The Hockey Mom Diaries will be a new weekly blog post on High Heels & Hockey. I have just entered the world of being a “hockey mom.” I know quite a few of our readers have children who play hockey (and I would love to hear your experiences as well!), so I will write a weekly entry about my journey into this very new world of parenting a child who is learning to play the sport.
Week 1: Hitting the Ice
The day we had been waiting for finally arrived: Jordan’s 4th birthday. It arrived just in time too. Mount Lebanon Ice Complex’s Hockey School was beginning a new session at the end of February and Jordan had only two weeks remaining in his beginner ice skating lessons at Ice Castle in Castle Shannon.
During skating lessons, I got a feel for different brands of hockey parents. Parents who are in the “members only” club of stay at home, trophy, fundraiser moms, dads who are living vicariously through their children, career sports parents who are constantly carting around children around in an SUV from hockey to basketball and back to the school for a dance recital and parents like myself who are just trying to survive the day.
It took until the 6th week of ice skating lessons for me to find a parent I felt comfortable speaking with. Most of the parents were on their iPhones or talking with other parents they know from their children’s school about whatever moved them at the moment. I spent my time intently watching my son, his coach, taking photos and video and motioning for Jordan to skate every time he stopped to look at me.
So now, here we are at Mount Lebanon Ice Complex. We’re in a new world, far from toddler ice skating lessons. My son’s excitement cannot and will not be contained. As I helped him into his knee pads he smiled. “I look like a hockey player.” After he had all of his equipment on, this turned into “Mom! I’m a hockey player!” followed by claiming he was Jordan Staal and saying that he shot and scored. Adorable.
I buddied up with another mother, who has a son about a year older than Jordan. They had the same stick and elbow pads. We encouraged them to to get know one another. Jordan talked to the little boy about their different colored stick tape.
The only negative experience of the evening was an encounter with a man, who I am not completely certain was the boy he was assisting’s father or grandfather. Jordan was pretending to shoot a goal in the middle of all the children. I took him aside and gave him a “blade on the ground” and general stick safety talk, threatening to confiscate his stick until practice began if he did it again. Problem solved. Or not?
Super (Grand)Dad I suppose did not approve of my parenting skills and decided to harshly tell my child that he didn’t want his child to need to stitches or have to spend a night in the hospital. Seriously? On day one, I have to deal with this miscreant? I didn’t say anything back…this time. And really…my son is four and a young four. He doesn’t know what stitches are!
The children were between the ages of 4-8 for the class. On night one, the three coaches divided the kids up by age/known skill level and taught them how to skate while carrying their sticks and generally evaluate their ability so that they can be placed into the proper skill level group going forward. At the end of the skating lesson, the kids learned how to carry the puck across the ice with the stick.
I don’t know that I have ever watched my son listen so intently and concentrate so hard on a task as he did with learning to carry the puck. He kept looking to a coach for approval and validation that he was performing the task properly, smiling when he heard praise that he was doing a good job.
For the last five minutes or so, the coaches let the kids “scrimmage.” This was more chaos and twenty or so kids all chasing a puck around aimlessly. Extremely entertaining and cute, but gave the coaches a sense of who could keep up with the older, more experienced kids and how they would apply the two skills they worked on at the beginning of class.
Jordan was the youngest child by almost two years. He is not the most skilled of the bunch but he paced the older kids fairly well. He was determined and most importantly, was proud of his accomplishments and cannot wait for his next lesson.
Click here for more information on the hockey school at Mount Lebanon.