Hockey Mom Column

Proper Planning May Be The Biggest Present You Can Give Yourself


What words come to mind when you think of the holidays? Peace, love and joy? Or travel, tournaments and stress? 

Hockey families execute a delicate balancing act with school events, holiday parties, family gatherings, practices, games and tournaments. It’s as stressful as a one-goal lead in a playoff game.  

The holidays are a lot like hockey in another way: Winning efforts come to those who plan and prepare. So here are a few tips from my life and the lives of my hockey friends:) 

Having a visual game plan can be one of the best ways to keep the family a little more sane and organized during the holidays. I always used a dry erase calendar to keep my home team in line. We would place it in the kitchen or the family room. That way your family can see what’s coming up, when to say no, and work together to tackle the many tasks of the season. Mark down work, school, games, family commitments, schedule holiday shopping, baking and even gift wrapping.  

You can count on scheduling conflicts so setting up a car pool might be the next best thing to Santa’s sleigh. Parents are always willing to pitch in and help shuttle the kids to their destinations. Make sure you return the favor. 

As any seasoned hockey parent knows, traveling during the holidays can be as challenging as staring down T.J. Oshie in a shootout. Once again, preparation is the key.

Traveling is always easier when you plan ahead, and that’s especially true during the holidays. That means doing your homework and learning about the city you’ll be heading to. Most tournament organizers do a good job of planning activities away from the rink, or provide information on local attractions and restaurants.

It’s a veteran move to work with a hotel to reserve a meeting room and have pizza (or whatever food fits the occasion) delivered for a team get-together. The team can use this time to review game tapes or for team building. This is also a great time for the parents to get to know each other. 

Speaking of plans, make your list, check it twice and as my long-time hockey friend Caroline Stanistreet suggests, do the mom and dad timeshare. One parent goes to the games and the other stays home to clean or cook. As long as you are both there for the championship game, your kids will understand. 

I admire those hockey moms who can find those unique gifts at shops near the rink. After dropping their kids off at practice they can painlessly whittle down the holiday wish list. Online shopping on the phone or iPad during intermissions can give you that home team advantage, too.

Lose the guilt, and cheat. Go ahead and cut corners during this crazy season. 

If the holiday tournament calls for parents to supply food, pick up a couple of pizzas or buy one of those family sized frozen macaroni and cheese dinners.  Doctor it up with a little seasoning and toss it in a Crockpot. You’ll satisfy a hungry crowd, save time and make money for the team.

A lot of planning and a little compromising can go a long way and help you keep the ‘ho ho ho’ in the holiday.



Who is your favorite 2023/2024 NHL Rookie?
Connor Bedard
Matthew Knies
Brock Faber
Logan Stankoven
Logan Cooley
Total votes: 3