October 15, 2018

Quick Tips I Learned In our First Year in Hockey

Hockey season is beginning and if you’re anything like me, you might not know much about the sport.

I didn’t grow up with hockey in our household.  No one in my family played, or even watched hockey, so I’m really not all that familiar with the game, the culture, or the equipment.

Truth be known, I can’t even ice-skate.

When I married a HUGE hockey fan from Saskatchewan, I knew our kids would be destined to play. Also, knew that I would have to start to learn a few things…like how to dress them properly…and how to prepare for practices and games.

Last year was the twins’ first year in hockey and , the first few times I had to dress them, I was totally confused and somewhat overwhelmed – I mean, there is SO much stuff to sort through and get on!

Now that I have that year of hockey under my belt, I have learned (usually the hard way) a few tips that I thought I would share with all of you.

The helmet goes on last, my friends!

If you are an experienced hockey parent, you’re probably shaking your head right now…because, well…obviously!

But, for the hockey-parent-rookies, I’m going to explain to you that there are a couple of reasons why you are going to want to put the helmet on last.

As you can imagine, it is much more comfortable for your child to get dressed in all of their gear without the helmet on.

But also, guess what?

If you put on the helmet before the jersey, you’re going to have a problem.  That problem is your jersey is not going to fit over the helmet.

Yes, I learned this the hard way – In front of a dressing room full of people.   Yes, it was embarrassing!

There is a Right Way to Pack Water for your Little Hockey Player

For years, even before hockey began, we have had to pack water for various activities…so this is habit for us. I have faithfully used those little plastic Contigo water bottles with the pop-out spouts.  They are dishwasher safe, leak-proof, and pretty great!  We have plenty on hand.

On the very first day of hockey, I did what I have always done.  I packed one of those great little water bottles.

Guess what, though?

It turns out it is pretty hard to drink water out of those through a hockey mask!  My poor kids had to learn that the hard way, on the ice, infront of their friends and coaches.

Oopsie!!!

(Insert BIG face-palm!)

Take some time to pick up a proper hockey water bottle from your local sports store or even from Amazon.  You’ll know them because they have an extra-long (and skinny) spout that actually fits through a mask.

Taping hockey socks – Not all Tape is the Same

Velcro holds up some hockey socks but, if your Velcro is worn or not reliable, you may need to use tape to wrap around the tops of the socks to help keep them from falling down.

This was the case with our daughter.  So, on my first time dressing the kids without my husband, I actually remembered to use tape on our daughter’s hockey socks (yay me!).

I grabbed the tape that I found in her hockey bag and gave it a firm wrap-job.

The thing is, my husband forgot to tell me that there are two kinds of tape you might typically have in your hockey bag…’stick tape’ and ‘sock tape’.  You can probably figure out pretty quick which tape I used for her socks.

Yep, it was the stick tape!

Frig!

When he arrived at practice and saw it, he had a good laugh.  Of course, I  was embarrassed and was really hoping no one else would notice.

Take some time to learn which is which so you don’t use the wrong tape on your kid’s hockey socks. Here’s a clue for you…the fabric-y type tape is for the stick (see pink tape below) and the plastic-y type tape is for the socks (see clear tape below). Now we all know.

 

If your Skate Laces get Frayed…

Recently, while I was putting skates on my son, one of the laces had pulled out of an eyelet. Normally, I just feed the laces right back through but, because the lace had frayed at the end, I was really struggling. I had even tried using my teeth to get a good grip on the end but – no dice!  I was only making the problem worse!

I started to get a bit panicked because my son was due on the ice.  I finally asked the stranger-dad beside me if he might know what I could do to get the lace through the hole.

Thankfully, he was more experienced than me!  He had a pretty simple solution (which maybe all experienced ‘hockey people’ know already). He simply used a lighter to melt the end of the lace and then used his fingers to press and lightly twist the frayed part together.  Presto! Problem solved!  The lace end went straight through the eyelet on our first try!

Phew!

Save some Stress – Dress at Home if you Can

Once your kids have graduated from a five-point harness, you might consider dressing them at home before leaving for the rink.

Often times, change rooms can be busy…and occasionally, they can be pretty small and tight. There is nothing worse than sweating bullets, trying to help your child get dressed in a two-square-foot-space…while they are distracted by their friends…and you’re heating up in your winter coat.  It honestly sucks!

Trust me, it is a much more peaceful experience dressing while you’re still at home.  You likely have a little extra space to get ready and, usually, you will also have fewer distractions.

If you decide to dress your player at home, outfit them in everything except for their helmet and skates (those can go on in the change room).  BUT…for the love of God, don’t forget them at home!

Speaking of Busy Dressing Rooms…

No one likes having to dress their child in a busy dressing room – it’s not very fun.

If find yourself in a small, or tightly packed change room…or if you notice some parent has had to resort to dressing their kid on top of the locker room toilet…that might not be the right day to have extra family members accompanying you to dress junior.

On days like this, I would encourage you to consider applying a one-child-to-one-adult-rule, as a courtesy to your fellow child-dressers.  After all, you do have to spend an entire season sitting in the stands with these people.

 

I really hope that you find this short list helpful and that you get a little chuckle from some of the silly mistakes I made!  If you have any other suggestions, or tips for rookie hockey parents, please don’t be shy about adding your comments.  I’m only a year in…I’m pretty sure I’m still making silly mistakes that the veterans are shaking their heads about!

Wait! …I have one final tip!

Brush up on your fundraising skills, my friends, because you’re surely going to need them!

 

Comments

  1. Love this 🙂 We have 3 in hockey and are year 5 with our oldest. Such a fun sport and you’ll make such wonderful hockey family friends. Another tip to add: open the hockey bag when you get home to let everything dry properly. Otherwise it’s going to stink like mold. And I made my own stinky gear spray with essential oils but Norwex sells one too. Oh, and don’t let your littles walk on metal with their skates on! I’ve seen so many kids dull their skates or take a chunk out of the blade by not paying attention. And check the fit of the skates often. I know tons of parents who hold their kids skates up to their shoes and realize the skates are much too small but the kids just keep forcing their feet into them.

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