Ask any prizefighter – or even any good hockey player – and he or she will tell you: the fight is won not in the ring, but in the months of preparation beforehand. So while it will be incumbent upon your young skater to diligently practice, prepare, and position him or herself for success, we as parents can set a good example.
Check the gear from head to toe, toe to head, and every neutral zone in between. Chances are your hockey player grew a little, and maybe even grew out of some of his or her gear. It’s not just a matter of comfort, but safety too. Good coverage can help protect players and avoid injury from board collisions, sticks, and pucks. Not sure if you can get another year out of the gear? Auburn, NY hockey mom Jackie Reilly makes a trip to her local retail hockey store, and has them judge what’s good and what needs to be replaced. She also picks up spare blades, laces, sock tape, mouth guards, and stick tape. Then it’s off to the drug store to stock up on ibuprofen and wipes. It all gets packed in a travel crate stored in her Suburban – along with hoodies, blankets, gloves, spare shirts, books, and odor ban travel spray.
As big or bad as any fighter may be, as talented as he or she may be, a prizefighter is only as good as his or her trainer (remember where Rocky was before Mickey taught him to eat lightning and … dispense with the thunder?). So as the person in charge of the corner, make sure your crew knows the rules. School comes first, and sticking to that solid sleep schedule is important too. Other sports, family time, rest, and relaxation need to be in your lives too. Hockey may be a passion, but don’t overdue it.
The preseason team meeting can be one of the most important events of the
season. It will help you determine costs, travel plans, goals for the team, the coach’s philosophy, and give you a chance to develop a good relationship with the coach. Don’t skip it! It takes a team to run a team, so don’t be afraid to get on board with tackling a new role, like team manager. You just may get hooked!
Hockey mom friend Sharon Enck – aka “Puckgal” – has a heart to heart with her goalie daughter before the start of each season, asking things like what she’s excited and nervous about. What does she want to work on this season? “Of course, I don’t interrogate her all at once because she would probably just clam up if I did,” says Enck. ”I drop these questions in during a car ride or on a walk to get the ‘real’ answers.” Enck says that gut check helps her figure out the best way to steer the season. She also does the nose a favor with a good old fashioned sterilization of smelly equipment. The motto for her entourage? “Begin fresh and end filthy.” It may not have the same panache as Burgess Meredith’s infamous line to Rocky, but the sentiment remains – put in the time before you get ready to rumble, and you and yours will be able to proclaim to Adrian and everybody, “Yo, I did it!”