Hockey parents, do these things sound familiar?
If you can relate to any of the above, then you already know hockey season is just a few short weeks away.
Believe it or not, all six of our children play the sport. Yep, I’ve been a hockey parent to my three girls and three boys for many years now. I’ve also learned a few tricks along the way, and I may even consider myself a graduate of the Hockey Parenting School of Hard Knocks.
If you’re a hockey parent newbie, read on to and learn my best tips for making the best of this hockey season (and all future seasons!) - from one tired but inspired hockey mama to another.
Always be sure you get the right gear, and that it fits your child properly. Proper gear selection and fit dramatically improve a players safety, performance, comfort, and overall enjoyment of the game.
When our first son started hockey at the age of six, we were absolutely clueless. Girls didn’t play hockey back in my day, so I had no idea what to do. To make things even more difficult, Daddy-o comes from "the land down under" so the whole concept of hockey freaked him out. Needless to say, we weren’t remotely qualified to shop for hockey gear. So what did we do? We took our little rookie down to our local Source for Sports and they saved the day.
Source for Sports has developed a fitting protocol called Pro-formance Advantage Custom Fitting - a custom fitting system designed to put players in the right gear for their game regardless of the level at which they play.
They suited our boy up in no time with equipment that would keep him safe out on the ice. The prices were sensible and investing in great gear makes sense. Once we had all the gear figured out, we learned about helmets, and my little guy got hooked up with the perfect stick - for him. We went into hockey gear shopping feeling so daunted, but ended up having the best experience.
I don’t have to tell you twice that hockey is an expensive activity. When shelling out all that money at the beginning of the season, remind yourself that it’s a long season and the kids get proper equipment, a lot of ice time, and coaching for the money you spend. That being said, there are a few ways to get around some of the expenses.
If you have more than one child playing the sport, invest in quality equipment and be are sure to take good care it so once certain things are outgrown by one child, they can be handed down to younger siblings.
If you have a large family like mine, keep your eyes open for sibling discounts. Many hockey leagues - including the leagues my children are in - allow the third child in any one family to pay half the registration fee.
If this is your family's first year of hockey, enjoy it. Don’t let it frustrate you when the kids stick to the puck like bees to the honey pot – it’s more important to get your kid skating well. The first step towards getting them skating well is to make sure they have GOOD SKATES that fit properly. If you go to your local Source for Sports, you’ll find that the staff all play the game and know their stuff. They can help elevate your kid’s game by getting them geared up with the best-fitting skates.
Tip: Signing your kid up for a power skating course off season is a great investment in your kid’s game. Strong skaters make great little hockey players.
REP hockey is short for “representative” hockey. When a child is on a rep team, they play for their city and travel every weekend to play against other cities. Therefore, there is a lot of travel and because of the competitive nature of REP hockey, children are required to attend many practices a week.
Not sure if REP hockey’s for you? Go into it with your eyes wide open. Additional expenses will come with out of town tournaments, hotels, and lots of restaurants. Hockey will become the number one priority for the family, and this can take a toll. If you have more than one child in rep hockey, you will have to divide and conquer, going in different directions each weekend. But, if parents are committed and kids are passionate, the “pros” list is long.
Winter and hockey are right around the corner, and with the right attitude and the right gear, both you and your little player will have a great hockey season!