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Thoughts from hockey parents..

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Old
11-09-2009, 05:20 PM
  #1
MaxHockeyGuy
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Thoughts from hockey parents..

I'm trying to better understand the life of a hockey parent.

I'm only 24 and not a parent myself. Playing hockey growing up was always some unorganized after-school kind of thing. There were no practices, no actual games, no tournaments. For me it was, "Okay, let's scrounge together as many people as we can, get sticks in their hands and play until it's too dark to see."

I think we all know on the surface about the sacrifice and early a.m. ice times, but can we really understand it without going through it? Probably not. But I want to try to get a bit closer, anyway.

So really, anything from people who have lived through it: experiences, stories, complaints...

Whatever you've got, I'm game.

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11-09-2009, 06:07 PM
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adaminnj
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OMG! As a hockey dad to a goalie do I have some stories and last year was our first year of house league. Just for starts we live about a half hour from the rink, Novice gets start time between 7:00 AM, to 8:00 AM, which for us means that we are up at 5:00 AM to make it to the rink by 6:30 AM because we need the time to tie on skates and pads.
God forbid we lose a game, and my son make the first stop on every shot he still gets blamed for the loss by some of the parents. for crying out loud these kids are 7, and 8 years old. The price on terms of $CAD$ is nuts, $450.00 for 20, games and 20 practice at an hour we have to wake up before we would to go to school and work. As well the price of equipment is out of hand, and as a Novice goalie we have to get full player equipment too. Don't get me wrong I love to watch the kids play and the tension while they are on the ice is a big roller coaster ride. I've seen kids have tantrums and hook, crosscheck, board, hack, you name it. As well I have seen kids have tantrums from being called on infractions.

I have held off on allowing my son to even try out for any higher level hockey than house league because of the stories I get from friends with who kids play select, rep, or any of the As.
Granted I'm in Pickering ON and they take hockey very serious here as opposed to NJ where we are from. Hahahaha

If you are looking for spicific topics let me know and if I have anything to offer I'll try to help.

Why are you "trying to better understand the life of a hockey parent" do we have a bun in the oven eh?

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11-09-2009, 06:27 PM
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MaxHockeyGuy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adaminnj View Post
OMG! As a hockey dad to a goalie do I have some stories and last year was our first year of house league. Just for starts we live about a half hour from the rink, Novice gets start time between 7:00 AM, to 8:00 AM, which for us means that we are up at 5:00 AM to make it to the rink by 6:30 AM because we need the time to tie on skates and pads.
God forbid we lose a game, and my son make the first stop on every shot he still gets blamed for the loss by some of the parents. for crying out loud these kids are 7, and 8 years old. The price on terms of $CAD$ is nuts, $450.00 for 20, games and 20 practice at an hour we have to wake up before we would to go to school and work. As well the price of equipment is out of hand, and as a Novice goalie we have to get full player equipment too. Don't get me wrong I love to watch the kids play and the tension while they are on the ice is a big roller coaster ride. I've seen kids have tantrums and hook, crosscheck, board, hack, you name it. As well I have seen kids have tantrums from being called on infractions.

I have held off on allowing my son to even try out for any higher level hockey than house league because of the stories I get from friends with who kids play select, rep, or any of the As.
Granted I'm in Pickering ON and they take hockey very serious here as opposed to NJ where we are from. Hahahaha

If you are looking for spicific topics let me know and if I have anything to offer I'll try to help.

Why are you "trying to better understand the life of a hockey parent" do we have a bun in the oven eh?
Well, first I appreciate the response.

The money side of things seems like it'd be pretty high on the list of obstacles and time's got to be a close second.

There's no bun in the oven (haha).

I'm just trying to gain perspective on something I never experienced.

I guess where I want specifics is on the time demands of being a hockey parent, which you gave me a good start.

