When we first started out as hockey parents, a coach told us, “Nothing about hockey is convenient.”
Honestly, becoming a hockey parent for the first time, is like the first time you purchase a smartphone. There’s a lot of trial-and-error, and at times, the whole thing made you question if it was all really worth it.
But just like that iPhone or Android, you eventually come to the conclusion that you can’t imagine life before hockey parenting.
We were fortunate to get a lot of help along the way, so here’s sage advice from veteran hockey parents:
“Don’t lose focus on what matters most to your family and your child’s development as a hockey player and person. Focus on effort given and encourage them to give their best. That character trait will transcend the game and pay a lifetime of dividends.” – Jason Hubbard, Skaneateles, N.Y.
“When they run across that one parent who is acting like his/her kid’s agent, they need to understand that they may be the loudest, but they are not the majority.” – ‘On The Job Mom’ hockey blogger Emily Oberst.
“Keep an emergency kit in the car with laces, mouthpieces, extra helmet parts.” – Melissa Calfo Hebert, Elm City, N.C.
“Use the 24-hour period before going to the coach with concerns/complaints.” – Chris High, Pittsburgh
“Remember the young refs are somebody’s kid, brother, friend and teammate. They will make mistakes.” – Peter Bellendir, Fond du Lac, Wis.
“Keep a rink bag packed and in your car because there’s always rinks that are colder than any other you’ve been in before.” – Traci Winter McLaughlin, Syracuse, N.Y.
“Since you’re going to live in the car, buy the vehicle you can be comfortable traveling in. It’s always fun to have room for friends and travel together. Splitting the cost for travel is good, too.” – Pam Munson, Baldwinsville, N.Y.
“I’m amazed at how supportive kids and parents can be. Encourage that environment. It’s so much better for everyone.” – Kari Hawkins Walock, Faribault, Minn.
“Use your travel time to and from games and practice to talk with your kids and really get to know them better. Don’t let them just plug in the head phones right away.” – Sharon Johnson Malone, Orangeville, Ill.
“Never presume that you know your child’s hockey sense better than their coach. Let hockey be an exposure to the real world and build their work ethic.” Brigitte Hoffman, Anaheim, Calif.
“Always tell them you’re proud of them – no matter what. Please remember, they’re kids, not NHL prospects.” – Nicole Moskal-Burgio, Buffalo
“Encourage your kids to have fun. And dress themselves.” – Linda Aitcheson, Belfast, United Kingdom
“Just have fun and enjoy it while it lasts because it ends too fast.” – Shannon Dankert, Cortland, N.Y.
Now that you have some cursory instructions to hockey parenting, you can look forward to this new adventure. As a wise hockey dad advised, it’s more about where you are going than where you have been.