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A man diving into an indoor pool.

Part 1: A Story About Stressed Hockey Parents & Taking the Plunge

11/19/2014, 5:00am PST
By Kelvin Cech

5 years ago, an argument with a hockey parent changed my life.


Wake up.

Get Maddy to the rink.

Drop Charlotte and Drew off at school.

Pick up Maddy. Take Maddy to school.

Send emails.

Organize Phoenix tournament.

Remember to go to work.

Remind Danny to pick up Drew and Charlotte after school.

Remember to eat food today.

I could go on…

Hockey parents are the busiest damn people I know. It’s bananas, the amount of effort and energy they invest in their children’s lives. Every day you’re bringing them to the rink, trying to keep them fed and trying to keep them happy when times are tough.

You’re usually the last priority on your list, and it’s a damn shame. 

Sometimes the stress can build up. 

I'll explain.

An Inappropriate Outlet For Stress

One time, back in Edmonton, I knew this parent who never had a problem with negative energy because he made sure I knew exactly what his thoughts were about my forecheck and my defensive zone coverage. The perception amongst our parent group was that this dad was all sunshine and rainbows.

It's true, he left every conversation feeling like he had truly changed the world for the better. So, his negative energy was just handed off to everyone else to deal with.

Yes, it was depressing. For parents who don’t feel entirely comfortable confronting people in the street and telling them how bad they are at their job, negative energy can build up inside.

And it’s not healthy. 

Understanding the Source of Negativity

I’ll confess, I had a difficult time leaving personal emotions out of these conversations. Why were these parents attacking me? I’m the coach for crying out loud! I played college hockey, I know everything!

How wrong I was, I now know. 

  • I did not know everything

  • Most parents weren’t actually angry

  • Most parents wanted more knowledge

  • I failed in delivering that knowledge because I felt attacked

The thing is, these conversations were actually pretty simple. Looking back, if I, a young coach, were able to sift through the frustration, I would have been able to deal with cold hard facts. 

If only I could have dumped a bucket of ice water on the parent prior to our conversations.

Vancouver is a Giant Bucket of Falling Ice Water

Well, what do you know? 

It’s the emotion that comes when advocating for your child that gets in the way of getting anything of substance accomplished. Stripping away emotion from emotional conversations is hard, but it’s important. Emotion doesn’t add anything of substance.

And really, if there’s nothing but emotion to begin with, then the types of conversations I had in Edmonton probably weren’t worth having in the first place.

The Point

Watching your son or daughter traverse the choppy waters of the minor hockey ocean is filled with as much pride as it’s filled with angst.

Unfortunately, frustration doesn’t accomplish much. Actions and carefully-selected words? Well, I believe communication can break down any boundary. 

So, the next time you feel like blowing your top? Either with a coach or with your child?

Go for a swim first.

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