I’m guessing that if the title of this post made you think of Vanilla Ice’s big 1990 hit “Ice Ice Baby,” you are probably over the age of forty. Did you know that song had the questionable distinction of making the now-defunct Blender Magazine’s 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever? I wonder what Vanilla Ice is doing these days? Now 48 years old, maybe he’s too busy taking his two daughters to hockey practice to rap anymore – and for that we would be thankful.
Of course I am old, and I am still taking kids to hockey practice. And the title of this post has nothing to do with rap music but everything to do with the hockey team icebreaker party. Before the hockey season gets underway, there is one very crucial event that must take place – the icebreaker party. Sure the kids are looking forward to their first league game, but the hockey moms know that the icebreaker party is the real season opener.
"Icebreaker" is technically a term used for a ship designed to break a path in the water through ice. It’s also a term used to define “a thing that serves to relieve inhibitions or tension between people, or to start a conversation.” Since there is no place on a hockey team for inhibitions or tension, the icebreaker party is intended for the players to get to know one another and the parents to get to know one another. One can argue that it is far more important for the players to get to know one another, but I disagree. Since I’ve committed to spending at least a couple of hours every single weekend for the next eight months with these people, and certainly several entire weekends with them, we better dispense with the inhibitions and tensions at the start of the season and get to having some fun!
So this is my Icebreaker Etiquette post on How to Host the Perfect Icebreaker. Ready?
1. Pick a date – preferably before the first league game so you’ll already know who never leaves home without their hockey tape. It is also preferable to hold the icebreaker party while the baseball season is still going so the dads have something to talk about other than hockey.
2. Find a host – preferably the family who doesn’t mind heating their pool long after everyone else has closed theirs! The alternative is having all the kids and their siblings inside the home. This has its pluses and minuses. Make sure you lock rooms you don’t want guests to enter because while adults occasionally have inhibitions and tension, kids know nothing of this.
3. Elect your Chief of Potluck Police. Their job is to dole out the potluck food assignments so there are not six Caesar salads, six nacho dips and a six-pack of beer arriving at the Icebreaker and zero main dishes or drinks for the kids.
4. If you’re hosting, clear your driveway – not for the cars of course but for that ‘spontaneous’ road hockey game that will undoubtedly break out (see #2 – best this activity take place outside).
5. If you’re hosting, warn your neighbours – the team will no doubt be parking in front of your neighbours’ houses. But tell them to take heart – it’s only temporary. Anyone can spot an icebreaker party being hosted in their neighbourhood by the procession of hockey vans arriving in unison at the designated time and leaving in unison three or four hours later.
6. Get down to hockey business – make sure you know who the coaches and trainers are, what the expectations are, what the budget is, where the tournaments are, who’s holding the next party… you know, essential information.
7. Designate someone to run an icebreaker game for the players too. Remember they’re getting to know one another as well and wouldn’t hurt to have a parent supervise a ‘getting to know you’ activity, while the rest of the parents are involved in the parent meeting.
8. Pick your hockey soulmate – the one that never forgets their hockey blanket, the one that travels with a first aid kit, and the one that always carried a corkscrew.
9. Lose your inhibitions and tensions, but not your respect and dignity. Please drink – and act – responsibility… it’s a long season.
10. Stay for the clean-up. Everyone knows that hockey mom who’s always in the kitchen fixing and cleaning, even if it’s not her home! Be that hockey mom at the icebreaker.
I have no doubt there are a few seasoned hockey moms out there who have their own ideas around icebreaker etiquette! Please tell me all about it in the comments section below. Now that the icebreaker is over, the hockey season can get underway!
Three cheers for the new hockey season – and for breaking the ice!
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