As a hockey Mom who has made her fair share of mistakes, I wanted to offer you five quick tips of what not to do as you head into the hockey season.
DO NOT try and correct, reason with, or scold the hockey Mom in the stands from the other team, that is making a fool of herself by yelling at your players. If she is already going nuts, do you honestly think a Mom from the other team “scolding her” is going to be the one thing that settles her down? I have yet to witness an argument between two opposing parents where one says, “Thank you so much for setting me straight, regardless of who wins, I’m really glad you scolded me.”
DO NOT talk “hockey” with your child’s teammates when it’s your turn to car pool or if they come over to hang out with your young player. Don’t tell them who you think should get ice time or who you like or don’t like. Most importantly, if you have negative comments about the coach, don’t tell them! If they are having their own discussion, do not get involved unless they are being disrespectful. These are kids, although they may be listening, most of them don’t have the maturity of discretion. Don’t put them or you in that position because this is information they don’t need.
DO NOT yell at the referees! Have you ever seen an official turn around to a disgruntled hockey parent and say, “You are so right, I’m going to change the call!”? I would bet there are many parents that leave the rink with regret over getting upset over a call that wouldn’t be changed anyway. It’s not worth the embarrassment for your child and it’s not the example you want to set. If you feel upset about a call, step out for a minute and come back once you’ve settled down.
Okay, listen closely to this, it’s an important one. DO NOT corner the coach at a hockey tournament in the parent’s lounge, in a parking lot, an elevator, and most importantly when you’ve been drinking with the team to talk about ice time. I’m being your friend right now. You might think, in that moment, it’s the perfect time to have a conversation about your young player, but hear me when I say YOU ARE WRONG. Unless the coach has a policy that you can talk to them at any time, follow the proper channels to speak to them. Always, always, always try and exercise the 24-hour rule. If the coach prefers email, start there. If they prefer to speak to the player first about an issue, as long as they are old enough, coach them through it so they can do it in a mature manner. If you feel very strongly about an issue with the coach, do it in the right way. You’ll lose all credibility if it’s done at a team party, a tournament after a few beers or in the parking lot when you’re upset.
- Finally, this is my most important tip and advice to you. DO NOT miss the joy of watching your child play, or the joy of the car rides, the talks, the pre-game meals, or the great games worrying about things that don’t matter. I can tell you from experience that this journey goes very fast and if you think you’ll have the opportunity to sit in your car for 2-3 hours when your young player becomes an adult, you are wrong. If you think they are always going to be sitting at your table eating the pre-game meal you made for them, you are wrong. Hear me when I say that these moments are gifts and there is no amount of ice time or hockey drama that should outweigh that.
I’m sure by now it’s obvious how I came up with these tips. I have made these five crucial mistakes more times than I’d like to mention. I hope they help you as you head into a new hockey experience. Here’s to a good season with no regrets and with lots of amazing moments at the rink!
- Written by Allyson Tufts
This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used without her permission.