Hockey Life

For years it was really easy for me to ignore hockey. Even though I live in Canada and in a city with an NHL team, I could escape winter's hockey death grip because my son didn't want to play the game.

Except then he did. Last year it was too late to sign him up but he could NOT stop talking about hockey.

So this past September I signed him up. $800+ plus a couple hundred in gear and $100 cash in seed money at the start of the year so we can pay for jerseys. His dad (my ex) is responsible for sticks and skates, I get all the rest.

Because his dad played for years and I have never tried, his dad holds the title of Knower of All About Hockey. I hold the ranking of second best because I'm a trainer for a older hockey team (as an EMT, I take care of all their injuries and refer them to doctors and such...) and I'm our team's manager.

So the limit of my hockey knowledge is "don't go head first or feet first into the boards". But he listens to it.

My first year as a hockey mom hasn't been overwhelmingly enlightening... I still have trouble figuring out what icing and off-side mean, even though it's explained to me over and over by more experienced hockey moms. I've even had a dad draw me a diagram. I just nodded. I get it THEN, but when I see it play out on the ice it happens so fast I miss it.

For the most part the parents are pretty awesome at our level. There are normal gripes that you will find in any volunteer-driven organization. Some give 110% and others barely break 10%. People disagree on what needs to be done and when... how we should fundraise and what should be done with the funds.

But our team has done a great job of keeping the focus on the kids, where it should be.

Still, the kids can get wrapped up in winning or losing and how many goals are scored and who scores them... it can be disappointing to lose and we've done our fair share of losing this season.

My son is convinced that the best thing in the world would be to play on a AAA Minor Midget team, like the one I am a trainer for. Those 15-17 year olds get to ride on big comfy buses! With movies playing in them! Road trips!

But what I love most about hockey season isn't winning or competing or games or practices or even visiting with the other parents.

It's this:


That's my son at the local rink playing with other "kids" who are four times his size. They let him play, they encourage him, they keep him loving the game for itself, not for the kudos and cushy bus rides that come along with it.

We're so lucky to have a rink just a block from our house - he comes home from school, does his homework and heads off to the rink at least four nights a week.

That is hockey life.


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