5 Tips to Help Hockey Moms Survive the Busy Season

Wise words from Andrée Gilbert, Mom of NHL Player Jonathan Toews

How to Survive and Enjoy Hockey Season

Being a hockey mom is more than driving kids to and from the arena or lacing up their skates.

That’s a big part of it, sure, but hockey moms play a very important role in nurturing their child’s dream and passion for the game. Having raised two professional hockey players, including Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews, I have first-hand experience with the challenges and joys Canadian hockey moms face.

At the age of three, Jonathan, our eldest son, began playing hockey and never looked back. His younger brother, David, followed shortly thereafter, and we became a full-fledged hockey household complete with a backyard rink built every year by my husband Bryan. Hockey took over our lives and the house. In the winter, the boys and their friends would spend their spare time on the backyard rink and in the summer, we’d find them playing street hockey or playing in our basement.

As is the case for many parents, both Bryan and I were working full-time and with hockey in the mix, it’s an understatement to say that life was hectic. However, despite having a busy household, I strongly believe that if your kids want to play sports, that you—as a parent—should support them. As a hockey mom, I was committed to supporting both Jonathan and David with my time, money and encouragement to set goals for themselves, teach them to be organized and, most of all, have fun. Perhaps most importantly, my supporting their love of the game instilled in them the confidence that they could pursue their dreams. In return, through their involvement in sports, they have developed life skills that have served them well in every aspect of their lives.

Here are my tips to surviving and enjoying the hockey season:

1. Stay on schedule

When I think back to this time in my life, one image that comes to mind is the giant calendar in our house which was used to plan out which of us would go to each game or practice. I have to say that it not only takes an organized mother to keep things on track, but the children need to be on the ball as well. Both Jonathan and David were very organized at an early age. Almost every night of the week was scheduled—it was homework, dinner, practice, reading, showering and off to bed. Every day was a full day, planned out to every last detail.

2. Organize gear

Invest in a hockey tree. After every practice or game, the boys placed their equipment on the tree to make sure each piece dried properly. It also helped teach them to respect their gear and helped them pack their bag without forgetting a piece of equipment. The traditional type of drying rack (a tree) works great, though there are now new, more innovative options, such as the Rocket Sport Portable Equipment Dryer, which helps to combine heat and vented air to dry most items in 60 minutes, while reducing the spread of odour and bacteria.

3. Keep it clean

At the end of the season make sure to throw your kids’ gear into the washing machine. Wash with warm water, then let it dry fully before storing in the equipment bag for the summer months in a dry place. Odour-eliminating products are helpful in between cleaning equipment and can be kept inside the hockey bag or locker. The Sportsfresh Odour Eliminator and Elite Hockey ProFresh 66 are two examples of products that can help keep everything fresh.

4. Expand your social circle

Get to know the other hockey parents and help each other with dinner or carpooling. It’s also a great way for the kids to spend more time with their teammates and get to know each other better.

5. Have fun

We always had lots of fun with the other parents and always looked forward to seeing them at the games—it was like an extended family! We made a point of making the most of it and having fun along the way, something I know our kids appreciated.

Calling all Hockey Moms!

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Andrée is the proud mother of two professional hockey players. Andrée’s eldest son, Jonathan Toews, is the Captain of the Chicago Blackhawks and founding member of the Canadian Tire Hockey School.  Andrée’s youngest son, David, was drafted to the NHL in 2008 and now plays in the East Coast Hockey League. Andrée and her family are all very much involved in the Canadian hockey lifestyle.