It’s no secret that I went into this hockey thing pretty much blind. With no previous exposure to the sport, other than what I saw on TV from time to time, it was a bit of a learning curve. There are things that I wish someone had told me first. Things that you should know before you hockey.
Like there will come a point, if you have more than one child in the sport, where the level of scheduling becomes ….unwieldy. You will have to figure out what works for you and your family. And you’ll have to do it fast.
Here’s ten things you should know before you start hockey:
- Your weekends will no longer be yours. They will be spent in hockey arenas. Or driving to hockey arenas. For the most part, hockey happens on Saturday and Sunday. Sure there are practices in the middle of the week, but the games? Weekends. The sooner you accept that, the more enjoyable this will be.
- There is a whole new language when it comes to hockey. 2 deep, 5 hole, right wing, offside. You’ll learn it all. Don’t panic.
- Food. This one I still struggle with. And likely will for a good long time. How to get breakfast into the players, and yourself, before a 7am ice time. How to get dinner made when you spend all afternoon at a rink. Whether you need to bring snacks for a particular practice or not. It goes back to scheduling, but food is a beast of it’s own.
- There will be friends you see only at the rink, and ones you don’t see at all during the season. The ones that understand your schedule and meet you where you are, they are the ones to treasure.
- You will shop for vehicles based on how well they handle hockey bags and players. Minivans are often the vehicle choice but there are several extended SUV options on the market. Can I get a hallelujah?
- While we’re on the subject of vehicles, you will find hockey gear in yours regardless of the season. An elbow pad here, a hockey puck there, the signs of carting hockey players will be all over the place.
- No matter how long it takes you to put on gear at the start, by the end of the first season you will be able to get that gear on in record time. I promise. So long as your child doesn’t decide to be a goalie. I can’t help you there.
- Family getaways will be in the form of hockey tournaments. Sure, you might still actually get away on vacation, but the bulk of winter traveling will centre around hockey.
- You will encounter smells. Awful, dreadful smells. Even if your cute little boy has not yet reached the smelly years, you will still go into change rooms after smelly adults have been in there. Or worse, smelly teenagers. There will be smells that burn your nostrils. There’s no solution, you just need to build lung capacity. I suggest starting now.
- No matter what your learning curve, you will find yourselves sitting in the stands, talking about offsides and tripping penalties and offense. You will find yourself enjoying this sport.
See you at the rink.