At first, the world of ice hockey can be overwhelming for mothers entering it.
New terms, a unique culture, many pieces of equipment, freezing rink... there is a lot to digest!
Below is my survival guide for you: over 32 hockey mom tips to take care of your kid, the equipment and also of you.
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Hockey Moms - you can do it!
Being a hockey Mom - Highs and lows
Being a hockey Mom can be hard work, but it is also very rewarding.
Here is a snapshot of what to expect.
- It is a great environment for your kid to learn teamwork and hard work
- It is a great sport to learn to manage success and failure
- It is a community / a family with social gatherings, you can make life-long friends
- You learn to let you child grow and be accountable
- The stress of some hockey situations - the puck sure flies fast towards the kids!
- The smell of the equipment
- The ice rinks can be cold and all you can do is wait
- The high price tag with all the equipment to purchase and the fact that your kid won't stop growing...
Take it step by step - top 3 tips
In this article, I list all my 32+ tips that can help you navigate this world as a new hockey mom. But if you only have time to read 3, those are:
- Don't hesitate to ask for help - Ice hockey offers a strong community, you will find people willing to help you with understanding how to put on the equipment, how to behave and participate...
- AIR OUT the equipment, as soon as possible - I can't stress this enough. It is essential to get the equipment out of the bag as soon as possible if you don't want terrible smells to develop
- Be ready for the cold - it is important that you don't resent the situation of waiting at the rink, otherwise your kid's experience will be tarnished. Therefore, come prepared with blanket, gloves, hat, coat... see all my suggestions in the tips below.
The power of the hockey mom
Don't underestimate your role. You are not just the chauffeur, doctor and washer.
You are here in the freezing cold cheering your kid.
When he does good, he can look up to you and see your big smile.
When he makes a mistake, he can look up to you and see your signs of support.
You are here to put things into perspective and help them keep in mind the great lessons they are getting from this demanding sport.
Hockey Mom meaning / definition
The definition by the Collins dictionary says: "noun. mainly US. a mother who spends much of her spare time transporting her children to and from ice hockey practices and matches."
The meaning is more than the "mother of a hockey player". It refers to a mom dedicated to doing everything for her kid who wants to play hockey.
5 tips to get organized for the hockey season
#1 - Create a checklist to get all the right equipment
The first thing that can feel overwhelming is to make sure your kid has all that is required to play hockey safely.
There is a lot of gear to purchase and then not forget for each practice and game. A list can help you and your kid not to forget anything.
I will create a comprehensive article about setting up your equipment set, but here is a list for you to start with:
For your kid to wear to the ice (not goalie):
- Pair of skates
- Stick (with a curve that fits the way they shoot)
- A helmet (with face mask)
- Gloves - check out my article to find the best options
- Mouthguard - check out my article to find the best options
- Neck guard
- Shoulder pads
- Elbow pads
- Shin pads
- Hockey pants
- Hockey socks
- Jock or Jill shorts / supporter
#2 - Create a specific hockey equipment drying area
For the same reason as above, it is better to have all the equipment drying out in the same area, so that it is easy to pack everything before practice and not forget any pieces. There is nothing worse than having to drive back home.
If you have a garage, you can set up a drying rack where everything has a place.
#3 - Keep a calendar
Between practices and games, you don't want to waste energy wondering when you need to be at the rink and at which rink you have to go.
Establish a calendar in the best place for you and your kid to follow: your phone, next to the equipment rack, on the fridge, inside a pocket of your car...
#4 - Label equipment and double check before leaving the rink
We have talked about leaving things at the house, but there is also a big chance of leaving things at the rink. Especially with the many kids changing at the same time and not being careful with their gear. The changing room can be madness!!!
#5 - Create your own hockey bag and leave it in your car
As we will see later, you also need to take care of you and your other kids during practice: to be warm and entertained.
It is easier to create a special Hockey Mom Bag with everything you need such as blanket, seat cushion, gloves, entertainment for the kids, snacks, toys, books...
See my collection of Hockey Mom Bags.
9 Hockey Mom tips to take care of your player
#6 - Insist on bathroom time
There is a lot to put on before playing hockey. You don't want to have everything on and, all of a sudden, have to remove everything because of an urgent need.
So, make it a habit of asking your player if he/she needs to go to the bathroom first.
