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God Bless You, Hockey Moms

Photo by Cal Kingston

God Bless You, Hockey Moms

hock-ey mom: noun. ‘A mother who devotes a great deal of time and effort in supporting her children’s participation in ice hockey’.

Sound familiar? We think so too.

In 2010, the phrase ‘hockey mom’ found its way into the New Oxford American Dictionary, alongside roughly 2,000 additional words/phrases that had come into light over the previous 10 years.

But here at Game On Magazine, we think that that definition could use a bit of work. ‘Devoting a great deal of time and effort’ just simply doesn’t capture the full essence of what we think makes up the lifestyle and daily function of a true Manitoban ‘hockey mom’.

How about this?

hock-ey mom: Typically an early-riser (not by choice) who suffers the odd headache from indulging in a touch too much wine – often shared over rapturous conversation with fellow mothers at Friday evening team parent parties. She is the one to call out the Tim Hortons drive-thru order from the family crossover at 6:30 AM Saturday morning en route to some small-town, off-the-beaten-path community centre in the middle of rural Manitoba.

Even though puck-drop isn’t until 7:30 AM, she ensures that her child has arrived to the team dressing room precisely 45 minutes beforehand – for whatever godforsaken reason. A quick ‘hello’ is shared, along with a prolonged chuckle with fellow parents indicating the struggle of waking up just a few hours after hopping out of the taxicab following the conclusion of the late-night team party.

She is the loudest in the stands, cheering on the coach, the players, even the referees upon occasion. Equipped with a jersey, a cowbell, a personalized sign, her takeout coffee cup, Team Canada mittens and a blanket for seat-warming purposes, she ensures vocally that equal ice-time and fair play rules are continually observed by all.

Post-game – no matter the score – she is the first to the tunnel, greeting all players with a cheery smile, sliced oranges and individual gatorade bottles to boot. The ride home to the city is filled with optimism, instruction and reflection, before a quick stop at the local skate shop for an $8 sharpening. Between hemming and hawing while weighing the pros and cons of purchasing her child a new stick, she is greeted by one of the mothers from a past year’s team, whose child has gone on to make the higher level squad.

A hearty conversation ensues, but those close to her know the slight envy she is exhibiting in wonder as to what it must be like to have a child on that highly desired ‘travelling team’. But as quickly as those thoughts enter her mind, they leave when the topic of expenses come into the picture. The skates are done, the friends say goodbye and wish each other the ‘best of luck this season’ before mother and child return to the vehicle for the remaining minutes of the drive back to the house.

With vacuuming to attend to, lunches to be made, and bathrooms to clean, her own personal friendships tend to suffer, often missing calls or texts as the weekend rolls along. A broken sideview mirror on a neighbour’s hatchback becomes the topic of lunchtime conversation, as the apparent street hockey casualty comes fully into the picture.

After recently volunteering to take on some team managerial duties, Saturday afternoon is spent researching hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions for the upcoming tournament and trip to the United States. Despite the constant societal pressures to maintain daily workouts and activity in the form of runs or long walks, her own physical health tends to get put on the back burner, in order to ensure her child’s success in the sport with which he/she loves.

With the second period of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada serving as a fixture on the family room television, she begins cleaning up after her child and friends’ evening meal, washing dish after dish, mentally counting down the time until dessert is demanded.

It’s only by 10:30 PM that she remembers to check the calendar for tomorrow’s activity: ‘8:00 AM practice, Sunday morning’ it reads.

“Oh thank goodness it’s a later one” she says.

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, coaching hockey is his favourite pastime. Carter can be reached at carterbrooks1994@gmail.com

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