My daughter recently announced to her dad and I that she may not play hockey next year.
She has two older brothers who also started playing hockey when they were about four and who also announced at some point that they may not play hockey anymore, so I kind of knew what to say.
I responded, “Oh, really? Well, the decision is yours; just let me know when you decide.”
Because that is really all that needs to be said at this point.
I know some hockey moms who don’t believe they’ll ever hear their kids says these words, but they are in denial! I learned an important lesson when my middle guy announced he wanted to quit hockey. I was not prepared for it and told him he could not quit until he found a suitable alternative… one that involved healthy physical exercise and not sitting in the basement playing Xbox. I’m pretty sure that last year of hockey was his worst year ever. His love for playing the game – both recreationally and competitively - had already diminished. Forcing him to play another year was a big mistake. Not only did he not regain any love for playing the game, it also left him little time to find that suitable alternative that I was so adamant he do.
My daughter will be sixteen this fall and has been playing recreational hockey since she was four years old. I knew she’d been giving quitting some serious thought. She wants to participate more fully in a few different school sports and focus on her school work and her grades for Grade 11.
Can you find fault it her reasoning? Because I sure can’t.
Here are three signs that your child may be ready to quit hockey:
1. They gripe about going to both practices and games.
It’s not uncommon for older players – those in high school – to start complaining about attending practices. While it is unfair to coaches that their players stop showing up to their practices, many players this age are only in it for the thrill of the games. If your child has lost interest in both, they may be thinking of quitting hockey.
2. They stop talking incessantly about hockey.
If they’re not talking about hockey in the car before and after hockey events, or at home when the hockey schedule is discussed, chances are they’re losing interest. And while being withdrawn from hockey conversation may also be a sign of trouble in the dressing room, it may be a sign of something greater. If your child has lost interest in talking about the game, they may be thinking of quitting hockey.
3. They’re not excited about the start of the hockey season.
Kids are often itching to get back on the ice. They’re checking out their equipment, trying on their skates and helmet, asking to go shopping for hockey sticks, begging for a summer hockey camp. If your child is doing none of these, they may be thinking of quitting hockey.
I’m sure hockey experts and sports psychologists may have a differing opinion on the signs that come with losing interest in hockey, but I’m just a hockey mom. And I speak from hockey mom experience. So when my daughter mentioned she may no longer want to play hockey, I’m playing it low key. Quitting hockey doesn’t make her a quitter.
The fact that she may not play hockey in the fall may mean that my life will be drastically altered – that my life as a hockey mom will come to an end after sixteen seasons – but that should play no part in her decision making.
If that’s the decision that is made, we’ll just have to deal with it (and I’ll keep you all posted!)
Three cheers for staying in the game – as long as it’s for all the right reasons!
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