It’s late September and by now many minor hockey team rosters are set and league play is about to get under way. There is, however, one very critical social event that must first take place: the team icebreaker party. While the kids are looking forward to their first league game, for hockey moms, this party is the real season opener.
Once an icebreaker location is volunteered up, the date declared, and potluck food assignments doled out, it’s time for the team to get together. Any hockey parent can spot an icebreaker party being hosted in their neighbourhood: a procession of hockey vans arrives in unison at the designated time (the scheduling of this party typically coincides with a team practice or game, to ensure player and parent availability) and leaves in unison within three hours.
Inside the host’s home, the shoes and boots get tossed one way, the kids get tossed another way, and the parents head to the kitchen—because everyone knows that’s where the drinks are. I will quickly move toward the group of moms I overhear extolling the virtue and value of their favourite wine and know that I found my hockey soul sisters for the season!
Given the number of years I’ve been a hockey mom, I’m a proud and long-serving member of the Potluck Police. I’m sure people make fun of me behind my back I know but – really - who wants 16 nacho dips at the icebreaker? You’ll be thanking me and my Google docs spreadsheet carefully created with sign-up spots for three appetizers, three mains, three sides, three desserts (and the remaining spots for disposables and kids’ drinks) when you’re chowing down on more than tortilla chips.
I’m in a bit of a panic right now as I realize I have left my big party bowl at the cottage. Every hockey mom knows what I’m talking about when I say ‘big party bowl’ because every hockey mom has her own ‘big party bowl’! Or their hockey mom pie plate, or hockey mom lasagna pan, that are all so gargantuan they can only serve but one special purpose.
I have this one salad bowl that is so massive I only need it when I’m serving a small army of my own relatives or a small army of hockey players and their families. It has served me well for many seasons. I have brought the most enormous pile of Caesar salad to just about every hockey party I go to. I’m actually considering driving all the way to the cottage to retrieve it.
One of the benefits of being the chief of the Potluck Police is that I get to add my own potluck contribution to the list before sharing it with the rest of the team. So now, without my party bowl, I’ll have to come up with something else to bring to the icebreaker. Guess I’ll be the one bringing the nacho dip this weekend!
Three cheers for the new hockey season – and the icebreaker party that precedes it!
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