Is your kid a holy hockey horror?
Over my hockey mom years, I’ve watched thousands of minor hockey players skate onto the ice. I’ve met hundreds of minor hockey players on all my kids’ teams. The vast majority of all these kids have been wonderful, but every once in a while, there is a kid in the dressing room that really deserves a good stare-down. You know what I mean, right? Yeah, and I know; once in a while that kid happens to be my kid.
Coaches, hockey parents, and even hockey moms, are often called to task for their ridiculous over-the-top behaviour in the hockey arena. It’s videoed, goes viral, and the hockey world goes into a meltdown about how awful the minor hockey community can be.
But sometimes it’s the kids that are little holy Hockey Handful.
They habitually show up late to games and require the coach and assistant coaches to rejig the lines at the last minute. They don’t go to practices, showing up only to games and still expect their line to be restored. They constantly forget their jerseys or some other critical piece of hockey equipment and expect the coaches and parents to run around and fix the problem. They decide it’s really funny to squirt Gatorade and water all over the floor, walls, equipment and people. They prank other teammates by hiding equipment, tape or other gear. The team pre-game warm-up is their showcase. They are epic procrastinators, still barely dressed for the game when the coaches come in for pre-game chat. They interrupt or talk over any pre-game talk. They take pictures in the dressing room. They hog the attention in the dressing room, even when the coach is trying to give the pre-game talk. With the garbage bin two feet away, they leave their hockey tape right where it came off. They tease other kids for not playing a good game, for missing the pass, for letting the goal in.
Even if you have not been a hockey mom for very long, you know a few of these Hockey Handfuls. I know I have. I know my three kids have occasionally been these Hockey Handfuls, and am grateful to the coaches and hockey parents who put them in their place. This behaviour is distracting and demotivating to other team members, and ultimately disrespectful to everyone involved in the sport.
Every coach of every single team my kids have ever played on over the past seventeen years has had a very respectable approach to coaching minor hockey players. Fair play time has, for the most part, been their guiding principle (and is generally mandated in most leagues’ policies). But if hockey dreams do come true, this hockey mom wishes that coaches had a bit more wherewithal to deal with the Hockey Handfuls. Maybe a little time sitting on the bench will teach them a lesson or two.
They say it takes a village to raise a child; I say it takes a hockey arena. Sometimes it’s just what the Hockey Handful asked for.
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