At this time of year there is so much preparation that goes into getting ready for the hockey season. We make sure our players have the right equipment, they are physically ready, the schedule is on the fridge and the list goes on and on. As parents, it’s our job to make sure that they are prepared. We also can’t forget the pre-year meetings and team building activities. The coaches bring the team together to discuss their expectations of the players, what to expect around ice time, as well as how they want them to manage when they are struggling or need to talk to the coach. Yes, everything is set out for the team and coaching staff. The referees have their certifications up to date and the coaches have selected their Assistants. From every angle it looks like the season is ready to get underway. The only problem is this; one of the major players in this hockey machine is being missed. Who is preparing the parents?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a committee formed for hockey parents on every team? A group of people who could confidentially help out a hockey Mom or Dad whose passion for their player or the game is getting out of hand. What if there was someone to organize some team building for parents prior to the season and throughout the season? Players practice for a reason; they need practice on what they’ve learned at the beginning of the year and throughout. Parents need the same thing. Don’t just hold a meeting at the start of the year because parents will forget. The parents are still on a “Hockey Honeymoon” at that point. Send out reminders on what is expected as acceptable conduct in the stands. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you decided as a parent group to write down what would be acceptable behaviour and have every parent sign and review it before games? The rules would cover how to manage when your child gets benched, when they stress around tryouts, or worse, stress from comments made in the stands.
Imagine if you were told that if you continue to yell at the players in a negative manner you will be asked to leave – just like if a young player doesn’t come prepared to be a team player he’ll be benched.
Unfortunately, hockey parents are given a bad name and we work so hard. I believe there is not a hockey parent in the world that sets out to embarrass their child or themselves. I honestly think this game can bring us to a place of excitement and misguided passion that can possibly bring out the worst in us sometimes. So be the change on your team. Be the first team to have a parent support group. If that seems too far-fetched, create a set of rules for yourself going into the season that you’ll read before each game. Make a decision that you will be the best you can be when you step foot in that arena. Decide that yelling and foul language has no place during a game. Make a decision that whether you’re in the car on the way to the rink, tucking your child in after a game, or sitting at the dinner table, your young player will know that this is their experience and that you are there to support and love them along the way. Passion shows up in many ways, so make sure the passion your child sees is that of a parent loving every minute of each time they hit the ice.
-Written by Allyson Tufts
This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used without her permission.