco.

When an ego, an attitude, or a general indifference towards a team comes into play, it can kill the vibe of a locker room. A team is not whole when its splintered off into sections, afraid to speak their mind, or simply not talking to each other. Instead, a team thrives when they are open and honest with each other, communicates in a friendly and respectful manner, and committed to the team's goals.

Words: 957

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(This post was last modified: 11-14-2023, 11:52 PM by Eggcracker. Edited 1 time in total.)

Are you in the @micool132 fan club??

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11-14-2023, 11:51 PMEggcracker Wrote: Are you in the @micool132 fan club??

No, I'm a Colorado Raptor™

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Micool132 (Nathan Explosion Btw)

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