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Mom Mondays: Namebar Needlework


If you thought hockey is a rough sport, you should try sewing namebars to the back of game jerseys! That is one of the toughest jobs I have as a hockey mom, and is one I struggle with every single season.

If there were Hockey Canada injury reports for namebar needlework, I would be the subject of at least one annually for the last sixteen years. I’ve poked so many holes in my fingers, they can double as a strainer. Quite frankly, I’m a little surprised that the World Health Organization hasn’t released any international bulletins drawing attention to namebar needlework casualties; it is seriously under-reported in Canadian news.

First there’s the question of required gear: You would think all you need is a needle and a thread but you’d be wrong. You need the namebars themselves which need to be ordered through your association or a local sporting goods store. You need the jerseys themselves which are currently languishing at the bottom of a hockey bag. You need a washing machine to wash those jerseys before you start your sewing job because – well – you already know why. You need a pair of +2.00 reading glasses and decent light just to see what you’re doing. You need a private room so no one hears you swearing. You can forget about that iron or sewing machine; most associations don’t allow this as they diminish the life of the jersey. And yes, you need a needle and a thread, but not any thread. You need thread that matches the colour of the outer stitching of the namebar.

Then there’s the issue with technique: the namebars have to be sewn on, preferably straight and preferably securely. If you sew them on crooked, or accidentally sew the back of the jersey to the front of the jersey, or realize too late that the jersey is all bunched up or the stitches are wider than the namebar itself, then guess what? You have to start all over. It takes me a whole Hockey Night in Canada and bottle of Blu Giovello to do the job.

No one talks about the aftermath: I’ve had recurring nightmares that I’ve sewn them on upside down and only realize it as my child hits the ice. I’ve had to resew namebars midseason because they’re flapping like a flag as my kids take off on a breakaway. There’s an entire horror movie plot in my head called The Seam Ripper Massacre about removing those namebars at the end of the hockey season.

Sadly, there are no hockey development programs that focus on improving your namebar needlework. Nay, hockey moms – you are on your own. What’s worse is there is really no protective equipment that prevents namebar sewing injuries. Oh sure, there’s that little helmet for your thumb (aka, a thimble) but where on earth do you find one this day and age other than your dearly-departed grandmother’s sewing basket?

They say ‘practice makes perfect’ but I’m now convinced there will never be anything perfect about my kids’ namebars! My advice for hockey moms tasked with this role? Find a hockey mom who loves to sew. Better year, join a hockey association that doesn’t require namebars on jerseys!

Three cheers for namebar needlework – may all your fingers survive!

Tags: minor hockey

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