This past weekend, I attended the Brampton Canadettes Easter tournament, as I have for the past three years. This year I did not go as usual with my daughter as a hockey parent; instead I attended the event as a vendor selling my new book,Offside by a Mile – Confessions of a Hockey Mom.
The Brampton Canadettes Easter tournament is the largest and longest-running girls’ hockey tournament in North America. 2016’s tournament welcomed 355 teams, 7,000 athletes, and 2,000 team staff, and involved a stunning number of hockey games in ten different venues. It’s really quite remarkable and is an event that every young female hockey player should experience at least once in their hockey career. Next year will mark their 50th anniversary and I hope I’m there to help them celebrate.
I watched many teams come and play hockey over the course of the two days that I was there, and I witnessed the pre-game hockey rituals of many teams. Of course there was the habitual badgering of the coach as he directed players to their dressing room and quickly hustled them to the registration table where game sheets were signed by all. Soon thereafter, began the pre-game warmup which I observed the older players participating in somewhat less exuberance than the younger players. It was these—the novice and atom players—that brought a smile to my face as they dashed through the arena, dodging strollers and grandparents while the shepherding trainer and supervising hockey moms tried to keep up. Who amongst them gets to decide who brings that team mascot to the arena is still a mystery to me but I know for a fact that the young lady who left the big shark in the foyer is going to have to wait a long time for her next turn (though it was successfully rescued just before game time by a hero hockey mom)! This group of spirited youngsters had also the loudest chants and did their very best to try and outdo each other (or induce hearing loss on those nearby, not sure).
Everywhere we go – everywhere we go
People always ask us – people always ask us
Who we are – who we are
Where we come from- where we come from
We are the Wildcats- we are the Wildcats
The mighty, mighty Wildcats – the mighty, mighty Wildcats
And if you can’t hear us – and if you can’t hear us
WE’LL SHOUT A LITTLE LOUDER! – WE’LL SHOUT A LITTLE LOUDER!
And shout a little louder they did! They repeated their chants as often as the coach would allow, before disappearing into the arenas to finish dressing for their respective tournament games.
And after the game, the older girls chatted amongst themselves and their parents about various skillful plays, stellar goals and stupendous saves, while the younger one begged to know where the team dinner was being held and plied their parents for popcorn from the canteen.
You can only imagine the bedlam that broke loose when the Canadettes mascot made his (or her?) appearance!
I did not get to see any of the tournament games this past weekend, but as hockey moms know, much of the entertainment of hockey doesn’t always play out on the ice.
Three cheers for pre-game rituals – the louder, the prouder!
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