As parents, we encourage our girls to participate in many sports and enjoy different kinds of activities. We follow the Gretzky philosophy.
“In youth hockey, in most cases, it’s really important for kids to play other sports – whether it’s indoor lacrosse or soccer or baseball. I think what that does is two things. One, each sport helps the other sport. And then I think taking time off in the off-season – that three- or four-month window – really rejuvenates kids so when they come back at the end of August, they’re more excited. They think, ‘All right, hockey’s back, I’m ready to go.’ ” – Wayne Gretzky.
This past spring my eldest daughter and her hockey team headed to the Provincial finals. It was a bitter-sweet end to her hockey season… and experience. For the last four years, Gabby literally ate, slept and lived hockey. Gabby is always looking to better herself and to help her team reach the ultimate goal… Provincials. And this team all worked hard together to get it done!
Competitive hockey takes a lot of commitment, from the player and the parents too. Practices, games, numerous out-of-town tournaments, board and coaches meetings (x2 both hubby and I are/were on hockey boards), parties, team building activities, and so much more commanded our time. At the beginning of the hockey season, we would jokingly tell our non-hockey friends’ “See you in May!”, only it was not a joke. So, you can imagine our concern when Gabby said this hockey season was her last.
Gabby let us know she wanted to end her hockey career because she found a new love, sprint kayaking. Kayaking is a team sport as well as a solo sport. Gabby works hard to improve her times and be a reliable partner in team boats. Truthfully though, is there a better way to spend your summer as a teenager than by the water all day? I also selfishly appreciated sitting water side more than freezing in the ice rink. For the last three years, Gabby played hockey in the winter and kayaked in the summer. We thought she had found a happy balance to her active life.
My girl has decided to commit to paddling year round. That means her winter months will be early morning training, after school workouts and a trip down south to paddle. I am proud that she knows what she wants and has the courage and confidence to pursue her passion. I am also very proud of her to realize that her commitment to kayak would mean she could not be able to 100% commit to competitive hockey. A part of me will miss cheering her on the ice, I “may” have overused the #hockeymom hashtag, I am so proud of her commitment to her athletic goals.