My goal in writing these short (and not-so-short) blogs is to share with you what I’ve learned about raising kids who play and love hockey – at least what I’ve learned so far. I’m not an expert. I’m a parent of three kids (18, 19, and 20). Two play ice hockey. Our oldest, who does not play the game, has worked at the local hockey rink since she was 15.
All three have basically grown up in an ice hockey rink. Having a dad who coached minor-pro ice hockey allowed them to literally be on the ice the first week after they were born. We’ve seen LOTS of hockey games, practices and everything in-between. Each of us has witnessed breath-taking, tear-jerking sportsmanship and human kindness. We have also witnessed the opposite – coaches behaving badly, parents behaving badly, even refs behaving badly, and players following in their footsteps.
I’m no saint, either. My years of hockey have produced one or two instances (Okay, three!) where I should have kept my mouth shut. My only defense is sleep deprivation, cold rinks, too much driving, not enough coffee and - did I mention three kids in three years? Regardless, to this day, I should have behaved.
My 18 and 19-year-old continue to play. Lucky for me (and my pocket-book) they both are in great programs, are fairly self-sufficient and are headed to college to play hockey. One just became an NHL draft pick.
So, whether you know the difference between a back-check or a fore-check, what “ icing” is or what color jersey the home team should be wearing – you will grow to love (or hate) this sport as much as your kid does – as sure as you will become familiar with the smell of sweaty hockey gear that’s sat too long in a hockey bag.