It’s official. There is no way I can win my 2016 NHL hockey pool. I’m out. Our friendly neighbourhood playoff-season event serves as a reminder to me that whatever happens in the regular NHL season no longer matters – and anything can happen in the playoffs. Literally, all my picks have cleared out their lockers and are now reporting for duty on golf courses and cottage docks all over the world.
The same can be said of the minor hockey playoff season too. Just as the regular season ends, hockey moms spend a great deal of time reminding their kids one of two things: “don’t get cocky; the playoffs are a whole new game and anything can happen,” or, “don’t worry about it; now comes the playoffs and anything can happen.”
How a hockey team can dominate during the regular season and spiral to quick elimination in the playoffs is as puzzling to me as how an underdog team suddenly finds its mojo in the playoffs and rises to victory (no doubt even more puzzling to players and coaches but I’m not one of them!). There’s some kind of magic going on during the playoffs. It must be the superstitions.
Hockey superstitions are something of legend in the playoffs. Never mind the playoff beard – something most young hockey players will have to wait a few years to sport – but have you heard that once Sidney Crosby has taped his sticks no one can touch them? If someone accidentally does, he re-tapes them. It is reported that Wayne Gretzky would finish every single pre-game warm up by downing four drinks in the following order: Diet Coke, ice water, Gatorade and a second Diet Coke (oh, this hockey mom cringes with that amount of sugar!). And who can forget Patrick Roy’s pep talks with his goalposts?
My kids had their hockey superstitions too. My oldest guy, a goalie, had too many superstitions to count! I’m not honestly sure you could call them superstitions, though. He’d divulge his superstition, give it a whirl, and if the game didn’t go his way, he’d drop that superstition, pronto!
My middle guy, a goalie his whole minor hockey career, would always, always put in his mouthguard before he put on his should pads. If anyone talked to him, no one would understand what he was saying, so no one would talk to him. Good thinking, kiddo! I think I’ll try that Sunday morning! He also kept a tape ball in his hockey bags for three consecutive years. By the end of those three years, that tape ball was bigger than his helmet.
And my baby? She, too, was a goalie for a couple of seasons and wore the same plaid PJs under her goalie pads. They were green. Her game jersey was red and black. And she didn’t just talk to her goal posts, she assaulted them. Then she sang to them. She was something to behold, that’s for sure.
Hockey moms have their superstitions too. I know one hockey mom who sat in the exact same spot in the bleachers for every home game. I know another who would only watch games from the foyer because their team lost if she sat in the bleachers (pretty sure she just liked the warmth of the foyer but we’ll go with her version). I know another who fed her son a hot dog before every game because he swore it was his game food. No matter the age, status, or level of the hockey player, they all have playoff or game ritual that they stick to.
So tell us, what is your player’s wackiest hockey superstition? And you, Hockey Mom? What’s yours? Do they help you enjoy the game a little more?
Three cheers to all the hockey moms during playoffs – may those superstitions serve you well in the playoffs!
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