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11-09-2009, 08:30 PM
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Steelhead16
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I have been on both ends and I am about to be done pretty soon. My brother and I both played when we were growing up. He is 5 years younger than I am so we were never on the same team. Our league spanned about 600 miles and we were right in the middle. Our away games were anywhere from a half hour to 4 hours away. Pretty much every weekend one of us had an away game so one parent would go on the road and the other would stay for the home game. Unless we were both away and then we were never away at the same place. Our Sat. morning practice times were 5:15 and 6:30 am but we didn't always have those. The week nights were 6:00 or 7:30 and after I was in high school we would practice Thurs. night at 10:30 to midnight. And then have to go to school Fri. morning. Our season ran from late Sept. to early late April or early May. Throw in holiday and state tournaments and it seems crazy to me now. The time and money my parents put in was more than generous.
As a parent now I have more of an idea just how much my parents gave to both my brother and I. My son started out playing house league when he was young. Cost was about $450 a season plus equipt. And when they are young they grow out of everything every year so you have to buy it all over again each year. My son has never had a pair of skates 2 seasons in a row. In house league we didn't have to worry about travel so that has been nice. Practices were weeknights during the week and the games were all on Sat. mornings. They could start as early as 5:15 and as late as 11:00. It seemed like a big time investment until I thought about when I was a kid and now I realize that it isn't really that bad. My son is playing high school hockey now and we only have one rink (2 sheets of ice) so all the games are in the same place. Now it's even easier than house league. They practice at the arena downtown that the ECHL team plays in which is close and practice is one day a week at 4:45. Games are between 7:00 and 9:00 on Fri. nights or 3:30 and 8:00pm on Sat. He'll be able to drive in Jan. so then it will be even easier. He plays baseball too and it is actually more time consuming because it's everyday.
If you end up with a kid just playing house league then other than the cost and a couple of early mornings it really isn't too bad. Travel hockey is a whole different game depending on where you live. The travel teams here pretty much just play tournaments in other states. They have airfare and hotel and food costs to deal with.
If house leagues are available where you live I wouldn't be too scared, it's manageable. It's just like anything else in life.......Someone else will always have it worse than you do.

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11-09-2009, 09:49 PM
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MaxHockeyGuy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelhead16 View Post
I have been on both ends and I am about to be done pretty soon. My brother and I both played when we were growing up. He is 5 years younger than I am so we were never on the same team. Our league spanned about 600 miles and we were right in the middle. Our away games were anywhere from a half hour to 4 hours away. Pretty much every weekend one of us had an away game so one parent would go on the road and the other would stay for the home game. Unless we were both away and then we were never away at the same place. Our Sat. morning practice times were 5:15 and 6:30 am but we didn't always have those. The week nights were 6:00 or 7:30 and after I was in high school we would practice Thurs. night at 10:30 to midnight. And then have to go to school Fri. morning. Our season ran from late Sept. to early late April or early May. Throw in holiday and state tournaments and it seems crazy to me now. The time and money my parents put in was more than generous.
As a parent now I have more of an idea just how much my parents gave to both my brother and I. My son started out playing house league when he was young. Cost was about $450 a season plus equipt. And when they are young they grow out of everything every year so you have to buy it all over again each year. My son has never had a pair of skates 2 seasons in a row. In house league we didn't have to worry about travel so that has been nice. Practices were weeknights during the week and the games were all on Sat. mornings. They could start as early as 5:15 and as late as 11:00. It seemed like a big time investment until I thought about when I was a kid and now I realize that it isn't really that bad. My son is playing high school hockey now and we only have one rink (2 sheets of ice) so all the games are in the same place. Now it's even easier than house league. They practice at the arena downtown that the ECHL team plays in which is close and practice is one day a week at 4:45. Games are between 7:00 and 9:00 on Fri. nights or 3:30 and 8:00pm on Sat. He'll be able to drive in Jan. so then it will be even easier. He plays baseball too and it is actually more time consuming because it's everyday.
If you end up with a kid just playing house league then other than the cost and a couple of early mornings it really isn't too bad. Travel hockey is a whole different game depending on where you live. The travel teams here pretty much just play tournaments in other states. They have airfare and hotel and food costs to deal with.
If house leagues are available where you live I wouldn't be too scared, it's manageable. It's just like anything else in life.......Someone else will always have it worse than you do.
Another awesome reply, especially considering the fact you've been on both sides of hockey parentdom.

I'm just trying to soak in everything I can at this point, but I can't help but wonder how having your kids in hockey, from an economic and time standpoint, compares to having them play any other team sport.

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11-09-2009, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Steelhead16 View Post
Now it's even easier than house league. They practice at the arena downtown that the ECHL team plays in which is close
Between that line and your screen name, is it safe to assume you've been to a few Steelheads games?

I've never been to an ECHL game. What is the experience like? Reasonably affordable for the family, I'd guess.

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11-09-2009, 10:07 PM
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My parents sacrificed a hell of a lot for me to play. Once i got to juniors we all knew i wasnt going to the NHL but they still gave everything they had for me to play. I still think they got more out of watching me play then i did actually playing.

Hockey parents are the best parents a kid could have and i will always be in their debt. It takes a certain kinda parent to go through what they did for 16+ years and never once ask me to stop playing or even complain in my hearing.

