As a hockey mom, I've been in the dressing rooms of all three of my hockey playing kids, helping them gear up (and sometimes stand up) prior to their games and practices, especially in those early goalie years. After the PeeWee years, moms were not allowed in boys’ dressing rooms, which is just as well considering soon thereafter ensued the years of hockey stink. Plus, my boys had developed their goalie superstitions by then, and goalie superstitions typically don't include a mom.
In girls’ hockey, the rules are reversed of course. Dads are not allowed in the dressing room after the PeeWee years. My role as “Den Mom” in my daughter’s hockey association serves to satisfy the “two-deep” rule that most girls hockey associations have in place: there are required to be a minimum of two adult females supervising the dressing room until such time as the team staff are allowed to enter before the scheduled ice time, or until the last player has left the dressing room. This practice aims to prevent as much inappropriate behaviour as you can imagine.
So in effect, Den Moms are the gatekeepers!
My daughter doesn't like it when I’m the Den Mom in her dressing room. I’m responsible for ensuring the girls are ready for play ten minutes prior to game time so that the team staff can enter for the pre-game chat. She has suggested that I am a touch assertive in my reminders for them to hurry up and get dressed —though these reminders are almost always directed exclusively at her as the team’s No. 1 dawdler.
I’m pretty sure she thinks the only thing I do while being a Den Mom is curb the shenanigans and complain about the music volume—in other words, take all the fun out of hockey for her.
I’m not entirely sure where I find time to be so humiliating when in fact I'm pretty busy fulfilling all my other Den Mom responsibilities: filling water bottles, sometimes tying skates, navigating jerseys over cumbersome equipment, enforcing the ‘no image capturing devices’ in the dressing room rule, guiding long hair through the ponytail hole of under-helmet beanies, and getting caught up with the other hockey mom on duty. Also let’s not forget when a player has forgotten her game jersey, we Den Moms are also crafting new jersey numbers with the help of hockey tape.
The other Den Mom and I then sit through the pre-game chat with the bench staff and the team before locking up the dressing room for its fifty minutes of peace and quiet. After the game or practice, the post-game raucous ensues and my role as Chief Curber of the Shenanigans and Head Volume Complainer begins once again.
At the end of this season, my Police Record Check (required of all Den Moms and bench staff) will expire. It remains to be seen whether my daughter will allow me to renew my ‘contract’ for another season. Stay tuned.
I would love to hear from other Den Moms of their strategies for keeping the peace—and the pace—in the dressing room!
Three cheers for the home team…and one for the Den Moms!
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