#7 - Learn the right order to add protective gear + teach your kid
If you don't add the gear in the right order, you will have difficulty and waste time, plus create frustration for both you and your player.
So make sure you understand it.
Plus, ensure that your player also focuses on this order, so that he/she can do it later. For example, start by having him/her choose each piece of equipment to put on next. Teach him why it is important to properly wear each piece.
Learn more about that order on my article about youth hockey equipment (to be published).
#8 - Learn to tie the skates
Young kids cannot tie their own skates. They don't have enough strength to pull on the laces.
Therefore, at the beginning, you will be the one tying the skates. And there is an art to it... plus preferences for players (article to be published).
Note - everyone has their own preferences for laces, but know that waxed laces exist. They can help you get a better grip and save your hands.
Learn more on my article about the best hockey skate laces.
#9 - Support their passion but keep it fun
Make sure that the sport always stays fun. The secret to success is having fun, and not feeling like you are working at it.
Don't stress about what position or line your kid plays. Enjoy every moment, every progress.
For example, at each end of practice or game, you can:
- Congratulate your player with specific examples of something he/she did
- Ask during which part they had the most fun
- What they are looking forward to doing again at the next practice
#10 - Teach your player early to carry his/her own bag
When very young, the bag may be as big as your kid. But, still, I recommend you teach your kid to already carry his/her own bag (while you help, holding the strap above, for example). This will teach responsibility, respect for the equipment and respect for you.
#11 - Teach your child good sportsmanship
This is general parenting advice, but it is essential to remember in ice hockey.
Emotion can run high in this intense sport and it is important to control words and behaviors.
After a game, win or lose:
- Offer advice on how to congratulate the other team if they won
- Offer advice on how to support teammates when they lose
- Take the time to remind them of the good actions or moments in the game
- Ban trash talks
- And set the example!
#12 - Teach your kid how to be a team player
Hockey is a great sport to learn a lot of valuable life lessons and get a lot of benefits (see my 12 top benefits from playing hockey).
One of the most important ones, is team spirit.
Remind them that being on a team is being part of a family. Enjoy the various situations with other team players as great life lessons!
#13 - Teach your kid to take care of the equipment after use
Make sure you teach your kid early how to properly dry out his/her skates. This is essential for the rust not to form.
It is something even a young kid can do.
For the other equipment, make sure you kid help you get the pieces out of the bag and on to the drying area.
#14 - Tape some plays
The best way for a kid to appreciate his/her progress is to compare tape from one season to the other.
Kids love seeing old videos of them playing.
7 Hockey Mom behavior tips
#15 - Learn the game and the language!
Or at least the basics. If you want to be able to support your kid and let him/her know some great moves he/she did, then you need to understand a minimum.
It is not to become the coach, though!!! Careful. It is just to be able to have a meaningful discussion with your kid.
I already introduced you the many pieces of equipment.
You should also understand the main positions - at the beginning, kids play at all positions:
- The Forwards play in a 3-person line (left wing, center, and a right wing) and try to score goals
- The Defense play behind the forwards and are responsible for helping defend the goal.
- The Goalie (goaltender) defends the goal and rarely leaves the net.
Learn more on my article explaining the ice hockey positions.
And here are a few other terms that can be useful:
- The puck is the rubber disc that players push around and try to shoot inside the net
- The blue line divides the ice rink into the defensive and offensive zones
- The red line is also called the foal line
- Face-off - when 2 players battle for the puck after a referee drops it
- Shorting the bench - players take turn and spend time waiting on the bench - this is to spend as little time as possible on the bench
- Offside - when a player from an attacking team enters the offensive zone with both skates before the pucks enters it
There are many more, but this should get you started with a beginner player.
Plus, you can get a blank playbook to discuss with your kid while he/she draws the hockey play on the paper.
#16 - Be the cheerleader
Be there for your kid as much as you can. Smile and clap. Enjoy the big smiles on his/her face!
#17 - But don't use cutesy names
Remember when you were a kid yourself. How embarrassed you were when your parents used a cute surname when shouting for you.
Try and control yourself! No shouting "that's my baby!".
#18 - Don't go running at every fall
Your kid feels your fear. His/her reaction is as much due to the falls as it is due to your behavior.
A hockey player wears a lot of protection. Most of the time, the pain comes mostly from the surprise.
