Here is a piece i wrote for the beauties over at Gongshow – Lifestyle Hockey Apparel to celebrate all the great hockey dads out there.
There he is, “The Hockey Dad.” He’s loyal, strong, and sure he’s a little bit grumpy (You would be too if you had to stand in a freezing cold rink at 6 a.m.), but he’s got a heart of gold. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but he doesn’t care. Nobody pats him on the back for selling 50/50 tickets or working bingos to help prevent the family from remortgaging the house on the back of astronomical registration and equipment costs. There’s no thank you for swapping in the red Camaro for a Ford Windstar with dual airbags, child safety locks and a “Hockey is Life” bumper sticker. No, being a hockey dad isn’t a glamourous or easy job, but that’s what makes him such a beauty.
Being a hockey dad is like being part of a fraternity. Once you pass the initiation phase of substantial financial sacrifice, accelerated development of the “Dad Bod” due to bowel destroying rink food, and the deterioration of your lower back and hands from carrying bags and tying skates, you’re part of the family. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of “The Hockey Dad” or you’re simply in denial, here are a few tell-tale signs that you are one (a la Jeff Foxworthy):
- If you’ve ever used cotton batten to fix a shin pad, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you’ve ever used a skate blade as a knife, you might be a Hockey Dad.
- If your winter diet consists of stale coffee and rink fries, you might be a Hockey Dad.
- If you’ve ever fixed broken windows or dented siding due to errant wrist shots, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you’ve ever been asked to leave a Canadian Tire for “causing a scene” over the price of hockey sticks, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you know how to make a hockey net out of PVC plumbing, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you shed a tear the day your kid was finally allowed to watch Slap Shot, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you brag about being good at “Chuck-a-Puck”, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you own multiple jackets with your name on the sleeve, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you’ve ever performed an e-brake U-turn to go back for a forgotten elbow pad, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you’ve ever substituted NHL player names for swear words so you can express your true feelings around 9 year-olds (ie. “Jeff Chychryn, it’s cold in this Matt Frattin rink!”), you just might be a hockey dad.
- If you’ve been to physiotherapy because of a hockey bag related injury, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you can scrape your entire car off while holding a Tim Horton’s coffee and not spill a drop, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you’ve ever taped a stick while steering with your knees, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you’ve nearly gotten in a fist fight over a debate about which rink has the best hot dogs, you might be a hockey dad.
- If you’ve ever faked being terrible at tying skates just so you don’t get stuck being the guy who ties half the team’s skates before every practice and game, you might be a Hockey Dad.
So for all you hockey dads out there, here’s a slow clap. Thank you for tying our skates, taping our sticks and buckling up our chin straps. Thank you for the 6 a.m. practices, the weeknight travel games and the last minute skate sharpenings. Thank you for post-game treats, $200 sticks and for shovelling the snow off the outdoor rink. Thank you for new equipment, old hockey cards, and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em videos. Thank you for helping us with our backhands, for “5 more minutes”, and for tickets to the Friday night game. And, above all else, thank you for being a shoulder to cry on after getting cut from the team, the positive pep talks after bad games, and the warm smiles from the corner of the stands.
Thank you… for being a Hockey Dad.