Hockey Parenting 101

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The “youth sporting world” is an extremely popular and fascinating craze that many people partake in. In this world, kids play in various sports for the pure enjoyment and love of the game. However, in the game of hockey, the parents of these children have many different personalities and characteristic. Classifying these types of hockey parents not only helps when selecting one’s seat at the game, but it may also help you protect your hearing from a “zebra poacher” or maybe even save your life in the case of a “juggernaut”. Still you will know how to act when you are faced with dealing with a wild hockey mom or dad.
The “No Show”. These parents aren’t really acknowledged as hockey parents at all. This is because none of the other team moms have ever actually met them. The “No Shows” drop their kid off at the door and the only thing seen driving off in the distance is the, “Driver carries no cash. Kid plays hockey” sticker on the back of the suburban. However, some of the stubborn parents still try to catch a glimpse of the “No Shows”. Sometimes they catch a glance at the slick black hair and sun glasses, or the firmly pressed business suit, but never direct eye contact or a smile. After the game the orphan will get a ride home with another hockey mom and the pattern continues. The “No Show” places their kid in hockey for only two reasons—to keep their child satisfied, and to make time fore work. For some, the “No Show” is impossible to understand. Still the “No Show” parent is never loved, nor is he hated. This is because nobody has actually had the chance to come face to face with this type of rare parent species.
The Zebra Poacher”. Usually male, 5’5 to 6’3, but is always over 200 pounds. Either standing at the top of the stands or near the glass, he makes sure that his voice will be heard on the playing surface clearly and audibly. He is there neither to cheer nor to observe his own child at play. No, the only reason he makes the 20 minutes drive to the rink is so he can make the referees life a living hell. His chants of disapproval echo throughout the arena and startled those around him. Most likely he has never refereed a game in his life, but because his son has been playing for three years he feels he is more qualified for the job. However, he is loathed by all the other parents yet nobody dares risk themselves to call him on his actions. By the end of the year he has been escorted out of various rinks and warned never to return. Nevertheless, he will always be on the hunt.

The “Juggernaut”. This parent’s mindset is that they were put on earth to do one thing only: breed hockey players! The “juggernaut” parent is at every game bleeding the team colors. They have the team jacket, and the team hat, and the team scarf, and don’t forget the team decorative pennant. However, the “juggernaut” also possesses another quality that they share with the “zebra haters”. Vocals. “Juggernauts” are easily identified as the loudest and most obnoxious in the rink. They cheer for goals and bark at mistakes. They hand out money to their child to hog the puck and punish when an error is made. They tear into the other team forgetting that they are hexing grade school children. Sometimes a sly grin may come to their face when a kid on the other team goes down after a cheap hit. They are cold, heartless, and winning is number one. Losing is not tolerated and is avoided at all cost. The “juggernaut” sends constant e-mails to the coach demanding their child gets more playing time. The easiest way to spot a “Juggernaut” is by locating the 5 to 10 foot empty circle that surrounds them in the bleachers. The only ones that dare sit with these hockey maniacs are their own kind. There is only one thing worse than a “Juggernaut”…that’s two.

The “Stanley Cup Parents”. The silver lining of hockey folks. They come to every game for the single reason as to be there for their youngster. They cheer for their team, but never to loud. They love to see a win, but congratulate any hard fought loss. They purchase equipment to keep their player safe and having a good time. On the outside they may appear to be a “Juggernaut” when they emerge wearing every team accessory. However, do not make this mistake in identifying them. They contain one special thing that it seems the others don’t. A heart. These parents applaud the other team’s hard work and feel sympathy for opposing team injuries. They are there when the team calls on them for transportation or extra payments for practice. “Stanley Cups” fork over money not to forcer their child to play, but to let their kid experience something he enjoys. They cut family vacations short to make it to the rink for puck drop and sacrifice anything to always be there to support. They love their team and the team loves them. “Stanley Cup Parents” are the ultimate trophies and are a prized possession of the young hockey players who are blessed to have them.

In youth sports, and especially in hockey, the variety of parents make the game what it is. No matter how ridiculous each category of parent/fan is, they all collaborate into a team of their own. Some species are hard to identify and even tougher to understand. Yet nonetheless, knowing the difference between a “Zebra Hater” and a “Stanley Cup” may help in making your spectating experience much more enjoyable.



Clayton W. Dickson





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