So after some of the first falls, smile and give your player a big thumbs up to say: "It is all OK". Wait and see if you really need to go down because he/she really feels hurt.
#19 - Don't behave like you are the coach
You don't know. You don't know the kids. You don't know the strategy. Let the coach do his/her job.
#20 - Thank the coach
Don't forget to thank the coach. Taking care and training a whole team requires a lot of energy (plus, dealing with crazy parents).
A good rule to keep in mind is:
Don’t judge a coach by how many wins the team gets, but by how many players want to return to hockey again next season.
At the end of the season, a small gift is a great idea. Check out my article with 30+ gift ideas for hockey coaches.
#21 - Don't complain or get involved
Don't join the group of parents that keep criticizing how the club or team is run, how their child is better and should have a better position...
It is really bad for your mental health and it helps no one.
If you really think things are not well run at the rink, then get involved and do your part to help improve things.
Don't complain unless you are willing to step up and do the job yourself.
6 tips for Hockey Mothers to take care of themselves
#22 - Don't be afraid to ask for help
There is a lot to learn when your kid start playing hockey: the equipment, the rules, the conditions, the games...
There is always somebody ready to help you. It is a big family. Ask for help!
#23 - Keep warm and comfortable - essential hockey mom gear
You are going to spend a lot of time at the rink. Make sure you have everything to not be cold. Because, if you feel uncomfortable, you might start resenting the situation and it will make the experience less enjoyable for your kid as well.
In your hockey mom bag you should have:
- a seat cushion (those benches are terribly bad on your behind)
- a warm blanket (see below an option to personalize to be a cheerleader at the same time!)
- a warm coat
- a hat
- gloves (note: fingerless with a flap on top, allow you to take pictures easily without removing the gloves)
- warm shoes, the toes are the first body part to get cold and it is hard to warm them.
- a tumbler with warm drink
Get more ideas in my article about hockey mom gifts.
#24 - Don't get under financial stress
Don't blow your budget. Hockey is an expensive sport. There is a lot of equipment needed.
It can be hard on some families.
Support the passion, but don't spend all your family budget on just this one activity.
It can be easier said than done but try placing limits.
#25 - Moisturize
There are 2 areas of your body that won't like ice hockey: your hands and your lips.
- As I mentioned earlier, when your player is young, you have to lace the skates. This is hard on your cold hands. The friction can cause blisters or small cuts. So, make sure to moisturize your hands right after lacing the skates.
- Staying in the freezing cold of the rink, your lips must be protected if you don't want them to get dry and cracks to form.
#26 - Find other parents to hang out with and protect yourself from negativity
In one of the following sections, I will describe the different types of hockey parents you can find at the rink.
Make sure to find people you can hang out with. You will be able to support and help each other. Plus, you could make great friends!
However, know that for every rink and every team, there are parents that will spend the whole practice complaining: either that something is not run properly, or that their kids does not play enough, or is not valued enough... Avoid at all costs!!! Such people are so bad for your own mental health.
#27 - Bring activities for the siblings
If you have to take your other kids to a hockey game or practice, make sure you bring something to keep them busy with a variety of activities; coloring books, toys, books, electronics... Hearing them complain that it is too long and "when do we get home" is not fun.
3 Hockey Mom tips to take care of the equipment
#28 - Never leave the hockey bag in the car
The most important thing is to air the hockey equipment as soon as possible. Don't leave the gear in the closed bag.
Because if you don't, the humidity will create plenty of unpleasant situations... especially smelly ones.
#29 - Establish a washing routine
Make sure you establish a routine with:
- getting the equipment out every single time - the best is to have a rack to set them up all together but with space between them so that they dry out completely
- washing the equipment regularly (article to be published)
- spraying the equipment with a fabric deodorizer between washes to avoid lingering smells
#30 - Have the blades sharpened
Blades need to be sharp for proper skating.?
By wearing the blade guards off the ice and taking good care of the skates, the sharpening can stay sufficient for quite a long time (for youth hockey players not practicing often).
Check with your coach to decide when sharpening is required.
3 Tips off the ice
#31 - Be prepared for your kid to be exhausted
After practice and games, between the physical activity, the tension and the excitement, you kid will probably be exhausted.
Be aware and be ready.
