She remembered to download the tournament schedule to her phone. She remembered the directions to the arena. She remembered to get the skates sharpened before the tournament. She remembered the hotel snacks. She remembered to give herself plenty of time to get from the hotel to the game. She remembered everything. She was on her game! She got to the arena and opened the hatch to get the hockey equipment out of the car, and...
The hockey equipment was not there.
“Where’s your hockey equipment?” she asked her player, though at this point it was really a silly question because it wasn’t’ there. There was no way that hockey equipment shifted during the ride or was hiding somewhere in the car, it simply: Was. Not. There.
That was the situation for one of my hockey mom friends last weekend at our 37th Annual Walter Gretzky Girls Hockey Tournament in Brantford, Ontario. How could this happen? How could this happen to a seventeen-year-old hockey player who’d been playing since she was four? How could one not notice the absence of a huge hockey bag? To make a long story short, Mom and Daughter were not sharing a room on this trip, and each thought it was in the car. The hockey equipment was sitting in one of the hotel rooms back in Hamilton. This was what you call a major midget hockey blooper!
And in this town of Brantford, surrounded by relentless reminders, memorabilia, statues of The Great One, and even Mr. Walter Gretzky himself, she asked herself,
“What would Walter do?”
They knew exactly what Walter would do. He would fix this. They would fix this too. They had the time and they had the inspiration. They raced back to Hamilton to their hotel. They grabbed that bag and she changed into her hockey gear in the car on the highway on the way back to Brantford to that hockey game. She texted a teammate, “Are we Home or Away?” She would not be slowed down now. She even put her skates on in the car. I stood in the foyer waiting for her with one eye on the game and one eye on the door, waiting for her. And in she walked. She walked into that arena a little late but fully dressed full of energy – just like she’d done sixteen years ago in her TimBit hockey days. Mom broke a speeding law (or two), and Daughter broke a sweat before even stepping onto the ice.
But that seventeen-year-old player came through for us in the end, showing up just as the first period was ending. She played the rest of the game with the same momentum she no doubt spent to right her SNAFU. The coach was happy and we think Walter would have approved too! This episode, however, has now earned her an unfortunate nickname: The So-So One.
Three cheers for hockey moms – and keeping their cool during hockey SNAFUs!
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