Hockey Moms

“Hockey mom is a term widely used in Canada and northern U.S. states in which mothers (and fathers) often take their children to ice hockey rinks. The first article in The New York Times that used “hockey mom” as a demographic term was a 1999 review of the Chevrolet Silverado, a full-size pickup truck. In the article, the truck is described as a “smooth and gutsy” vehicle that “ought to please everyone from hockey mom to cattle hauler”.” – Wikipedia
“Soccer moms get to attend their children’s games in the great outdoors, often in warm sunshine. Hockey moms rise early, in the dark morning hours of a winter Saturday or Sunday, and drive their hockey-playing children to an ice rink in time for an 8:00 am game, which occurs indoors, under the dim lights of cold hockey rinks.” – Dan Rodicks, Baltimore Sun

A mere short while ago I offered the “tease” of a story about hockey moms. This morning when I went to the gym it was 3 below zero, when I came out of the gym it was a bright, sun shiny day and the temperature was 9 below zero, tonight it is forecast to reach 20 below zero, and by Thursday it will be 30 below zero. So, the weather is conducive to the rendering of this subject material.

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I began above with a couple of definitions of “hockey mom.”  As you can see it is a relatively recent term but was on the scene well before the arrival of Sarah Palin.  In fact, it pretty much coincides with the onset of girls’ hockey.  Not that dad’s aren’t interested in their hockey-playing daughters – they are, passionately – but there is a special relationship between mother and daughter here.  Aside from the “normal” mother-daughter bond, today’s hockey moms were first generation Title IXers – they want to see their daughters excel in the sports programs they pioneered.

I first encountered hockey moms, and the term, in 2003.  For several games I was the only fan sitting in the “home adult” section of the hockey arena (at least I qualified for the “home” part).  There eventually came a time when the hockey moms figured I might be safe to approach – they had never seen anybody other than immediate family at the girls’ games.  Apparently they determined I was harmless enough. I then started convincing other local retirees there were better things to do on winter weeknights in Minnesota than staying home watching re-runs of CSI: Ashtabula, Ohio.  The Super Fans were born – and the hockey moms looked out for us.  We are now on about our 3rd generation of hockey mom, and they still can’t believe we attend games absent blood-relatives on the teams.  But we long ago advised all that the entire teams are our “granddaughters.”

Hockey moms invite us to banquets, fundraisers, offer to drive us to away games, and include us on the yearbook list.  All we can do in return is offer our expertise – acquired through years of experience – at fine dining.  The team has spoiled us through the years by regularly making the state tournament.  That means many road trips and the Super Fans excel at finding, and advising all, on where we’re going to eat on those trips!

Hockey moms are tough!  I had no idea – but should have known by watching their daughters.  With opening of the new Y, I discovered I regularly exercise (or what I call exercise – I try hard not to sweat or to go into oxygen debt) at the same time as several hockey moms.  They work out in what the senior men call “The Torture Room.”  With each walking lap (on days we’re going counter-clockwise), we seniors can look in “The Torture Room” with admiration, awe, and sometimes, horror!  The programs therein are labeled “Boot Camp,” Spinning” (ride a stationary bike as fast as you can until it falls apart), “Boogie Till You P*ke,” and “Thr*wing Up is Fun To Do.”  We have seen them carry Navy Seals out of that room on stretchers.  Yet hockey moms often do an hour on a treadmill, before or after, a session in ‘The Torture Room.”   Amazing.

In conclusion, the hockey moms have decided that my voice has sufficiently re-acquired its native Minnesota accent, and for the 2nd consecutive year have asked me to emcee girls’ senior night.  Again, I’m honored to do so.  This year it will take place before the final home game against Bemidji on January 29 when each senior will skate to center ice for a reading of their hockey biography written by their parents.  This year will be a rather short reading, with Claire Illies and Sam Ellingson being the only seniors.

Hockey mom alumni report:  Ashley Holmes’s team, North Dakota, hosted Abby Williams’s team, Bemidji State, last weekend.  This time the Sioux came away with two wins.  Danielle “Roadblock” Justice pitched another shutout for Gustavus, who tied Trinity, another top-10 ranked team, 0-0!

And for all sports moms, in case you haven’t seen it, an article in today’s Minneapolis StarTribune regarding ACL injuries to girl athletes.

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