Every hockey parent knows that it’s not just a child that makes sacrifices in order to play on a team, it’s the parents too! From early morning practices to long drives to games to hours spent in a cold arena cheering on your child, it’s no small job being a hockey parent!
But it can be enjoyable too, with proper planning and a focus on teaching children important life lessons.That’s the message that Debbie Bonhomme and Connie Doughty, the mothers of Olympic gold medalists and McDonald’s® atoMc® Hockey Ambassadors Tessa Bonhomme and Drew Doughty, want to share. Check out their tips for being the best hockey parent you can be!
- Teach your child the importance of a balanced life – “Help your child understand the need to schedule time for school work, the sport they love, relaxation and rest. This balance is necessary to complete all that needs to be done. Start young so it becomes a habit and not something that is forced. This can also mean missing out on events that your child might have liked to attend.” – Debbie Bonhomme
- Make the focus of the game their work ethic – “Sport teaches your children so many life lessons. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to win every game, but if they work hard and put in a valiant effort, they should be proud of themselves. Letting them know you’re proud of their work ethic will build their confidence, which in turn will bring on smiles and fun. They cannot control the outcome of the game, but they can control the work they put in; focus on that as opposed to goals, points and winning.” – Debbie Bonhomme
- Get organized and think about meal planning – “I would pick one day a week, usually first thing Saturday morning, and prepare my meal plan for the week. This helps ensure healthy eating, saves on shopping, eliminates guess work, and eases in balancing quick meals for scheduled practices and games.” – Connie Doughty
- Stay warm in cold arenas – “A blanket and a hot cup of McDonald’s coffee will do the trick! Dressing in layers is also key to staying warm.” – Debbie Bonhomme
- Air out the gear after every game and every practice… even on the road – “We made it a routine for Tessa to always bring her gear in and air it out after every game and practice, whether at home or on the road. Gear becomes moldy and smelly when it’s left in a bag for an extended period of time. I also washed it with detergent once a month during the season.” – Debbie Bonhomme
- Make friends with other parents – “Make the most of the new friendships you develop with the other parents. Carpooling and play dates come in handy and will save you time and energy throughout the year!” – Debbie Bonhomme
- Make the most of tournaments away from home – “Have lots of car activities for road trips and make the most of every visit. If it’s a new city for the family, stay for a couple of days and get to know the history. It’s a perfect opportunity for some family time or a quick family vacation.” – Connie Doughty
- If you miss a holiday with family, make it up – “We missed many Easters over the years, but I always ensured that we had a complete family get-together the weekend before or after. Family time should never be taken for granted.” – Connie Doughty
I love the atoMc Hockey Program because it goes beyond a traditional sponsorship program.
Building upon the 25-year partnership between McDonald’s Canada and Hockey Canada, the program supports Atom teams across the country (and Bantam teams in Quebec) both by providing teams with a full set of pro-style jerseys and socks and by offering players the opportunity to improve both on-ice game skills and off-ice life skills.
Ensuring that children develop skills that have benefits beyond sports is very important to me, so I love that it’s something the atoMc Hockey Program emphasizes.
The atoMc Hockey Program is such a great way of supporting youth hockey in Canada and gives some extra support to the hardworking coaches and parents that sacrifice so much to ensure their children can play. Check out the program and the support it provides to learn more about how McDonald’s Canada is contributing to youth hockey across the country!