Lynn's Comments: Aaron did play hockey for a few seasons. I enjoyed watching the games but wasn't one of the screamers. Some parents literally hollered themselves hoarse, while I quietly clapped and waved to the kids on the ice. I wasn't a passive observer, though. I got involved! One of the things I learned quickly was that junior hockey depends on the many volunteer hours required to coach, drive, billet, clothe and feed the teams. The job I enjoyed most was in the arena coffee shop, making hot dogs and burgers and serving coffee. It was fun to meet everyone, and it kept me busy. Sitting in the bleachers in a town where the winter temperatures went down to -50 Celsius could be chilling, and even though I spent my weekends in the coffee shop - I was warm!
Lynn's Comments: Across the lane from us lived the Klotz family. Liz was one of the neighbors I often had coffee with. She and her husband Tony had 3 adopted kids and fostered others, so their house was a busy, welcome retreat from the studio. When I put their name on Mike's hockey jersey, I waited for them to see it in the paper - but others saw it first and called to tell Liz. She was delighted, but wondered if this meant that her husband's small auto repair shop now had to sponsor a local team! From Liz I leaned how to let the small stuff go, to let kids enjoy the freedom to play without noticing the mess of toys and clutter. When it was -40 degrees outside, our homes became playgrounds and trying to keep up with the chaos was nearly impossible. Every mom became a block parent as we took turns being hostess to visiting kids and a support system for each other.
Lynn's Comments: Watching junior hockey was fun. These little players went as fast as they could with as much determination and energy as an NHL champ, undeterred by their wobbly legs and restricting gear. Close to the ice, they fell and landed in furious heaps, unscathed and ready to go for a goal. All around us, parents who were bent on winning shouted advice and admonishments in a roar that would wake the dead. The rink was a frigid metal building. The small row of heating elements above the bleachers did little more than keep us from freezing to our seats, but the energy kept us cheering for all the kids. Being a team would have to wait until they could manage to get from one end of the rink to the other without falling or forgetting what position they were meant to play. This is when hockey was fun and the kids came home exhausted and filled with pride for having done their very best.
Lynn's Comments: The worst thing about having a kid in hockey is the gear. The odd hours of practice, the driving and the butt-numbing seats in the stands were a pleasure compared to the fitting, loading, dressing and stench of the required gear. Hockey moms go unappreciated until a kid grows up and becomes a hockey parent themselves!
Lynn's Comments: One of the best ideas ever was the annual hockey exchange. As our kids grew out of their skates and uniforms, we gladly exchanged them for larger gear--used and still useable. Parents came to the Anglican United Church basement with everything that didn't fit and the bargaining began. This event made it possible for many of our kids to remain in the game. For a lot of families, hockey was just unaffordable.