#32 - Support the passion off the ice
There are many ways to help you kids live their passion for hockey off the ice:
#33 - Help you player practice skills off the ice
Time on the ice is limited. If your kid really loves it and wants to practice more, there are great options to work on skills at home.
The training set can include:
- For the skating: Slide boards (see my article on the best ones) or synthetic ice (see by article on the best ones)
- For stickhandling: a shooting pad or tiles (see the best ones) with stickhandling tools (see the best ones)
- For passing: a shooting pad with a passer (see the best ones)
- For shooting: net targets or shooting tarps (see the best ones)
- For balance a balance board (see the best ones)
Or go all in with synthetic ice:
Types of hockey parents
As I wrote before, ice hockey is a great community, but you should be careful with whom you spend most of your time. Negative criticizing parents can be bad for your mental health.
Here are some typical behaviors to observe and consider in yourself:
- The "I know better than the coach" parents
Parents that keep moving in the stands, always wanting to shout their opinions and tips to players and to the coach as well.
Some of their favorite words are: "Shoooot!!!" or "Pass the puck" or "this is wrong, what are you doing?" or recommending which player to use...
My comment - It is great to show your kids you care and understand, but let the coach be the coach, and participate only if you kids asks for your opinion.
- The team crazy parents
Often found in pack wearing the colors of the team. Can be loud, cheering all the time and chatting feverishly about the exploit of their kids or the team.
My comment - love the team spirit! But check with your kid how he/she feels about your involvement. Balance and measure are always a good idea. Pick one team item and monitor your voice volume level.
- The loner parents
Often seated at on corner of the stands, away from the other parents.
My comment - I understand preferring the quiet and peaceful loneliness, but don't do it all the time. Ice hockey is a great community. Make an effort and you may make some great friends, plus get help for your kid.
- The ghost parents
You rarely see them, as they disappear as soon as the kid is dropped off, or ready to play.
My comment - not everyone has the time to stay at the rink. People have to go to work or take care of other kids. Don't judge those parents, you don't know their situation. And if you are one of them, take the time to discuss the situation with your kid so that he/she understands why it is different in his/her case. And define together, how often you could join and watch.
- The Negative Bully parents
It is easy to spot, them, they are always complaining: "This is not fair. Why is my kid not spending more time on the ice", "This is crazy, why does the changing room smell that bad", "why is the coach doing this or that"... "why is the coach playing this kid, he can't stand on his skates..."
My comment - I wrote it before and will repeat: AVOID!!!!!
- The famous "Crazy hockey Mom"
Thankfully they are not too frequent, but they keep pacing, yelling, and banging on the walls. They even sometimes go on the ice and shout "get away from my kid"
My comment - Stay away. You won't be able to change their mind and calm them.
- The Balanced parents
They are here to support and help whenever needed, but don't ask for praise about it.
They cheer for the team, but not too loud to over-cheer the other parents
They cheer for their kids, but also for all the kids. they don't blame a kid for a mistake.
They focus on the positive, but are willing to help to fix any negative situation
My comment - learn from them
Hockey mom quotes and sayings, and other fun facts
Below is a selection of quotes and sayings about hockey mothers to make you smile:
- My favorite hockey player calls me Mom
- You know you are a hockey Mom when your first aid kit consists of skate laces and mouth guards (someecard)
- ON a scale of one to Hockey Mom, how crazy are we talkin' here? (someecard)
- You know you are a hockey mom when you carry a blanket and winter coat in your car in August (someecard)
- "Never be afraid of another player on the ice, always be afraid of their mother in the stands"
- I can't keep calm, I am a goalie mom
- You know you are a hockey mom when your GPS is full of ice arenas (me)
- Famous hockey player's mom: Sidney Crosby mom - Apparently Sidney Crosby never talks to his mom or sister on game day because he believes that every time he has done it he got injured (story here)
- A reality TV show has been made about Minnesota hockey moms (“Hockey Moms”). Apparently, there were more than 400 applicants (story here)
Hockey mom gifts for mothers' day or other occasions
Hockey Moms are deserved to be recognized for all their energy, constant driving and cheers.
For mothers' day, birthdays, Christmas or just to say thank you, you can offer her:
- Seat cushion
- Air freshener for the car
- Sweatshirt, leggings, hats or other pieces of clothing