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  • Richie Doherty

Connectors In The Hockey Community

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

Read below to analyze how individuals in a hockey tryout locker room are very similar to the individuals explained in Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point.


When you walk into a locker room during a tryout, if you didn’t come with anybody, you drop your bag and sit by yourself. Sometimes there is locker room chatter between people that sat with their friends, but most of the time there is an edgy silence. Tensions are high, people understand they are competing against the person sitting next to them for only a certain amount of spots. At some point a strange thing happens, someone recognizes a team logo on another player’s bag or hoodie, and they get this urge. They can’t control it, it is like an itch in their brain, and they just blurt out “Hey!.... Did you play for (some team)? Do you know…?” Just like that a connection between two total strangers is born!

In the hockey world there are people that just always seem to know a guy. Every rink, every try out, every drop-in skate there is someone that knows a guy. They love to talk to you about how they know the person you know, what that person is like, where they played with that person, and before you know it you have made connection with the "know-a-guy". These people are very connected with the hockey community. They love to go to the rink, they love to network in the hockey community, plainly they are extroverts.

The tendencies of these know-a-guy's reminded me of the connectors described in the book Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Tipping Point is a book that analyzes why epidemics are able to become widespread. Gladwell explains how there is a tendency that a select few individuals are the reason that epidemic tips, he calls them connectors. They are people that have many acquittances in many different aspects of life, they are extroverted, they aren’t tied to one friend group or occupation, and they always focus on people. They spread good ideas and products across acquaintance groups and are responsible for why an epidemic can go from an isolated area to a widespread area. They are a connection machine, eager to make new acquittances, and just seemingly always know a guy you know.

I found it fascinating that the same individuals that can cause an epidemic to tip are also the same people that can cut the tension in a tryout locker room. These individuals are so valuable in a tryout because they put everyone at ease. Just like in an epidemic these connectors allow people across the locker room to interact with each other. Conversations start to happen, because more and more players jump in about the guys that they know. Before you know it, tensions have died down and as a result, everyone in that locker room usually plays better! There is a weird sense of comradery amongst a bunch of strangers all because somebody knows a guy.


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