Posts tagged hockey

Hockey Season is Over

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The season ended at opposite ends of the spectrum for the boy and the lass where hockey is concerned. Where as a couple of seasons ago, the boy was ready to say “Goodbye” to hockey and never play it again, he’ll be looking forward to next season for the remainder of the off season. The lass, on the other hand, is glad to be done with it for now.

The lass’ ended a tough league season with two straight playoff losses. This despite the lass’ best efforts through both games. Unfortunately, they just didn’t have the horses this season to get much done.

The boy’s season ended on the highest of notes, with his team hoisting the league championship trophy. The won a close 1-0 contest yesterday, as I noted earlier, and then won in a blowout in the championship game today, 8-1. The boy didn’t score any goals today, but he got a different kind of reward. The coaches had him sub in on the A-line when, once again, one of the A-line players had to leave the game early today. It was a nice vote of confidence for him at the end of a season where he really started to come into his own with hockey. He’s not a star player at this point, but he established himself as a quality player that the coaches relied on to help win games and get good effort and quality minutes from for the 2nd half of the season.

If he ever decides to really take the game seriously, there’s no telling how far he could go.

For the record, I also note that when the teams were assigned back at the beginning of the year, the boy was convinced they would be the worst team. He didn’t recognize any of the players names and all the good players he did know were on other teams. Just like a 4th grader to declare that he knows how everything was going to turn out without even playing the game. One of the nice things about his team’s success is he can never again play the “I never win at anything” self-pity card. There’s no telling where his sports will take him or how far he’ll choose to go, but winning a championship at any level is a special thing. Most importantly because once it’s won, it can’t be taken away.

Hockey Season Ends

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I penned a similar in spirit post last year when hockey ended, but this year’s post will be nothing like last year’s post.

Last year, when hockey ended, the boy was done with hockey. When I say “done” I mean like I was sure he would never play the game again.

Oh the difference 8 months can make.

While both kids are glad to have their weekends back, they’ve both stated their intent to play again next year. It will be a year of change for them both, as they both will bump up to the next level of play based on age. Should make for some interesting weekends for us. But that’s all in the future.

As far as today goes, both kids finished their respective seasons well. The boy and his team rebounded from yesterday’s bitter defeat to finish their year with a win and an overall 3rd place finish. The boy had a goal and, after a slow start, played well in his final game. I didn’t think it was as good as yesterday’s effort, personally. His coaches disagreed. Winning tends to smooth over a lot of rough edges though.

The lass finished her season with a tie against the other team at their level of play. She didn’t score any goals this year, but she hustled, kept after the puck and gave herself a number of opportunities as a result.

Her game was hugely entertaining. The stands were packed with friends and family of all the players. Parent’s were urging all the kids on, cheering the goals, the shots and the nice defensive plays; laughing at the zaniness that comes with 6 and 7 years zipping around on a slippery surface with sticks in their hands; enjoying the culmination of a long season. When it was all done, the coaches had the kids give the families a well-earned bow.

Now, for a time, we get our weekends back. Even when baseball season starts up for the lass (the boy has declined to play), the mornings will be a little easier to deal with. Plus, the weather will be a bit more pleasant. But in the meantime, we’ll enjoy not having to do anything or go anywhere we don’t want of need to on Saturday and Sunday.

No Championship- Today

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Today was the 2nd to last day of the hockey season. Once again the Wife and I were up too early to fix breakfast for kids, also up too early, so they’d be ready to go for hockey.

For the lass, it was another practice. She spent her hour doing drills she won’t have to do again until next season. For the last 20 minutes or so they played a game. She’ll play in a final game tomorrow.

The boy will also play in a final game tomorrow, but not the one he wanted. They had a semi-final playoff game today against the “Blue Team.” There are only 4 teams in the league, thus the semi-final designation. They were playing for the right to play the “Green Team,” whose been nicknamed the “Green Machine” because they haven’t lost all season. The “Green Team” had beaten the “Orange Team” in the hour prior to the boy’s game. The boy’s team is the “Red Team,” just to complete the color ensemble.

The boy’s game was, simply put, a gem of a game. Neither team ever led by more than a single goal. It was well played, as these things go, and even better contested. In my not-so-unbiased opinion, the boy was a star for his team today. He scored their first goal less than a minute into the game where simply outskated everyone else on the ice. It was a shot of adrenaline for his teammates and they all played fantastic for the remainder of the game. The boy also had an assist and was involved in a couple other scoring possessions. It was, by far, his best effort to date.

Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. They ultimately lost 5-4. They couldn’t tie it up, even with pulling their goalie in the final minute or so.

Kids aren’t interested in life lessons, but that’s what this day will have been for him, in the scheme of things. He cried when it was over, and we let him. When he finished crying, we told him how well he’d played, as did some of the other parents of his teammates. We told him we were proud of how much effort he’d put into it and I told him that if he kept giving that kind of effort, he was certain to have days with better endings.

The Boy is Concussed

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Well, to be clear that’s not a doctor’s opinion; however, the evidence is pretty heavily in favor of that diagnosis. During his hockey practice on Wednesday, he collided with another player, hitting face-mask to face-mask in the process. He says that his head started hurting after that. When he came off the ice, he came right over to me and told me he had a headache. He complained it hurt more after we took the helmet off, though I attribute that to the adrenaline from practice running out.