Hockey parents are the best (im not tlking about the crazy ones )

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11-09-2009, 10:25 PM
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adaminnj
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Max,

As a mater of fact I Played shinny all summer 07 with Mike Knight of the Johnstown Chiefs (ECHL). I was down in Jersey 2 weeks ago and I bought 7 tickets on Ice level for $240 USD to see the Trenton Devils play the Chiefs. In Trenton the prices go down drastically after the first two rows. it was good hockey but the Chiefs had some issues with playing positional hockey. Mike was amazing playing all over the place trying to get his team moving.

If I was living in a place with a ECHL team I would make sure to go at very least a few games every season.

The Trenton Devils goaltender Coalman was AMAZING to watch. Then I found out that he was on loan from The AHLs Lowell Devils.
As well the ECHL managers seem to be very down to earth.
If you are close to an ECHL team go to a game totally worth it.

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11-09-2009, 11:20 PM
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Steelhead16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxHockeyGuy View Post
Between that line and your screen name, is it safe to assume you've been to a few Steelheads games?

I've never been to an ECHL game. What is the experience like? Reasonably affordable for the family, I'd guess.
In answer to both questions. My son playing baseball is cheaper but it takes a lot more time. In past years he has played the regular season and then All Stars in the summer and then fall ball after that. So it went from the end of Mar. to the end of Oct. Now that he is in high school he has practice or a game every day after school. He can get himself there so it isn't as bad now but it still takes up time because the games are long. 3 or 4 games a week puts me at 10-15 hrs. Moneywise he doesn't have to pay to play but he is a catcher and plays 1st base alot. He also plays 2nd and the outfield as well so he has catchers gear and 4 gloves and a $200 bat. Other than shoes though most everything lasts more than one season.
As for the Steelheads tickets, I'm guessing that they are at the high end of the ECHL ticket prices. Tickets range from $15-$28. They are usually mid-pack in attendance every year. The arena seats just over 5K. I usually just buy $15 tickets and just sit in the $28 sections because they aren't usually very full. I am from the Bay Area and I spend a lot of time there still. Stockton is the closest ECHL team for me down there and their tickets run $7-$23. They led the league in attendance last year and have a brand new building so they make cheaper prices work. I used to have Sharks tickets but that is a whole different deal.
I used to travel a lot for work and have been to NHL, ECHL, CHL, MLB, Minor League Baseball games all over the country. Ticket prices seem to be all over the map. A lot at least at the highest level of the sport it depends on attendance as to the ticket prices. Sold out teams seem to be able to keep prices high. Av's, Sharks, Flyers, are high, Kings, Canes, Ducks, Tampa, not as much.
Kinda interesting to see how things are in different parts of the country though. Sometimes I wish he liked soccer better. That seems pretty cheap.

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11-10-2009, 02:05 AM
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leaflover
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A day in the life of the hockey parent.

Expensive, time consuming, frustrating, driving the highest winding mountain passes in Canada in the dead of winter, 12 hours to get to a rink, watch the boy play and return home, the embarrassment of the nutbar hockey parents, heartbreaking losses and 3 games in one day then 3 the next. How that translates into the highlight of parenthood i'll never know but somehow it does.

One of the best memories was when the kids team was invited to a tournament in Spokane as a last minute replacement for a team that couldn't make it. With so little time to arrange for some parents to transport their kids i offered to take two that would otherwise not be able to make it. No big deal, i hustled my son into the car then zipped around to pick up the others and off we went. I took the shortest route there which meant saving an hour rather than crossing at the town where i lived. An hour and a half later we pull up to the border crossing and were approached by the customs agent. "all those boys yours" he asks, a quick glance into the backseat at the readheaded boy, the brownhaired boy and then my blackhaired son sitting next to me and i smiled and said "probably not". He took my drivers licence asked the boys their names and went inside as i consoled the boys on the fact there would be no hockey today and apologized because my stupid oversight(at that time you needed letters from their parents) had cost them their Saturday afternoon. About ten minutes later the guard came out of the building and walked over to the drivers window and handed me my licence, "you boys all comfortable with Mr. X" he asked. They of course all smiled and told him everything was fine. Then he informed me his son was also in the tournament and he would be at the later game, he looked at the boys in the back and wished them good luck. I looked at him with what i know was a look of total bewilderment and he said to me "i suggest you return home at the crossing where you live to avoid any hassle returning to Canada". He then patted the roof of the car and said "game on". I highly doubt that would happen these days but i thought it was pretty flippin cool.

I never did notice him at the rink and maybe just as well because our team swept all three games and finished 1st with just enough time to clean the ice between the second and 3rd games. Though exhausted they played the game of their young lives. Needless to say i was very proud of them, fed them and enjoyed a quiet ride home as they slept their way back to Canada.

