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Mom Mondays: Lighten Up! It’s just hockey!


How excited is your child for the new hockey season?

Soon our family will be heading back into the frigid temperatures of the hockey arena.

For many years, there was barely a perceptible gap between spring, summer and winter hockey for our three kids and we hardly noticed the change of seasons, except to add shorts to the pre-game warm-up routine instead of sweats, and switch around the game jerseys depending on which team the kids now represented.

Then there was that summer that my middle child, 13 at the time and playing Bantam Rep B hockey as a goalie, announced at the dinner table, “I don’t want to play hockey anymore.”

Let’s all just pretend we didn’t hear that.

A Midget Rep B goalie and a peewee house league goalie sat around our table as well at the time, so clearly our Bantam dude didn’t know what he was talking about. What kind of a kid quits hockey? Not my kid! How un-Canadian. I would never be able to show my face in the local Tim Horton’s again.

Let’s all just pretend we didn’t hear that.

In the subsequent days, we argued with him and coaxed him back to the arena for tryouts, but it was obvious his heart was no longer in it. He didn’t make the Rep B team but agreed to continue to play at the house league level. In the end it was a good year after all, as he played with lots of boys he knew well.

Sadly, that would be his last year playing organized hockey. Even sadder, though, was how we had pushed him to stay in hockey. You should never force your kid to play hockey.

I convinced myself he was just saying that because he was being lazy. I convinced myself that it was necessary for him to stay in an organized sport to keep him active and off the XBox in the basement. I convinced myself I needed to push him to instil in him that the ethic of hard work and perseverance will pay off. Quitting hockey has less to do with him, and more to do with me. I didn’t want to be seen as a quitter among our hockey community. I didn’t want to be seen as a hockey failure.

I should have just listened to my son. He was done. In our hectic life, I guess I missed all the signs of his diminishing interest in playing organized hockey.

When you’re a busy hockey mom of multiple players, it’s not always easy to recognize the signs that one of your kids may be ready to hang up his skates once and for all. Listen to your child and watch his or her reaction to dinner table conversations about hockey gear shopping, upcoming conditioning camps and tryouts, and talk of hockey tournaments.

If they’re not initiating these conversations, or participating in them, there may be some apprehension about returning to the gruelling schedule that is the minor hockey season, or there may be an outright lack of interest. It’s not all about me. Not only did I ignore my son’s outright request to quit hockey, I also failed to see these other signs.

I think he’s finally forgiven me though. He moved on to many other activities that a busy hockey schedule would prevent him from pursuing. He was on the high school wrestling team for several seasons. He renewed his love of snowboarding. He discovered golf and plays as much as possible – even works at a golf course!

Turns out he wasn’t lazy, he was very active, and knew a thing or two about hard work and perseverance outside of hockey – and loves his Timmies even more than I do. Decidedly not un-Canadian and now he’s off to university…

I know… Let’s all pretend we didn’t hear that.

Three cheers for all the players returning to the arena this fall – and to those who’ve decided it’s time to pack in the gear.

Tags: minor hockey

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