Understanding talent and how it is really obtained is an important piece for young athletes, parents, coaches, and associations. As with most sports, hockey has thousands of young stars at early ages who do not move onto elite hockey later in their lives such as Junior, University or for the slim few into the professional ranks. It's most common that elite players who do make it were not the very best player growing up but eventually surpassed those deemed as superstars.
Hockey is a late-maturation & late-specialization sport meaning that for your best opportunity to move onto elite hockey later in life you must ensure that you're building a well rounded athletic base at young ages. Playing hockey 10 months of the year and 50 games a season as a youth player will not get you any closer to your desired goal of being an NHL player or on Team Canada. Parents should ensure that their young players are developing strong learning habits and the value of good work ethic which will only benefit when skill specialization & training become important in their later-teen years. Most importantly, parents, coaches, and teammates must ensure everyone is enjoying the game - don't make it a job the kids.
This short film was developed by SportScotland to help young athletes understand what 'talent' is and how it's a choice to get good at sport: