I'm sure you were not expecting that answer, or if you are a coach yourself or have been a coach you understand where I may be going with this. Before you jump to conclusions and assume I play favorites and only pay attention to the best players. You are 1000% wrong.
When it says, yes, coaches do play favorites. What that means from my stand point is that I play favorites with the kids who want to be there, who show an interest in coming to the rink every night, show effort, work hard and don't make excuses for not being 100% today. I play favorites with kids who show an interest in wanting to learn, who ask questions, who look for ways to put in the extra work. I favor kids who take accountability for their actions, I favor kids who when I try to help them with something small or a piece of their game they make eye contact with me and listen and do not speak back immediately. I favor kids who are coach able, dedicated, good teammates, hard workers and most importantly, WANT TO BE THERE and loathe every moment they can.
Why? Because the game comes and goes quicker than you think and your career will be over before you blink an eye.
Therefore as a coach there is not much time to waste on players who are lazy, irresponsible, know it all's, find ways to miss practices and extra work, and overall just do not show an interest in being there. Like the good old saying says "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't force the horse to drink".
That sounds like you only care about certain players, WRONG. I care about all my players but the reason I do not go out of my way to motivate and inspire the lazy player is because, that time I waste on the lazy player, I'm neglecting the kid who is doing his/her absolute all, putting in the work day in and out, doing the extra things, being a good teammate, listening. And those players are the players who go on to change lives, be leaders in the work force or on other teams, who motivate and inspire other players and the players who are grateful for hard working coaches.
Coaches DO play favorites and kids will always find excuses to look back on their careers and say "that coach never cared about me" well, kid. Ask yourself this...
"Did you care about the game?"
"Did you care about getting better?"
"Did you want to be a good teammate?"
"Were you open to being coached?"
"Where were you when coach called an extra film day?"
"Where were you when coach called for an extra work out?"
"Where were you when coach changed the schedule last minute?"
"Where were you when practice or games conflicted with a social/family event?" Ask yourself those questions before you start blaming the coach.
Coaches care about all their kids and they would love to see every kid go on and pursue their dreams and be the best hockey player they can be. Coaches would love to help every kid. But at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself "Am I putting in 100% effort every single opportunity? Or am I only putting in effort when I feel like it?"
Coaches love all their players but coaches also cannot help everyone. Therefore players understand your career/time in the game is limited. Take every chance to put forth 100% effort in every situation and cherish every moment you can.