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New Season. New Resolutions.

screaming dadNew Season, new attitude? For me, new hockey seasons are an opportunity to make New Year’s type resolutions that actually stick. We all make mistakes in how we raise our hockey kids and treat the people around us. Why not try to make some actual adjustments this year? I don’t care if this is your first hockey parent season or your 20th. We can all make changes and yes, sometimes it’s worth writing them down. Here’s some that I’ll make this year and have made in the past that have made tremendous differences in the way I approach a hockey season. Your resolutions may vary, but these are a quick five we can all parlay into a better season for our kids and – the parents around us. Continue Reading »

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When Your “Investment” Doesn’t Pay Off

Pogo“I have met the enemy and he is us.”

There are probably not a lot of you who remember this infamous 1971 Pogo cartoon, but many of you hockey parents have had the chance to live out the message. Maybe some of you have actually reached the epiphany that I have.

I came across an article written by a former OHL Player and now coach, Gregg Sutch, who is seeing first hand every day what I’m describing. That the joy of hockey sometimes is sucked out of the rink by parents looking to enhance their “investment.” In Sutch’s article for Yahoo Sports he’s so on the mark, that we probably have articles on this blog that deal with each individual paragraph. But let’s focus on one aspect here – parents living through their kids. Continue Reading »

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Baseball Coaches Hate Your Hockey Kid

angry-coachThe conversation went wrong very quickly.

Me – “Coach, are you going to try and keep this team together next year?”

Coach – “We are going to try, but I really want kids on this team next year who are devoted to baseball.”

Translation: “Yes, but your hockey kid can’t miss baseball practices in December, January and February if he wants to play next year.” Continue Reading »

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Sports Participation and Video Games: Pressure Points

I watched with suspended belief this past weekend as a healthy, well-fed, good looking and tall-for-his-age 13 year old spent the entire video-game-sudocremweekend wired to a) his laptop b) his XBox c) his phone and d) his 3D handheld portable game device. This isn’t a multiple choice question. He was actually tethered to all four throughout the weekend. His parents smiled and made sure he had extra batteries and shade outdoors to be able to see the resolution on his game screen. Ironically, he was managing his portable game system while his older brother was playing baseball right in front of him.

I’ve heard all the reasons why hockey participation is down across the country and in Canada. Cost, travel, concussions, time commitment, etc. have dominated the conversation. But according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, team participation is down across all “major” sports. Continue Reading »

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You Stink. Seriously.

hockey-noob-cute-skunkYou know hockey equipment reeks when you get within five feet of your kid’s stick and you can smell the stench on the tape caused by their stinky gloves. No other sport allows for this type of odor and yes, including football because that equipment does not fit into a zipped up bag. Now that you’ve reached the end of the season you’re probably asking – why did I wait so long to clean this stuff? There are a lot of misconceptions about cleaning hockey equipment, including the misnomer that washing the equipment will somehow ruin it. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s a MUCH better option to throwing the bag in the garage.

Also there are a lot of good products out there which keep the bag smelling cleaner, including my favorite - Odor Gladiator which you just throw in the bag and two should last a season. You can even get them in team colors if that matters to you. But while that will make the equipment better smelling than constantly spraying Febreze in the bag – there are more necessary steps to take from an odor and health concern. Continue Reading »

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The Glass is My Friend – A Night with the Moms

Hockey MomI went to a youth hockey championship game last night that didn’t involve my son and decided to not hug the glass like the other Dads. I had no stake in the game (a finals battle pitting teams my kid played this season, but alas his team did not make it) so for once, I just decided to sit.

If you understand the psychology of youth hockey seating charts, you’ll know that the Moms occupy the stands and the Dads mutter and yell and “coach” with each other around the far ends of the rink glass, out of earshot of their wives. As I’ve detailed here many times before – I learned very early in my kids’ hockey careers that sitting with my wife and sharing game commentary (play by play) on what I think should be happening on the ice, is much better received by people I don’t live with and has less long term and personal ramifications.

Needless to say, I felt like I was in foreign territory last night when my son and I hid in the relative obscurity of the stands amidst a bunch of Moms from a team who didn’t know me. Without anything at stake, I kept my comments to a minimum and mostly shared game strategy with my son, based on what I was seeing on the ice. I also avoided saying things like “see how they moved the puck there? If your team could do that, you’d be in the finals.” Yes, I’ve matured a bit. Just a little. But what I heard from the Moms during this game made me want to run for the exits. Continue Reading »

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Cry Me an Indoor River – Swim Parents vs. Hockey Parents

Swim KidsI almost laughed out loud this week when someone led me to a column written by a reporter and “Swim Mom” Lisa Gibalerio from the tony Boston suburb of Belmont in their local “Patch” online newspaper. In the column, Lisa pontificated on the extenuating trials of a swim parent vs.a hockey parent. Really? Swimming? That’s the sport you chose to compare to hockey? I’ll save you the need to click on the story link if you want, to let you know that it’s apparent Lisa has spent way too much time sniffing chlorine and honestly believes that being a swim parent is much more tasking than being a hockey parent.

Now let me preface this by saying I’m one happy guy that none of my five kids ever gravitated for one minute to athletic endeavors that involved a pool. For those of you with “swim kids,” I feel for you. But the one theme of this column that sticks out the most is, this woman apparently does not like being a Swim Mom. For me, that’s the biggest difference right there as most hockey parents I know actually enjoy being hockey parents. As I’ve written here before, I rue the day when my last hockey playing kid hangs up the skates. I’ve never heard this from a swim parent and certainly don’t expect that from Lisa. Her opening salvo states: “I can’t imagine a sporting event more challenging, for spectators, than swim.” Hockey parents aren’t “spectators,” Lisa, they’re participants.

But for fun, let’s dissect some of the most absurd reasoning dictated in her column.  Continue Reading »

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