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Be a hockey helper

Joe Anderson’s veteran’s guide to guiding the new hockey parent

 Joe Anderson’s veteran’s guide to guiding the new hockey parent

What follows is an explanation of why it’s necessary to help your fellow hockey parent in the early days of their early seasons.  In the spirit of the holidays, read this and take a moment to help out a glassy eyed mini-mite parent.  This is not a critique, we’ve all been there.  Please don’t get your feelings hurt. Save that for when your kid is unjustly denied his or her rightful place on an A team.  You’ll need all your energy for that battle.

Our home arena has a player entrance.

That door also serves as an unguarded entrance to high school games (the use of which ALWAYS results in the fan going out the same door and proceeding directly to the ticket stand) and a gateway for nut-job parents like myself that still insist on attending every practice and game.

In the fall, the flow of vehicle traffic leading up to – and away from – that entrance is pleasant and orderly.  The older kids are engaged in tryouts, and after their teams have been selected the pathway is still navigable as veteran parents have the drop off/ pick up drill dialed in. We old-timers know we only slow down long enough for our child to scramble out of an almost moving vehicle.

The winds of change begin to blow when our youngest skaters arrive on the scene.  The onset of the mite season brings a new crop of parents learning the ways of the hockey drop off and pick up.  In a truly Minnesotan rite of passage, these newbie Moms & Dads become automotive gobstoppers by parking in the turn-around circle (or whatever you call that circle where the cars turn around), blocking and/or completely stopping the flow of traffic with their cars while demonstrating a complete lack of efficiency during the unloading and loading process.

Here’s your first opportunity to be a hockey helper.

Step one – lay on the horn. Then let ‘em know the illegal parking is completely out of bounds.  Ask them, “Would you park like that at your kids’ school?” Hop out of the car and direct traffic or show the rookies how to yank a hockey bag out of the car and underhand it towards the entrance.  And if you’re fortunate enough to encounter a vehicle with a fine layer of dust, leave a lengthy note on the hood to educate them on the finer points of rink parking.

Once that gentle lesson has been taught, and all cars are safely (and appropriately) parked, the new hockey parent will proceed directly to the nearest available locker room.  That room schedule on the wall or television? It’s clearly not applying to them.  Listen closely and you’ll hear the giveaway, “this one looks empty, let’s go in here!” Teachable moment number two has arrived.

Try this – set off an explosion of 12 year olds in their sanctuary and watch their sweet little mite scramble to escape the hell that is a Pee Wee locker room.  Not only will you teach a valuable lesson, but our new hockey friends will get a taste of what their future holds.  It’s loud, inattentive, and smells like a Florida swamp being used as an expired Mayonnaise dumping ground.

You’ve done another good deed, helping the little guys, girls, Moms and Dads get settled into the appropriate dressing area (or at least a room in the same building); and this means the march to the ice is about to begin.

With kids tripping over each other, two parents escorting each child, the aforementioned Pee Wee explosion going the other way and running down everyone in their path, everyone stopping to chat … this is the most dangerous time of the day.  The veteran hockey parent would seize this moment and dash for the safety of their parked vehicle or a warm corner of the arena, but not you, because you’re here to help.  Tell the kids the Zamboni is right behind them and coming in hot.  Watch them scramble for the safety of the ice.

Let the fun begin, your work here is done.

 

Dry Scrape Item –

Like “Overtime” only cooler – Get It?

One month into the season, and we’ve had the Zamboni door open twice prior to the end of a close game.  The main culprits: Devastating (yet short-lived) injuries that require a less-than-agile coach to shuffle across the ice and back AND seemingly endless offside calls.

Most of these calls could be avoided if a tag-up offside rule was in place for the Pee Wee/U12 level and up.  The majority of kids at this level aren’t jumping the gun through ignorance.  They know the rule, but the game is moving fast and sometimes they just can’t help but slide into the zone early.

The kids at this level are more than capable of clearing the zone and regrouping, and frankly speaking, that would be a better teaching tool than a whistle and stoppage of play.

Joe Anderson is "The Artist Formerly Known as Mr. Phunn" after spending many moons on the local airwaves. He's also a longtime youth hockey coach (Level 3 Re-certification already completed..thank you) in the St. Paul Capitals organization and still occasionally skates (slowly) Old-Man games. Now in the real estate business, he is an agent with RE/MAX Results, based out of the Crocus Hill office in St. Paul. You can follow him on Twitter @Phunnsie.

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