I’m not sure if you are aware, but the term “Hockey Mom” has finally made it into the latest edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary along with 2,000 other new words, phrases, and meanings. This, of course, is not surprising to us, as we have been living the “Hockey Mom” lifestyle for years. If terms such as “Bromance” and “Tramp Stamp” have been added, why not “Hockey Mom”?
Hockey Mom – noun (North American informal) “a mother who devotes a great deal of time and effort to supporting her children’s participation in ice hockey”.
Okay, that’s a good start, though I think you will all agree that “hockey mom” is not something that can be defined quite so succinctly, or in less than two lines. To describe what we do as “devoting a great deal of time and effort” just doesn’t capture the full essence of hockey mom-ness, especially here in Canada.
Not quite satisfied with the New Oxford definition, and thinking about what so many of you have told me through your comments on our “Hockey Mom in Canada” Facebook page, I offer a bit more detail on what exactly it means to be a Hockey Mom.
Perhaps to give the bigger picture, those looking for a definition of “Hockey Mom” should also be aware of the following:
A hockey mom is an “early riser” and can often be found cajoling her children out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to load them into the car (or more likely, the minivan), and, after scraping the windshield off with a hockey stick, driving her child to an arena where she watches her child’s practice in an arena colder than it is outside in the dead of our Canadian winter. A cup of Tim Horton’s coffee is most likely in hand.
A hockey mom is her child’s biggest cheerleader, often bringing noise makers – in the forms of cow bells or horns- to games, or making sure she wears her “loudest” mittens so as to be heard over the racket. Despite common misconceptions that suggest hockey moms are aggressive and hostile towards other teams and players, hockey moms can often be found cheering for good plays on both teams, especially at the tyke and novice age levels.
A hockey mom is also a counsellor. Hockey moms psyche up their children before they hit the ice, and soothe their children’s bruised egos after a loss, or after getting cut from a team. Hockey moms also act as advocates for their children, and support their children in those cases when they feel grown-ups have not made fair decisions with respect to their children.
Hockey moms are world-class event organizers. They are able to fundraise exorbitant amounts of money even in the smallest communities. They can throw the best home tournaments ever, and cooperate with other hockey moms and dads to provide their children the best possible hockey experiences.
Hockey moms are excellent cooks, whipping up nutritious meals for their kids to eat either quickly during their twenty minutes home before the next practice, or on the road. They are also real-life bank machines, constantly handing out change for vending machines, or whatever treat is on sale at the local canteen.
Hockey moms are taxi drivers, shuttling their children from rink to rink (often in bad weather), and constantly arranging rides. Each year, hockey moms put a lot more miles on their cars than do moms of non-hockey playing children. And, despite the constant shuttling and dragging the equipment from one rink to another, Hockey Moms almost never forget a child at an arena.
Hockey moms know the importance of airing out hockey equipment. Hockey moms can get a young child dressed in full hockey equipment in less than 10 minutes. Hockey moms tie hundreds of skates in their lifetime, and may as well forgo manicures in the winter when their children are young, because their nails get mangled from tying the laces of their own, and other children’s skates.
Hockey moms often go without (as all moms sometimes do), to make sure that their child has high quality equipment, gets to go to that out of town tournament, or enrol in that extra special hockey camp.
Hockey Moms have an innate sense of pride watching their children blossom, from those first wobbly steps on the ice, right through to the highest level that their child plays, be it minor hockey, local house league, or the NHL. And, though it adds a lot of demands on our time, energy, and finances, most Hockey Moms would not change the fact that they are a Hockey Mom for anything.
Finally, when all else fails and a child’s own hockey mom is not able to be at the arena, other hockey moms invariably step in to fulfill all of the above roles for whatever child might need one. (See “The Importance of the Hockey Family”). The Hockey Mom role can also be filled by hockey grandmas, aunts, or friends when needed.
So, off the top of my head, those are the details that the Oxford Dictionary doesn’t quite capture in their definition of “Hockey Mom”. I’m curious, though, what did I miss? Add a comment at the bottom of this page, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , or leave a comment on our Hockey Mom in Canada Facebook Page.
Till then, see you at the rink!