Dear fellow hockey parents, fun letter
10/12/2019, 1:00pm MDT
By Brigitte dePagter Kusuno, Board President
Enjoy this fun read!
Dear fellow hockey parents,
No matter if you are a new or returning hockey parent, I encourage you to read this, tuck it away, and then reread it throughout your child’s hockey career and hopefully it will bring you a smile and help you realize we are all in this nonsense together.
As a hockey mom of 3 and a Lizard Head Hockey Club board member for nearly 10 years now, I thought I would share with you some of my mistakes, triumphs, and wisdom I have picked up along the way to help you all embrace the joy of being a hockey parent.
The very first thing our mini mite coach told us was that none of our kids will be going to the NHL. Here are a few things they forgot to mention that first mini mite year but I have learned along the way:
- There will be times when you call your 6-year-old a punk.
- There will be times when YOUR child will call you a punk.
- You will hear other parents call your child a punk.
- There are times you will agree with them.
- You will go to the wrong rink.
- You will show up at the wrong time.
- You will be late, probably because of a snowstorm.
- You will see parents getting thrown out of a rink, hopefully, it is not you or your spouse.
- You will plan strategies for the championship game after consuming a six-pack.
- You will think the coach CAN’T coach
- You will think you CAN coach, you will believe this even more after a few drinks at the hotel bar (or 10 years on the hockey board).
- You will consume lots of cheap pizza poolside.
- You will not think twice about letting your scuzzy hockey player contaminate the hotel pool after they play several games.
- Hockey is a very, very, very, very difficult game to play. You are probably terrible at it. It takes high skill and lots of courage, so lay off your kid. Don't berate them. Be patient and encourage them.
- Hockey is an emotional game and your child has the attention span of a chipmunk on Ritalin. The hockey coach will yell a bit during practice; they might even yell at your precious little Angle. As long as there is teaching involved and not humiliation, your child will be ok. The goal is to teach them the right way, sometimes that just takes some emphasis.
- Your kids should be dressing themselves and tying their own skates by their second year of Squirt.
- That being said I can not promise your HS skater will not ask you to tie their skates from time to time (Kai), or that you will not give in and actually do it.
- Do not fret over penalties not called during games and don't waste your breath screaming at the referees. We have all seen those parents that are flipping out at the referees and look like lunatics. Don’t be that person your friends and children will thank you.
- At some point you will be that lunatic, we all do it, it will be ok, apologize if you need to.
- You can yell like crazy during the game. Scream every kind of insane instruction you want to your kids. They can't hear you.
- In the car ride home, ask them if they had fun and gently promote creativity, cooperation, and competitiveness.
- Don’t talk ill of teammates, to their face or behind their back and teach your skaters not to do this either, it is not beneficial or productive in fact quite the opposite.
- Having a warm breakfast after an early morning weekend game will become one of your most syrupy sweet memories.
- Whenever possible, trade-in your kids' ice skates and buy used skates, especially during those growing years and even if you can afford to buy new skates every six months. Your kids don't need $800 skates and a $400 stick no matter what your tax bracket is. They will not make them better players.
- Teach your skater to be a good teammate. Missing practice or games is akin to missing a powder day. We take attendance at hockey games very seriously and with small numbers every skater is vital.
- There will be times your kids will ski and then come to hockey and have Gumby legs, it's ok, however, if hockey performance is a concern, then I advise limiting or eliminate skiing before games.
- Teach your kids not to celebrate too much after a goal and by all means, tell them to celebrate with the team. After they score, tell them not to skate away from their teammates. Find the person who passed you the puck and tell him or her, "Great pass.”
- At some point, your skater will lose a game that will bring on tears. Please remind them only by failing over and over again do we learn how to succeed.
- You will spend more money on one stick than your current car payment and your skater may even break it 3 days after purchasing it (Landon).
- You will get into arguments with strangers. That six-year-old that you called a punk will STILL be a punk when your son or daughter plays them again at 16. And so will their mother. So will your son or daughter. So will you. So is every ref you will EVER meet. Especially when you lose.
- When the school principal smiles smugly on a Monday morning and asks your child how he’s feeling, it’s because they KNOW you were in Breckenridge on Friday for a game.
- Your player will miss school. Most of those “sick” days will be tournament Fridays.
- Your child will play with an ear infection, they will play with strep throat, and with a 102° fever. Heck, they probably got it from a teammate; illness spreads through a hockey team quicker than a line change.
- There will NEVER be a reason your player deserved that penalty. You will want to defend your son or daughter to referees, coaches, and other parents, but mostly to hotel security.
- Your entire house, including your back porch, basement or garage, will be decorated with hockey gear 12 months out of the year, not just during hockey season.
- By the time you get that hockey stench out of your car, it will be time for the next season to start.
- Most weekends you will be chaffering around not only your children but several others. You will probably know these players best by number and birth year.
- You will refer to 7 AM as midday.
- You will become an expert at Click List, for those scrambles home after a long hockey weekend.
- Don’t keep track of your hockey expenses, trust me it will be terrifying, especially if you have 3 that play on multiple teams.
- You will laugh and happily pay the $90 registration fee you used to complain about for little league.
- If your skater is motivated to try out for a regional team, the tryout is a wonderful experience and if they make the team they will create fast friends they will have throughout their hockey career playing both with and against. If they don’t make it, teach them to learn from it, work hard and come back stronger.
- Even the best skaters have been cut from teams. It is all about what they do after the cut that determines if they get stronger, better and faster.
- There are massive benefits to being on both an A or a B team, embrace those benefits and continue to support and encourage your skaters to develop into the best skater they can be.
- You will share hotel rooms, car rides, and every childhood illness.
- Some of your best adult friends will be your fellow hockey parents.
- Some of your kid's best friends will be their fellow teammates.
- That mom you called a punk just might end up being the manager on a team your skater skates with the following season, and her punk of a son or daughter will be one of the number of new teammates your skater becomes fast friends with.
- Enjoy the rink. Keep it fun, keep it in perspective and enjoy the madness.
- It's good karma to respect the game.
- You won’t realize how fast the time is going, you won’t appreciate it, and you will miss it. Thank goodness I still have one young one (Kobe).
- No, your child is NOT going to the NHL. They probably won’t even play in college. But he or she will learn how to lace up their own skates and in the end, those tiny little skates will be bigger than a squirt parent’s ego after a championship win. And that mini mite coach—the one who you swore couldn’t coach and offended you by saying your little cherub wasn’t going to the NHL—you’ll want to thank them. Thank them for their time, talent and for their help in turning your mite into a woman or man.
Here is to an amazing 2019-2020 season! Go Lizard Head Hockey Club!
Brigitte dePagter Kusuno
Lizardhead Hockey Club Board President
Brigitte@telluridecolorado.net / firstname.lastname@example.org