For many of my hockey mom friends, playoffs have already come and gone. And they will soon come and go for me as well. My daughter’s midget house league playoffs take place this weekend.
“This weekend.” That probably sounds a little weird to some hockey folk, because “playoffs cannot possibly take place over one, single weekend!” – but in my daughter’s recreational girls hockey league, they do.
And I like it.
For the last several seasons, my daughter’s association has played inter-association play only for their house league teams. Her association fielded five midget house teams this year – that’s almost as many teams as there are in her whole Metro Ottawa Girls Hockey League (MOGHL) division some years. From the player’s perspective, the downside of inter-association play is that they don’t get to play teams outside their organization, like our neighbours in Kanata, metro Ottawa or Gloucester. But the upside is they tend to run into them at many local and away hockey tournaments anyway.
The real advantages of this playoff format for hockey moms are pretty obvious. Carpools can be set up even with opposing team members based purely on the fact that you shared a drink with them last season. Player pick-up forms are replaced by a simple email or phone call. And the entire season’s schedule (games and practices) is made available to players and parents by the middle of October. Can you even remember a time, as a hockey mom, when you could plan a non-hockey event during the hockey season?! I know! That's crazy sauce! But now I can.
This ‘weekend playoff’ wasn’t always the format. When part of the MOGHL, my daughter’s playoffs were similar to my boys’ playoff format: the playoff schedule and opponents were dependant on the team’s ranking in the league. We waited frantically for the playoff schedule to be released and then the players would hit the ice for postseason play. If the team finished in the bottom of the rankings, there was often a Pool B playoff schedule in which to participate.
Playoff season brought a whole new level of ‘crazy’ to our hockey schedule. I recall heading out to playoff games after they’d just been confirmed a few hours before. You knew well enough not to make any plans during hockey season; you barely made plans to go to the bathroom during playoff season! Even after being eliminated from the playoffs, our home association occasionally still assigned ice to the team simply because it was available and because – it’s hockey. There was hockey to be played until the ice came out and the arena was made ready for lacrosse season.
With only one player left in our family and this new weekend playoff format, it means that the season will be done after we win the whole shebang on Sunday (or we lose two consecutive playoff games). Either way, by Sunday my daughter’s eleventh season as a minor hockey player and my sixteenth season as a hockey mom will be in the books.
Three cheers for the playoff season – no matter the format, may yours be a winning one!
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