I've been a hockey mom for about five years now. First with my older son who then moved over to speed skating and now with my younger son. Between their two schedules, I'm at a rink a minimum of five times a week. Through the years I've learned a thing or two about how to be an efficient, organized hockey mom and how to stay warm and well fed while doing it.
Here are ten rational rules for the rink to help you make it through hockey season.
Keep The Hockey Bag Fresh
If you think your wee one is too young to smell, think again. I have a husband who plays hockey, a son who plays hockey, another son who speed skates and I speed skate. We all work up a sweat and we all smell—even the little ones (sorry, it’s true). The smell from sweaty jerseys, jocks and skates then gets transferred to everything else in the hockey bag. To help combat sport stink, here are three tips.
(1) Wash jerseys every week.
(2) Remove the bag from your vehicle and open it up to air it out (we do it either in our basement or the garage).
Handling Their Own Hockey Bag
Our house rule is if you’re old enough to play hockey, you’re old enough to drag your hockey bag from the vehicle to the arena and back again.
Teach Your Children To Put On And Take Off Their Own Equipment
This is a two-fold tip (1) it teaches your child independence and (2) it takes the onus off you. Even if you have a little one who is just starting hockey, you can start the process of teaching him how to put on his own equipment by making a game of it. Start by having him choose each piece of equipment he is to put on next. Then as he gets older, have him find the piece of equipment and put it on himself (correcting any mistakes along the way—the equipment needs to be worn properly to help keep him safe).
The one caveat to this tip is tying hockey skates. Little hands don’t have the strength to pull the laces tight enough. Get used to the fact that you’ll be tying laces for a few years.
This brings to me to hockey laces. After years of tightening and re-tightening skate laces, I discovered laces coated in wax. Regular laces can be difficult to get tight and can loosen up as your little one is on the ice. Waxed laces are designed to stay tight because the friction of the wax keeps them in place. I can't even express to you how much waxed laces have helped me.
Keep A Calendar
My first year being a hockey mom I showed up at the wrong arena for a practice—twice. Create a calendar to keep track of when and where your child should be to avoid missing any games or practices.
Even if you’re bundled up it’s always great to have a few blankets. If you don’t use them for warmth they make a cozy cushion. Arena seats can be very hard.
Pack An Activity Bag For Siblings
Little ones can get bored watching hockey which leads to complaining and/or them wanting to take off and run around. Pack a bag filled with simple activities like colouring books and crayons, books, small toys, and handheld electronics (if you have them).
Teach Your Children Good Sportsmanship
Disappointment is a part of playing a sport, they’re not going to win every game. Take the time to teach your children how to win and lose like a winner. This includes congratulating the other team if they won, supporting their teammates when they lose, and no trash talking. Excitement at winning the big game is allowed.
And parents? I can’t stress this enough. Set the example! Don’t be the parent yelling at your child to skate faster, criticizing the kid who missed a goal or screaming at the referee because he made a “bad” call. Hockey is a fun sport—don’t ruin it for the kids with your own unsportsmanlike conduct.
Wishing all the hockey moms and dads a great season filled with hot coffee, cool rinks and fun times at the arena!