Um…..I don’t know? Towards the net?
Honestly, I shouldn’t be allowed in the rinks. I know how to get the gear on. I know how to tie the skates.
And you bet I can yell.
But the finer points? No clue. I have no idea why we get penalties. I know the referees use hand signals for the penalties. But I don’t know one signal from another. Or didn’t know until I did some research for you fine folks. Ok, fine, I did the research for myself and shared it with you. It was embarrassing, not knowing.
And for the love of all that is hockey, I can not tell you which way my kid shoots. Up until this year, I didn’t even know which way was right handed or left. As it turns out, the hand that is closest to the ice is the determining factor of right vs left handedness.
At the beginning of this season Boy #1 had gone through a big growth spurt during the season and needed his stick replaced. HockeyDad sent me, me, to go and get a new stick. Great. So off we go to the store where I’m greeted with a wall of hockey sticks.
Because, Canada, y’all.
I find the junior section and hand one that looks good to my boy. Did you read that, looks good. That is my criteria for hockey stick purchase. In my defense, I did have him hold it and it looked fine. So we buy the stick and a few little bits that we needed and head home where I ask HockeyDad to cut it to size. Which he does and hands it to Boy #1. Who then holds it the other way, meaning that the curve on the stick is wrong.
After assuring my husband that I had checked before we bought the stick, he then heats it up and curves it the other way. Because we can’t return the stick, so we may as well try to fix it. And by we, I mean HockeyDad. So he does some kind of magic voodoo involving heat and the stick and voila, we have a stick that curves the proper way.
Fast forward to the last tournament of the season. We only have playoffs to get through. The third game of the tournament is about to start and Boy #1 tells his coach that he has a broken stick.
So I have a group of parents asking me which way he shoots to see if anyone has a stick that Boy #1 can use. And this is where they learn that I should not be allowed in hockey rinks because I have no sweet clue how hockey sticks work.
Turns out, Boy #1 is tricky. Because depending on who hands him the stick, he holds it differently. You have no idea how relieved I am that it wasn’t a shortfall in my hockey knowledge but rather a weird child that was causing confusion. This time. In the end, we got through the last game ok though none of us really knew if he had the right stick.
With that said, and in the interest of saving you similar headaches, I present these tips
- In general, the hand they write with is going to be the hand they shoot with. So if you have a left handed writer, your player shoots left handed.
- This hand, their dominant one, is the hand that is closer to the ice. It is the one that controls the stick, the shot. It does the puck handling. As I mentioned earlier, this is what determines right vs left handedness.
- If you can, hand them the stick and have them do some puck handling. That will show you which way they naturally gravitate towards. This was my mistake. I just handed Boy #1 the stick. I didn’t have him try to actually use the stick. So have your kid go up and down the aisle doing a little pretend stick handling.
- If you truly can not figure it out, there is no harm in them playing with straight profile sticks. There aren’t as many options, and as you get up in the hockey levels, you want the curve, but for Initiation and Novice levels, it’s ok.
- When all else fails and you have a player that you know has a preference, look back in your camera for game pictures. That’s what I finally did to figure it out. Even though he was holding it opposite right in front of me, the pictures say time and again that he is a left handed player. Apparently some of my southpaw genes snuck in there after all.
Yeah, he shoots left handed. But he writes with his right hand. It’s no wonder we couldn’t figure it out.
But pictures don’t lie. And now I know. Though please don’t ask me because I wont remember. I’ll need to go back to my camera and look. Every time.
See you at the rink.