Can you tell I’m going a little stir crazy waiting for hockey season to start up again? My kids are a little irritated with each other, and desperately in need of the routine of school and hockey. Hell, I miss hockey season.
Clearly it’s desperate need, people. Kenny Rogers got it right, you let boys get bored and they will tear your house apart.
In the hopes of maintaining my sanity while my house falls down around my ears, I started planning for the year ahead. Again this year, I’ve volunteered to be hockey team manager for Boy #3’s team. Nothing against novice and above but I’m not ready for that.
But I’ve got Initiation level covered. Can I let you all in on a little secret? It’s really not that hard at the youngest level. The big tasks are arranging parties and ensuring someone brings snacks which kind of makes it the best place to dip your toe in.
Think you might want to volunteer as a team manager? Or have you lost your mind already and volunteered to do this?
Here are ten things you might need to know as a new hockey team manager.
- The bulk of the work is at the beginning of the year. Collecting the required forms, communicating with parents, answering questions. A lot of information is passed around at the beginning of the year and you are the conduit.
- It’s a really good idea to decide on how many tournaments (or fun days as they are called in our area) you want to participate in and which ones fit the schedule early on. A lot fill up fast and knowing how many you want to participate in will help determine how much you need to collect in team fees. The sooner you get team consensus on these things, the better.
- On the topic of good ideas, here’s a tip I got from a soccer mom coworker: at the beginning of the season send out a survey to your parents rather than a team meeting in the locker room. This takes the stress off people and allows for honest feedback. It helps you get a better gauge of where the comfort level is for team fees, time commitments etc. I used Google Docs, and I think last year’s survey was 5 questions. But it helped set the tone for the year.
- Find your tribe. Have someone to lean on and to back you up. I am lucky to be friends with people who have been there before, both as a hockey mom and as a team manager. These women are the friends that hold me together when hockey season gets out of hand. And don’t tell me you don’t have anyone, just come on over to Facebook and join my group. You always have someone.
- A weekly team email helps to reduce a lot of frustration and questions. Based on the feedback from last year, the weekly email I sent out was welcome and appreciated. If you do choose to send out the email, try to do it on the same day so parents know to expect it.
- Much like the coach, the team manager position requires you to be at the rink as much as you possibly can. So if you aren’t able to devote that time, maybe the manager role isn’t for you. We’ve been on teams where this is the case and it is frustrating for the manager, the parents and the coaches.
- Ask for help when you need it. This is my area for improvement next year. I took a lot on last year because I was worried about asking my parents for too much. When I did ask for help, they all jumped in. So ask for help. A lot don’t know how much goes on behind the scenes, so they don’t know what or when to offer. Reach out.
- Read your team manager manual. Know it. Love it. You will find most of your questions answered by the manager manual.
- There is going to come a time where you are in conflict with someone. Either one of your team parents, or the league. Something. It’s just the way of it. Know how to manage the conflict and navigate it in a way that is respectful. And remember that at the end of the day, it’s kids hockey. Keep those two things in mind and you’re already ahead.
- Do you. Regardless of what I’ve said above, or anywhere else on this blog, or what anyone else might tell you, stay true to who you are. Manage it in a way that allows you to enjoy the work and enjoy the season. If you enjoy the job, the team will experience that trickle down. So do you. Always.
As always, if you have questions, send them on over. What I don’t know, I’m happy to research (#informationjunkie right here).
Until next time, see you at the rink,