When I was a young lad, I clearly recall spending most weekends in a hockey rink. Either I was on the ice, my dad was coaching, or he was organizing other bits. When I stopped playing competitively, I opted to get into coaching. I did that for a few years, but live took a hell of a left turn and I needed to refocus. I stopped skating altogether for about 3 years, then joined some league play and have been skating 2-3x a week since.
I make a concerted effort to not have hockey fall into family time. The majority of my games are after 9pm. The flipside is that my kids know I play (and watch) the sport, and they’ve been to a fair share of games in their years. My eldest started playing 3 years ago, and I helped on the ice. Last year I was assistant coach, this year head coach. I figured since I was at the rink anyway, it would work out.
Which in one space that’s true. Assistant coach is a near similar time investment as a spectator – emotionally not quite. Head Coach, it’s about double the time. I’m extremely grateful to have an awesome support team of AC, manager, and treasurer. We just spent an amazing weekend in North Bay for a tourney. The girls had a blast and progressed like crazy. The parents stayed up late and polished off WAY to much vodka. That we were able to experience the moments without worry is a highlight.
I’m also the webmaster for the association. I took this on after noticing in my first year how atrocious the site was. Updates were months apart, files were no longer valid, really important information wasn’t present. I’m a big proponent of open & transparent communication, and I really dislike complaining without providing options. So in the Spring, I ran a new build for the site, updated all the content, and added extra bits to help out the volunteer staff. I also have it set up on my phone so I can make updates from anywhere. Very happy with the results… just a ton of hours at start/end of the season.
There’s also a development stream (DS) offered through the association, but they need extra volunteers to run it. At my level (Atom) they spent a fair chunk of time searching… and I figured my kid would be there anyways. More volunteering ahead.
An important part here for me is that this is time I’m spending with my family, so it’s not really seen as a lost opportunity. The kids get to see their parents involved in the community, and hopefully they can catch the same “give back” bug when they get older. When they age out (or simply leave) the sport, then that will be a harder decision to stick with it, or move on to other things. But that’s not going to happen tomorrow. Tomorrow, I need to run a game and a practice.
I have done the Assistant coach -> head coach -> Assistant -> assistant past 4 years. I prefer assistant because my strength is goalie coaching,and it allows me to focus on that part whereas as head coach (which was still fun) I had to focus on every other area. Every year one of my goalies makes the jump to the next level and that feels good to show kids that hard work and applying yourself yields results.
My son is now Major Bantam so maybe has two years left, depending on his desire – many kids just stopped this year (high school) so the team is struggling for the first time in 4 years. The bus rides, hotel weekends, etc. Wouldn’t change a thing – and I know I will miss that time with my son and his friends when its over.
Sounds like you have a lot more runway, stick with it! Kids learn so much in a team sports environment.
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Yeah, there’s so much positive coming from this. Kids are progressing at a crazy speed, and having a blast on the way. As tiring as it can be… having a room full of smiles makes it worth it twice over.