A large part of our family life is taken up by hockey. Hockey practices, hockey games, hockey scrimmages, and hockey equipment. My boys can’t get enough of it. If they’re not playing on the ice, they’re playing in our driveway. If the weather is too harsh for outside play, then they’re either watching it on TV or playing it on a video game. They collect hockey cards. Hockey is everywhere and we wouldn’t change a thing! Recently, my younger son and his Mite team took part in the Don Heyliger Memorial Tournament in Dover, NH. It was a weekend away for us and our fellow hockey families, and a chance for me to capture the event in a lifestyle photography session.
My boys love staying at hotels for the weekend. We don’t have to travel far afield, but if there’s a pool (and a TV), they are like pigs in mud.
Our team manager set us up in a great hotel in downtown Portsmouth – one of our favorite cities to visit. We managed to enjoy a little bit of the city in-between the trips to and from the Dover ice arena. I loved being able to stroll with my husband for a couple of blocks to the nearest Starbucks for our morning pick-me-ups.
My boys both play for the Southern NH Cavaliers. This is such a great organization. They are non-profit and really care about the kids and ensuring that the focus is on both skill development AND the enjoyment of the game.
Through hockey, my boys are learning some very valuable life lessons – much beyond the rules of a game and how to score a goal. I read a letter that was titled “A Father’s Wish” today shared by a fellow hockey mom on Facebook. I won’t reproduce the whole thing here, but I greatly empathized with the sentiment. Like most team sports, hockey is about respect – respect for your coach, your fellow players and the referee’s decisions. I loved the lines in the letter:
Teach him to play as a team and never to be selfish. Teach him never to blame his goaltender when a goal is scored against him, because five mistakes were made before the puck got to the goalie.
While the tensions run high on the ice during the tournament, our team knows how to keep the mood light and fun before the games. Boys and girls alike, they can let their hair down in the locker rooms.
Hockey teaches valuable lessons at a young age. We won’t win every game. Winning isn’t everything. It’s the goal, but sometimes we will lose. Sometimes those losses will be hard, especially for younger players. Learning that on the ice helps our players to deal with other losses they will face in life.
When we hear the Zamboni preparing the ice, the locker room gets a buzz. The kids get pumped and their smiles are wide. We happen to have a very good looking team too! These kids adore each other. When they are off the ice, they want nothing more than to spend more time with their teammates.
Coach Bob gets the kids to walk in an “orderly” line – I don’t think one of them will ever forget his “I can’t dance” by Genesis congo line!
What did I say about hockey, hockey, hockey? That’s right – if they’re not playing it on the ice, they’re playing it while they wait to get into the locker room!
We are very fortunate to also have a number of assistant coaches on our team. They are all dads that wanted to get actively involved in the association and their kids’ sports education. We wouldn’t be without their help at practice and on the bench during the games. Thanks, Coach Dan, Coach Mike and Coach Matt for all your help and dedication this year!
Hockey means gear – a lot of it! And the gear has gear! There is a fine art to taping a stick – one that is learned early and practiced often.
Though we may dress smartly and look angelic, sometimes looks can be deceiving….
Soon it’s time to get down to business and get suited up. The first time as a parent that you put your kid’s hockey gear on, it can feel like you are doing a 1000 piece puzzle with no picture to follow. Soon enough, though, you and your hockey star learn exactly what goes where and in what order.
Coach Bob names a team captain for each game – it’s one of the many special touches he gives to his kids’ hockey experience. The kids are so thrilled to be leading their team for that game.
Right before they take the ice, Coach Bob goes over the plays he wants the kids to make. He reminds them where he wants them to place the puck in each scenario. The kids are transfixed, hanging on his every word. And they are not the only ones….
Soon it’s time to line up ready to take the ice. Sometimes, it’s necessary to get some last minute adjustments to your helmet from your older brother.
In hockey, some life-long friendships are made; by players and by parents. You become part of an extended family. A group that you can count on. They have your back as you have theirs.
Sadly we’ll be saying goodbye to Coach Bob at the end of this season, our head coach. We’ve had the privilege to know him, and my boys have learned from his many years of experience and wisdom. Under his tutelage, my sons experienced their very first moments of hockey. He’s taught them so well with care, compassion and, when needed, a firm but fair hand. They don’t make that many Coach Bobs in this world. We were among the lucky ones to be able to call him our “Coach”.
Special thanks to Coach Bob – you have no idea how you will be missed or how much we would like to thank you for everything you have done for our team. If you find you have too much time on your hands, I know a group of young kids and their parents that would be only too happy to see you back on the ice with them.
As this season comes to a close and playoffs are looming, it’s with sadness I think of not seeing the same familiar faces two, three, four times a week. Have a fun summer my Cavs family. Enjoy your lazy afternoons and evenings. We will look forward to seeing you again in late August, and if you’re just as crazy as we are, we’ll see you around the rink this summer too!
Laura is a lifestyle and portrait photographer based in Londonderry, NH, but also serving the surrounding areas of Nashua, Hollis, Brookline and the Greater Boston area. Laura specializes in maternity, newborn, child, family and high school senior photography. Book your lifestyle photography session today by contacting Laura here.