We’re hosting a hockey team holiday party this weekend. Players, parents, siblings, and any neighbourhood riff-raff who wanders through our front door between the hours of 4:00 and 7:00PM on Saturday evening are welcome.
It’s been a few years since we’ve hosted a slapshot soirée, but my daughter was insistent as it’s her last year of hockey. Thanks to Memories of Hockey Parties Past, I was somewhat reluctant but ’tis the season after all. I’ve learned a thing or two about hockey parties, and so I thought I would share some helpful dos and don’ts of hosting one:
Do plan the party well in advance. No one likes a last minute request, except if the hostess didn’t really want to host and doesn’t really want anyone to come anyway. And do plan it as a potluck. There is no reason you have to open your house to everyone and do all the cooking and preparation. Feel free to assign food for people to bring well, otherwise Mary will bring brussel sprouts … again.
Do have a place for guests to put all the coats and boots. Growing up, my parents used to put all the coats in their master bedroom during a holiday party. I’m not really sure what the thinking was on that one. Coats do not belong in the master bedrooms of Canada.
Do have disposable plates, cutlery and glassware available as well as lots of garbage bags. The amount of garbage a hockey team party creates brings tears to David Suzuki’s eyes, so do your best to plan for compostable or reusable service ware.
Do plan a cut-off time for guest departures. If the invite said 4:00 to 7:00 and at 7:30, Joe has made himself comfortable on your couch, do tell him that you have another holiday party to attend that evening.
Do have another parent plan a team activity during the party for the kids, preferably in the backyard (make that preferably in the neighbour’s backyard). Sixteen rambunctious and bored ten-year olds is not a good combo. (Oh, on that note, maybe plan something other than Hockey Night in Canada for the hockey dads too or you may not see them all evening!)
Do allow people to help clean up as the party is winding down. In the past, I’ve patted myself on the back for having the whole kitchen clean, only to walk around the corner and find a crime scene in the family room.
Do have fun yourself and let fun happen.
Don’t allow free reign to your whole house for party guests. Remember the coats in my parents’ bedroom? They once found a sleeping toddler among them. Hey, it was the sixties afterall. Hockey parties are kitchen parties, family room parties, garage parties, backyard parties. Whatever you do, don’t forget to put away the family heirlooms and fragile décor (says one who has protected the Christmas tree from curious and unsupervised siblings).
Don’t clean the house before the party. No really, what are you thinking?
Don’t worry about what the neighbours will think. The cars will all arrive en masse at 4:00PM and depart in unison at 7:00PM.
Don’t forget to turn the oven off after taking out the lasagna/casserole/pizza/other entrée. Hockey parties are kitchen parties – it’s about to get hot in here.
Don’t allow slaps shots in your rec room. Mini-stick games are fine but, unless you’re married to a professional dry waller and painter, just don’t.
Don’t allow sleepovers. It’s enough already – you don’t not have to supervise them all night too and feed them breakfast.
So whether you’re hosting a hockey team party or attending one, there’s enough advice here to make sure that everyone has fun and everyone remains on speaking terms.
Three cheers for a happy hockey holiday party to all – and to all a good night!
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