Last winter I had five of my six kids playing hockey. Madness, I know.
Many have asked how I survive the driving, the expense, the equipment and – let’s face it – the hockey smell that consumes my home. Other than using a lot of Febreze, here are my hockey season survival tips for busy moms and families:
1. Put kids close in age on the same hockey team.
I had one daughter play in a boy’s league and another daughter play up a league. This meant I had five kids in hockey but only on three teams. There are only so many hours one mother can spend in a cold arena.
2. Play with a friend.
My son was on the same team as his cousin, who happens to also be our neighbor. My sister also has half as many kids as me, so she was quite generous when it came to driving.
3. Buy a minivan.
I know, I know. Some of you with only a couple of kids are hesitant to drive around in a minivan, but it’s your ticket to effective car-pooling. You can fit in loads of team-mates and hockey bags. Sharing the driving is a sanity saver for busy families.
4. Think twice about rep hockey.
My kids are good hockey players but I have no NHL or Olympic hockey aspirations for them. They are well suited to play against kids in our very own town. Rep is fun, but it’s also expensive and takes families out of town for most weekends. If you go into it, have your eyes wide open. Hockey will be the number one priority for your family.
5. Do a price analysis on kids hockey equipment.
Looking at mid-range gear including sticks and skates, you’re looking at about $700.00. With so many kids playing hockey, it’s essential that we not lose equipment so I can hand it down to the next kid in line. I’m proud to say I’ve only bought one set of hockey gear a year and have not lost any equipment to date. My six-year-old is wearing the same gear his 4 older siblings did when they were his size.