We are entering our fourth year of hockey. In the last three years, I’ve been able to sit back and watch the various team roles and responsibilities and figure out where I would be of the most use. In fact, other than my one year run with the PTA during Boy #1’s kindergarten year, I haven’t volunteered for much of anything. HockeyDad is the one that does the field trips and school involved activites.
But this year, for the first time, I have volunteered to be team manager for Boy #3’s team.
Lord help us all.
You see, for the first three years, I had the organizational skills but I didn’t have the time or mental capacity to manage anyone outside of my children. Boy #3 was too young and the other two needed more help getting ready for the ice. On top of which, I had plenty to do at home which didn’t allow for the time needed from volunteers.
So HockeyDad and I made the deliberate decision to help where we could but not to volunteer formally. And that worked for us, until now.
Now, let’s face it, I live at the rink. I’m there all the time. All three boys are in school and while I’m still incredibly busy, it isn’t as hands on as it used to be. Boy #1 can get all but his skates on for gear, and Boy #2 isn’t far behind. They don’t need their hands held the same way they have in past years.
Also, I’ve had three years straight of Initiation Phase hockey, so I’ve picked up what works and what doesn’t. And at this point, the idea of managing a novice level team has me freaked out, so I’m baby-stepping my way into this role. Not really fair to my older boys that I don’t volunteer for their teams, but they have really excellent team managers. Maybe one year I’ll get really brave. This is not that year.
In case you have a hankering, and the ability, to volunteer for your kid’s hockey team, here’s a run down of all the team roles and responsibilities.
The backbone of every team. A team will thrive under the right coach who takes the time to understand their players. They organize the team, set the tone for practices and figure out the right thing to say or do before a game. Want to be a coach? There are a few things you need to do to be certified. This role is the most time intensive. Between planning out practices and attending coaching meetings,
These guys back up the head coach. They help facilitate practices, they support players on the bench. It is less demanding than the coaching position in terms of time, but the assistant coach still needs to be there for most practices and games. In some cases, the assistant coach has a background in a specific position and can provide more in depth skill building, invaluable to young players.
The go to for first aid. In the earlier levels, it’s more about making sure that they are taking their water breaks. Starting in Novice, they are on the bench during games. If someone gets hurt during the game, they are brought out to the player to do a quick check over and help the hurt kid off the ice safely. The time commitment here is similar to the assistant coaches, because a team can’t play without a team trainer. The position is required so that the coach can focus on the mechanics of the game. A trainer focuses on the individual players. They are usually trained in first aid, though a search of my chapter of Hockey Canada doesn’t list it as a requirement for house league hockey.
The go between for parents and coaching team. The team manager makes sure that all pertinent information is available to the team. They handle the administrative side of the team operation. They make sure that all forms are complete for each player and provided to the league administration. In the case of tournaments, they register and act as point of contact with the tournament hosts. In Initiation Phase, it’s more about communicating between parents and coaches than anything else. It’s perfect for those of us that can help but can’t skate. *ahem* Me.
The money person. They collect the team fees and pay any invoices from the team account (which they establish). They also set the budget for the team. A fundraising coordinator helps to establish and run team fundraisers. In the past, our teams have sold pumpkins, sheet sets, pizza kits. Another option is running raffles or draws to raise money. If parents can donate items for raffle, it keeps the overhead cost of the raffle lower. Which means more money for the team. Just make sure to read the guidelines set by the league to make sure the fundraiser doesn’t violate any rules.
A team runs more smoothly with all these positions working together. If you want a general idea of what is required to volunteer, Hockey of Eastern Ontario has a tool for that. Keep in mind that you don’t have to formally volunteer to be of assistance to your kid’s coaching staff. Just let the coach or team manager know that you are able to help out. And step in where and when you are able to.
Bottom line, do what you can with where you are. That makes all the difference. And more often than not, it gives you something to do while you are sitting at the arena waiting for practice to finish.
See you at the rink.