A Season Of Self-Discoveries

A Season Of Self-Discoveries

Who would have thought we would find ourselves longing for the sound of alarms blaring before dawn on a Saturday morning. Or missing the chance to pack a bag full of smelly equipment, or drinking bitter ice rink coffee left on the pot a bit too long and sitting on a frigid seat in those questionably designed metal bleachers? 

After this past Covid-challenged year, we are clamoring for those taken-for-granted signs of the hockey season.

The precautions and protocols rolled out in rinks across the country were instrumental in keeping the hockey world safe, but it still stung when our daughter's college hockey season was put on ice.

Even those lucky enough to scrape together a season saw their patience tested.

"For me, the season was sad," says Syracuse (N.Y.) Blazers hockey mom Stephanie MacDerment.  "When games started back up, the protocols varied from rink to rink. I had to sit most of the games out. Luckily, my husband was there because he helped coach." 

I felt frozen too. My Waze App, which I rely on for directions to new rinks, went unopened. Vacation days saved up to cash in during hockey season were left untouched. The calendar looked as clean as a fresh sheet of ice.

Sure, our bank account thanked us, but neither of our kids playing hockey for the first time in 20 years triggered a minor meltdown. 

I filled the giant void by joining a pair of friends to create an "Our Kids Play Hockey" podcast. It kept me connected to the community (and sane).

As strange as it may have felt for me, my focus was mainly on our daughter and how she dealt with the longest period of her life without competitive hockey. The game has made Sophia even more resilient and she was able to enjoy some previously unexplored winter activities-like tackling snowboarding near St. Michael's College in Vermont. 

Other parents made their own self-discoveries:

"I will never take being a spectator for granted ever again," says MacDerment. "As rules relaxed, I was able to go to more games at the end of the season, and I was 100 percent present in the moment because I was so grateful to be there." 

"My family's take away from the past season was how amazing dedication, hard work and community truly can be. Some practices were two hours away from home and sometimes ice was at 10 p.m.  The girls had to change outside for much of the season. We all agreed to do what we could so the girls could play the game they love."
-Laura Fuller, Rome, N.Y.

"I'll never complain about freezing inside a rink again. Covid restrictions in Maine meant parents in parking lots watching games on LiveBarn or Facebook Livestream. I'm grateful to all who made that option possible."
-Jennifer Winkler Williamson, Freeport, Maine

"Regardless of how next season goes, I'll be grateful for the little things and that after only five weeks of training in 14 months, just to be back on the ice is a joy. I also hope that this season my son doesn't grow too much more as he outgrew nearly all his goalie kit during lockdown and boy, is that stuff expensive!"
-Linda Aitcheson, Belfast, Ireland 




Who is your favorite American player?
Auston Matthews
Jason Robertson
Tage Thompson
Matthew Tkachuk
Patrick Kane
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