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Notes From A Hockey Mom: Looking Ahead Junior Hockey News

Published: Thursday, 11 Mar 2021  
By: Michelle Anderson, Behind the Champ

Every so often a parent of a 12-year-old shows up in a youth hockey forum asking about junior hockey, and there are always a mix of reactions.  Some folks berate them telling them how crazy and stupid they are to even think about juniors yet, while others just thoughtfully answer the questions.  What’s the harm in asking, though?

I get it.  I’m a bit of a planner, too.  I like to know what’s coming so I can be as prepared as possible, and while I like surprises generally, I don’t like them as much when they affect my bank account. Hockey affects our bank accounts in a big way.  Most people also tend to not like the feeling of knowing absolutely nothing, especially when it involves their children.  They are familiar with the youth hockey landscape because they are living it.  They have experience with it.  That isn’t the case with junior hockey.  They have no idea what might be coming.  That can be scary as a parent, especially knowing that there is always judgement out there.  That’s probably the one thing no one tells you about being a parent, right?  The sheer amount of unsolicited advice and judgement that comes with that little bundle of joy.

Look, parenting is like an 18 minute roller coaster ride.  The first couple minutes seem pretty easy and fun, and then minutes 6 through about 12 are like climbing up and going down that first big hill.  It’s a rush, but you survived.  Then minutes 13 through 18 are like someone blindfolded you, took away the seatbelt, and set you on fire.  You have no idea what’s happening or what’s coming next, and you’re hanging on for dear life hoping you come out alive.  These parents asking about junior hockey when they have a 12-year-old just got blindfolded, and they don’t even know they are about to lose their seatbelts and get set on fire.  

They don’t even know what questions to ask or where to start asking them, and even if they got as far as looking at college or NHL players and the paths they took through junior hockey, they quickly realize that there isn’t one set path to take.  There are multiple leagues, some sanctioned, some not, and there are great teams and not so great ones in every league.  It seems like the more people they talk to, the more conflicting information they get, and it gets pretty overwhelming pretty quickly.  They don’t want to make a mistake they can’t come back from.  They don’t want to discover something “too late.”

Of course, you shouldn’t spend so much time worrying about the future that you forget to live in the present.  That’s the harm, right?  Getting tunnel vision and then getting so far on one path that it feels like you have invested too much to change directions because you don’t know if you can.  (Hint: Most of the time you can).  These parents of 12-year-olds are just trying to hold onto that seatbelt while us more seasoned parents are roasting marshmallows over that fire knowing the seatbelt is long gone. Absolutely remind them to live in the present, but they aren’t the marshmallows to be roasted.  

Author: Michelle Anderson from Behind the Champ
Hello! I am a Minnesota hockey mom of 15 years with a son currently playing junior hockey. My son was 2 ½ when he saw his first hockey game, and he became obsessed with playing hockey himself. I thought, “He’s 2. It will pass.” It didn’t. I have to admit that I knew absolutely nothing about hockey when we first started this journey, but I learned quickly along the way thanks to all the other hockey parents out there. I also saw how much fun he was having so I joined a women’s league and learned how to play myself. The kids make it look a lot easier than it is, but it’s a beautiful game and tons of fun both to watch and to play, even badly in my case. I look forward to bringing you a hockey mom’s point of view to these shenanigans in the world of junior hockey.

* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Michelle Anderson, and not necessarily the views of does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.
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