I don't know if this happens to other hockey moms, but there seems to be a point in the summer when I finally realize that the hockey season is over and yet I'm still driving around with the hockey bag in the trunk. I'm so used to rushing to and from cold hockey arenas that piling groceries and beach toys on and around the over-stuffed hockey bag seems totally reasonable. Except it’s summer and the hockey season is officially over.
So what do hockey moms do in the summer?
I mean besides counting down the days with our children until the new season starts and they hit the ice again and we get to see our fellow hockey moms, of course.
We do this mostly because my son can’t get enough of the game (I mean who doesn’t want to spend their summer in a freezing cold arena?) but also because a few months off the ice makes it more challenging to get right back into it when the next season starts. Even a week of power skating summer camp is fantastic for muscle memory.
Weeks (okay months) went by before I actually took the hockey equipment out of the back of the truck. I was scared to open it because even six-year-old boys can have smelly sweaty hockey equipment. Summer is the time to clean/air out everything, get rid of the old stuff, and make a list of what your child will need new in the fall.
I have team photos, cute hockey trading cards with all my son’s stats, and awesome action shots from tournaments. They are all sitting in that very important pile of papers in a basket on my kitchen counter. One or two need to be framed, some shared with relatives, and others tucked away in an album for reminiscing many years from now.
Thankfully, our driveway is big enough for a reasonable game of ball hockey. With just a couple of nets, some sticks, an orange street hockey ball and a handful of neighbourhood kids, my son is entertained for an entire afternoon.
Community hockey doesn't run on its own. Yes it costs money to play, but it also takes hundreds of volunteer hours from coaching to organizing tournaments and fundraisers. Hockey moms are among the top minor hockey association volunteers and over the summer we sign-up, plan, and even get a head start on our volunteer assignments.
My son’s hockey coaches spend hours sharing their own skills and talents making him a better player and just plain making sure he’s having a whole lot of fun. Now that the summer is here, and we aren’t rushing around to all the kids’ activities I realize that the “thank you coach” I tossed out after the last game in the middle of the change room mayhem just doesn’t seem like enough.
A basket of our favourite morning products including homemade Strawberry Maple Jam (recipe below!), homemade bread, Kraft peanut butter, and the Maxwell House Roast & Ground coffee dropped off on our coach’s doorstep to recognize all the mornings he didn’t have time for breakfast during the season.
And now for the jam recipe because there are very few things that are as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup!
Easy Strawberry Maple No-Cook Jam Recipe
1 1/2 lbs. of fresh strawberries (stems removed)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup maple syrup
3 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1 box Certo pectin crystals
Toss strawberries into blender or food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not quite pureed. You should have about 1 3/4 cups of mashed strawberries.
In a bowl, mix strawberries, lemon juice, maple syrup, and sugar. Stir until combined and let sit 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine water and Certo and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add Certo mixture to strawberry mixture and stir gently approximately 3-5 minutes until combined.
Pour into glass jars and cover with air-tight lids. Let sit at room temperature until set (approximately 24 hours).
Once jam is set, store in freezer for 3-4 months or in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
Makes: 40 oz or 2 1/2 pints