There are many unsung heroes in youth hockey, and a good portion of them fall into an exclusive club: Hockey Moms. You know who I’m talking about. Every hockey community is built on them. Moms that walk into the rink one day with a five year old, and no idea what they are getting themselves into. Fifteen years, three hockey players, two board terms and seven volunteer positions later they know almost everyone in the association and have built a group of friends with a special bond, made of you guessed it, other Hockey Moms. With all they do, there is no doubt Hockey Moms are special.
Sadly, they are usually left taking care of the stressful parts of hockey while everyone else spends time on the ice having fun. You won’t hear them complain though. They make these sacrifices willingly so that their kids can grow up playing hockey. We love them for what they do, but Hockey Moms have missed out on the best part of hockey for too long. It is time they join in the fun. It’s time for WHAM!
Women’s Hockey Association of Minnesota (WHAM) is the largest women’s hockey league in the United States. It offers a variety of hockey programs for all levels of players from beginners that have never stepped on the ice before to former Olympic and Division I players. The league is for women’s hockey players only, providing an atmosphere that eliminates the common fears that surround playing with men.
“A lot of women worry about being on the ice with big guys so ‘women only’ was a good idea”, says Maria Rogness who is in her first season with WHAM. “And I can say that as someone who's tried to get into hockey a number of different ways - this worked.”
This past fall WHAM introduced a Hockey 101 program, designed for women who are new to the sport of ice hockey. New players were provided with equipment to borrow, and participated in a structured series of on-ice clinics, culminating in scrimmages so the players could experience game situations.
“I was nervous to start because I had not skated before,” states Flannery Dolan, a participant in the Hockey 101 program. “Once I said that out loud, all of the experienced skaters [on the team she joined following the Hockey 101 program] told their embarrassing stories and said everyone is a beginner at some point and part of the process is to have fun.”
WHAM recently announced their plans to run the program again this spring and summer so that another group of women will get to start hockey in this beginner friendly format. Registration will begin in March with the program running from May through June.
“When the parent/kid annual scrimmage comes around every year, it's the kids, the Dads and usually that one Mom out on the ice,” points out Maria. “And this time, I'm going to scrimmage at the annual parents/kids game.”
If you are one of those Hockey Moms that has been curious about trying hockey yourself, WHAM can help you get started. For more on WHAM and its Hockey 101 programs, watch the video below and go to www.whamhockey.org.
Boudreau: Set the bar high. Make players strive for greatness and don't let them accept mediocrity.