The good, the bad and the stupid: A weekend of youth hockey

team photoA few weekends ago, I willingly monitored 29 Squirt hockey games. It involved about 40 hours of watching other people’s kids play hockey and eating rink food while inhaling Zamboni fumes, but it was mostly fun. In many ways it was a snapshot of everything that is right, and everything that is wrong, in youth sports.

What was right: Read the rest of this entry »


Ed Arnold’s “make it fun, make it fair” approach for youth hockey

Here’s a treat for my readers– a guest post by Ed Arnold, former editor of The Peterborough Examiner, and my personal hockey coach/author hero. One of my more popular posts was the Recommended Reading List for the Thinking Sports Parent, and the first book I mention is Ed’s title, Whose Puck Is It, Anyway?  He’s finishing up a book on his time spent with the Peterborough Petes, an OHL hockey team, that should be out in later this year. Ed and I got hooked up through the magic of the interwebs and he agreed to write a post for the Trophy Mom. I hope you share it with your coaching friends.

By Ed Arnold

Whose Puck Is It, Anyway?Children’s hockey is a strange relationship. We think and talk like we just want to make sure the game is fun for the kids, but then act in different ways.

We all would like to make it fun for the children but then put so many obstacles in their way.

Tyke or hockey for four, five and six year olds is one of the stranger concepts. We want the kids to learn to skate, stickhandle, pass and have fun, but then we put them in games where only the better ones get to skate, stickhandle, pass and have fun.

Read the rest of this entry »


Singing the praises of TeamSnap

teamsnapYou think managing a youth team is hard? Try managing an adult team. As the manager of my women’s hockey team for the last dozen years or so, I have tried various management systems, including the old fashioned paper and email system, eTeamz, hometeamsonline, Sport NGIN, Google groups and Yahoo! Groups. This year, I turned the manager reins over to Krisha, and we moved to a new online team management software and things couldn’t be better. So now, let me sing the praises of TeamSnap.

First, I have to disclose that TeamSnap gave us an account upgrade to the Premium level for free (an $85 value) in exchange for my review. We had already set up our free basic account and were loving the heck out of it, then upgraded and love it even more. Read the rest of this entry »


Battle midseason malaise

We’re about halfway through the hockey season and it’s starting to wear on me. And judging by the crabby parents and a general malaise at the rink, I think the wear and tear of the season is getting to everyone.

The sparkle has worn off and we’ve settled in to a routine– go to practice, play a game. Go to another practice, then another. Sharpen skates. Book a hotel. Drive to a tournament. Play more games. Drive home. Sharpen skates. Wash jerseys and lucky t-shirts. No trophies this year; not yet anyway. Just a long slog through another seemingly endless hockey season.

No matter how much your kids enjoy playing, or how much you enjoy watching, at some point you kinda wish it would be over and you’d have your weekends and Tuesday nights back. And that people would pay their ice bills on time and the rink would get the schedule together. But I digress. So how to you fight the malaise? How do you restore some of the luster to a long season? Go back to the basics. Not basic skills. Basic FUN. Read the rest of this entry »


Take back your garage

We have a two car garage. In it you’ll find several bicycles, a snow blower, leaf blower, lawn mower, various shovels, rakes, clippers, ladders, the bench seat for the Fun Bus, and a larger than life Stanley Cup replica and World Series trophy plus some other crap we’ve picked up in the 20 years we’ve had our home. Oh, and enough sports equipment to supply our city recreation department.  

One thing my husband insists on is parking two cars in our two-car garage. And that’s not easy with all the stuff we have. But if we can do it, you can, too. So here’s how to take back your garage. Read the rest of this entry »


Help for THAT Parent

Glass bangersWhen I told a friend that I was going to write a post on how not to be THAT parent, he pointed out that THAT parent usually didn’t recognize themselves as such, so the people that really need the advice were not going to think they needed it. He has a point there. So I devised this little test based on behaviors that I have witnessed to help you identify yourself in case your family hasn’t yet staged an intervention. Just answer the following questions with a simple yes or no.

Have you ever . . .

  1. Had other people describe you as out of control or moved so they don’t have to sit near you?
  2. Been thrown out of a game?
  3. Had a shouting match or altercation with a parent from another team?
  4. Had a shouting match or altercation with someone from your own team?
  5. Yelled something or gestured at an opposing player?
  6. Gotten “the look” from your spouse?
  7. Gotten “the look” from your player?
  8. Yelled or signaled coaching instruction to your player from the sidelines (assuming you are not the coach)?
  9. Flipped off, gestured toward your crotch or sworn at a game official or team official?
  10. Did or said something that you were later ashamed or embarrassed about?

Read the rest of this entry »


How to handle a zipper emergency

There you are, watching your kid when suddenly you notice a flash of white appearing where it should be only black. A spot of color in an unwelcome place that can only mean one thing–a busted zipper.

As I have indicated previously, I am not highly skilled in the domestic arts, unless you count making Halloween costumes, in which case I rock. Or getting grass stains and red clay out of baseball pants, which I’m pretty darn good at. Or fixing zippers in practically brand new softball pants, at which I am awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I am compelled to share it in the true pay-it-forward spirit. Follow along, kids. Don’t worry, I’ve got pictures. Lots of pictures. Read the rest of this entry »