Minnesota Hockey Magazine

Hockey Mom Unplugged

Long-time hockey mom looks back on years in the sport

It never fails. I admit it. I am sort of cliché but I can’t help it. I see a young family with a sweet girl or boy and eventually, the talk turns to hockey.

“Is she skating yet?” I cautiously ask. “You should give hockey a try. It is so much fun.”

The majority of the time — much to my dismay — the young mom or dad smiles and shakes their head no. As I see their expression, I also hear about the cost of the sport, the long drives to far away ice rinks, the early morning practices and the competitiveness of the premiere sport in the state of hockey.

I guess as I watch my 16-year old play high school hockey now, I look back through rose-colored glasses at his journey and really, our family’s journey through hockey. I fondly remember that feeling of carefully helping him put on his equipment and seeing him teeter toward the ice rink precariously on his new skates. Sipping a warm cup of coffee with my husband at a cold rink and chatting with other proud parents in the stands. The same parents who are some of our dearest friends because we shared that journey. From mites through high school, we watched our guys work hard, challenge themselves and then live out a dream.

When I hear that a family would never consider hockey for their youngster because of all the negatives, I am puzzled. I guess I don’t remember any negatives. I do remember that first out of town tournament. The boys hid their knee hockey sticks as they walked by the hotel front desk and then proceeded to play in our room. We rented the biggest room we could find knowing that the squirt players would all want to congregate there. I suppose some people prefer a quiet room but not us. I miss all that commotion. We usually only see our son on the ice at high school hockey tournaments.

For our family, one of the most memorable days was finally relenting after hearing constant pleas from our son. We went to the hockey store and bought him goalie equipment. We couldn’t say no anymore. He looked at us both with a beaming smile and gave us big hugs. It has been quite a ride having him in net since he was eight but I suppose that is fodder for another column.

We hockey parents have a bit of a chip on our shoulders about this great sport. It is truly different. It is a way of life we have embraced and we love. The reason I love to promote the sport to young families is that it has brought such joy and family togetherness to our lives. The hockey community is our family. While some of those concerns, like the cost of our sport, are very real, I hope families know that there are ways to get help. Nothing should keep them from giving it a try.

I don’t need to tie his skates anymore and now he drives himself to the rink or hops in a car with a friend. The pride and joy of watching him play is still there. I guess I don’t dwell on those many games where I shivered in the bleachers. As one of my dearest hockey mom friends says, “It’s about making memories.” We were certainly able to do that and more thanks to the great sport of hockey.

Note to readers: This article was reprinted from a full-featured Minnesota Hockey Magazine digital issue.  Like what you see?  Get a back issue or subscribe today on the PressPad mobile app platform for Minnesota Hockey Magazine via Apple Store, Google Play, and Kindle/Amazon.  Don’t miss out!  Get all 8 issues for this upcoming season sent directly to your email box, buy a single issue or pick up the printed version at many local stores near you.  Thanks.  MHM Staff