Upon my return i learned that while inside he called my hometown crossing and gave the boys names as well as mine to the Canadian customs agent who was a friend of mine and she had assured him everything was ok. She asked me if i realized how stupid that was of me, i just laughed and hoisted the little trophy over my head like it was the Stanley Cup and told her i owed her a beer.

Ahh, the life of a hockey parent.

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11-10-2009, 08:50 AM
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rinkrat22
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lots of good posts here. This weekend was the Bauer AAA tourney here in chicago. unfortunately I have a daughter playing which means a 10 hr drive to Rochester, NY for the girls version of the bauer. But wait I got to spend 10 hrs talking with my girl and just had a great time. I actually think I enjoyed the 20 hrs in the car more than I enjoyed the games. Hockey will always be a sacrafice for all those involved. I do however think everything that our family does in support of her is worth it. just my $.02 though.

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11-10-2009, 09:47 AM
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I coach, ref, and play. The amount of time consumption of hockey in our family is extensive.

And it isn't just me giving up time, it is the whole family. Sometimes I will have to ref until late on a Saturday, get home at 1:00 AM, then turn around and be up at 5:45 AM to drive him to a 6:30 practice.

Sometimes he will have practice or a game on a Sunday, and there isn't enough time to go home so the whole family will actually come watch me ref.

Sometimes economics plays into it where you have to sacrifice. This year, with new skates, registration, new stick, other equipment and everything else going on, I decided not to play to ensure that he could get everything he needed to play this year, go to hockey camp, and register.

My wife laughed at the beginning of the season and updated her Facebook status. "Goodbye weekends, hello hockey season."

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11-10-2009, 10:06 AM
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lots of good posts here. This weekend was the Bauer AAA tourney here in chicago. unfortunately I have a daughter playing which means a 10 hr drive to Rochester, NY for the girls version of the bauer. But wait I got to spend 10 hrs talking with my girl and just had a great time. I actually think I enjoyed the 20 hrs in the car more than I enjoyed the games. Hockey will always be a sacrafice for all those involved. I do however think everything that our family does in support of her is worth it. just my $.02 though.
You will be forever better for that trip. My daughter used to play club volleyball and they played 5 or 6 tournaments in Salt Lake City (5.5 hr drive). All the parents rotated the driving and taking other girls. Now that my daughter has gone away to college I can't help but look back and be glad for having that time. My son played hockey, baseball and basketball back then and that took up so much time, I was glad to be able to have that time with her. Don't miss any of it because you don't get to go back and do it again if you miss out the first time. Every minute and every $ was worth it.

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11-10-2009, 12:42 PM
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lots of good posts here. This weekend was the Bauer AAA tourney here in chicago. unfortunately I have a daughter playing which means a 10 hr drive to Rochester, NY for the girls version of the bauer. But wait I got to spend 10 hrs talking with my girl and just had a great time. I actually think I enjoyed the 20 hrs in the car more than I enjoyed the games. Hockey will always be a sacrafice for all those involved. I do however think everything that our family does in support of her is worth it. just my $.02 though.
I coached with a guy for four or five years (my daughter has jumped over to the girls team so we don't coach togeher anymore ) who played juniors growing up, has been the team doc for the former local AHL team and is also a team Doc for a local Univeristy. He made a comment that I find very interesting and probably accurate. he pointed out that, in general, hockey players tend to be the most respectful and appreciative group of athletes to the medical staff, the trainers etc. His philosphy is that many athletes in other sports such as basketball, football etc. use the sport to escape their family and surroundings. Conversely, hockey actually tends to bring families together. Hockey players also see and truly appreciate the commitment parents make on their behalf. After stepping back and thinking about it, I think he is on to something.

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11-10-2009, 02:35 PM
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Boys, that is the point I was trying to make. I am a Firefighter and with my shift work I do miss some of my girls stuff. I do however get to spend more time than most parents get to. It was an absolute pleasure to get to spend that time driving with my daughter.Although we as hockey parents do sacrafice quite a bit it is worth every penny. How many parents get to spend the time with their children that we do?

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11-11-2009, 08:56 AM
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Boys, that is the point I was trying to make. I am a Firefighter and with my shift work I do miss some of my girls stuff. I do however get to spend more time than most parents get to. It was an absolute pleasure to get to spend that time driving with my daughter.Although we as hockey parents do sacrafice quite a bit it is worth every penny. How many parents get to spend the time with their children that we do?
Yep, was just adding further validation to your point. I bet that was a good car ride.

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11-11-2009, 11:21 AM
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The only thing I can say to these dads/parents posting here is don't stop. My dad started making me pay for my hockey by 8th grade. I've kinda hated him for it ever since.

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