It’s August! It’s the height of summer! Let’s talk hockey!
All three of my boys are off to hockey camp this week, and we have done the Great Hockey Gear Excavation followed by the Great Equipment Shuffle. The boys have grown, the skates have, mysteriously, multiplied, and after this round of trying things on, we only need a few bits of new equipment this year.
The costs of hockey add up quickly, and that can make hockey difficult for many families. That’s why I’m always happy to help and help promote organizations that make it easier for families to get their kids on the ice.
Hyundai Hockey Helpers and its not-for-profit partner, KidSport, recently sent us this information to share. They have teamed up with Norris Trophy winner and Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, his father Karl, and his family. The Subban family knows first-hand what it’s like to make financial sacrifices with five children and three boys playing hockey (younger brothers Malcolm and Jordan were recently drafted to NHL teams). They are also shining examples of the immeasurable benefits sports can provide socially and for the community.
P.K. Subban has a special place in my heart, because my eldest was moved to write a poem about him in his rookie year for an assignment at school. Subban is still his favourite player, and he follows his career closely. I love that he has added this charity to his public profile. A great role model on so many levels.
Father and former principal Karl Subban has provided Hyundai Hockey Helpers with a list of tips for other parents to help their kids develop into the best player they can be. I love all of these tips, and endorse them wholeheartedly. Balance, fun, giving back. All essential to the child athlete.
1. Kids need balance. While long drives to tournaments and early morning practices can be overwhelming, it’s important to include family and play time. A child overwhelmed with a demanding schedule may soon lose his or her passion for the game.
2. Kids need direction. Let your kids know why they are participating in an activity. Not only are they gaining skills to be a better player, but they are gaining the skills to be a better person, including confidence, teamwork, and communication. And most of all, they are playing to have fun.
3. Motivate by rewarding effort, not wins. It’s easy to take your child out for an ice cream if they win a game, but it means more to celebrate milestones achieved through hard work and perseverance.
4. Remind children that they get better over time, not over night. Kids can get frustrated when they don’t feel they are making progress. Maintaining current skills is an accomplishment, and those tiny, incremental improvements are leaps and bounds for children.
5. Keep them fueled. Aim for balanced meals, but don’t obsess over nutrition. Kids can be picky. Try feeding them like a professional athlete and you will fight a losing battle. Remember, even pancakes (our family favourite) have protein-rich milk and eggs.
6. Be an active listener. You want to influence young people, but more importantly you want to inspire them. Listen to your child’s subtle cues.
7. Teach kids the importance of giving back from a young age. Regardless of socio-economic status, all kids can give back. Whether it’s giving up a seat on public transit to someone in need or holding a door, small acts of kindness can go a long way to instill the values that ultimately make a great hockey player.
8. It truly does take a village to raise a child, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Organize a car pooling schedule for your team. If finances are an issue, there are organizations that can help for almost every sport. Hockey parents in need can visit HyundaiHockey.ca to confidentially apply for grants for equipment and registration fees.