We went home, he took a shower and went right to bed, but he didn’t sleep well. He got up a several points during the night to complain to me about his head and his room being hot. The fan helped him a bit with the room, but I told him there wasn’t much we could do about his head. We kept him out of school yesterday since his head was worse by the morning.

By midday, his head was feeling better and he said there was no more headache at that point. As bed time approached, however, he said it was starting to bother him again. He went to bed at the normal time and slept well, waking with no headache this morning. We sent him to school today.

The headache came back around midday today, as the school nurse called to let us know. The plan was to let him rest a bit and get him a little lunch and some drink and see how he did. We didn’t hear anything more today until he arrived home. He got off the bus and complained that his head was hurting again. He said it never really stopped but he didn’t want to go back to the nurse so he just stayed in class and took it easy during recess and some other things.

Somewhat compounding the problem is that he might be catching a cold. His colds are often times accompanied with headaches. The Wife and I are figuring to keep him out of hockey this weekend to be on the safe side and possibly ask his martial art instructors to give him a pass in sparring next week. He’s a bit young to chance getting multiple concussions.

I’ll note that the initial symptoms after hockey and such as he described are pretty similar to my own experience from being concussed, including the headache that peaked about 12 hours later. Fortunately, the helmet kept his experience from being on a par with my own. Unfortunately, it didn’t prevent it entirely- that’s disappointing.

Hockey Ends

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Today, at long last, the hockey season came to a close. The boy had his season ending game in the morning and the lass’ finale was mid-afternoon. When it was all said and done, we went out to dinner to celebrate.

For posterity’s sake, the boy’s team lost. Badly. The boy did seem to play harder, but as the game wore on and his team’s scoring attempts continued to fizzle, the boys effort also did. Most of his teammates as well. There were plenty of potential lessons to be learned there I suppose, but I’ve learned that I can’t teach them. They’ll have to seep into the boy’s psyche on experience at a time. The only thing I did tell him is that it won’t be the last time he’ll lose. For once, he didn’t argue.

Interestingly, he was plenty mad when he came off the ice. It was like he actually cared about winning the game. A little later, though, I think he remembered that he’d decided he didn’t like hockey and that the season was over so it didn’t last long.

The lass’ team, on the other hand, went out with a bang. Actually, it was more like a KABOOM. And an earth-shattering one at that. They actually stopped keeping track of the score at the end, that’s how big they won.

The lass also played well. She even scored a goal for her efforts, which was the family highlight of the day. She’d come down the boards in the offensive zone and there was a mini-scrum for the puck. She was on the outside of the scrum and noticed that the puck had popped out. So she just kind of skated over and took the puck and no one followed her. She kept right on skating towards the net. By that point, she was almost parallel with the net. Because of the extreme angle and the way the goaltender positioned himself, it didn’t look like there was any chance to score. But she kind of flicked the puck towards the net and, wouldn’t you know, the puck found enough space to squeeze through for a score.

Right now, all th hockey equipment has been washed and laid out for drying and subsequent storage. The boy left himself the possibility that he play again in the fall. I think that’s about right. The lass wasn’t talking about it. She was glad the season had ended and is looking forward to having normal weekends again.

So are the Wife and I.

Hockey Tournament

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Instead of the usual practice this morning, the hockey league ran a 3-on-3 tournament. We signed the boy up for it as it would be his best chance to play some “real” hockey. If you can call hockey without checking, penalties or goalies real hockey. The nets were tiny little things about 15 inches wide and 8 inches high or so.

The tournament was the first competitive environment in which the boy participated. He’s been in other less formal things like t-ball and the like, but they didn’t keep score during those games. They didn’t want any hurt feelings. But here, there was actually going to be a sanctioned winner. Meaning there would also be a bunch of losers. Welcome to the real world I say.

His relative inexperience showed. He was hesitant and unsure of where to be at various points, especially when the puck wasn’t in his immediate vicinity. But he wasn’t alone and I and the other parents just encouraged them to skate hard and play hard. After the first couple of games, they were doing just that. He managed to score a couple of goals along the way, making the whole thing a personal success for him. I made sure to point out that the goals were a reward for working hard during the games. No way to know for sure if the “work” aspect registered with him, but we did our best to point it out and reinforce it. When he scored a goal in the final second of his last game, I made sure to point out that it was great that he kept on going right to the end.

Probably the most amusing moment came after his first goal. Since there are no goalies, play essentially continues right after each goal so the scoring team can’t take too long to celebrate or they’ll give up an easy “answer” score. Well, the boy was so excited that he skated the entire length of the ice to tell me that he’d scored his goal. Meanwhile, play was continuing behind him. I had to give him a quick “Attaboy” and then usher him back out to help his shorthanded team. Luckily, no goals against during that sequence. (FWIW- the goal was a nice shot. He was about 10-12 feet away and off to the right of the goal at a tough angle when he shot. He caught the far side of the little net with a satisfying “DONG” when the puck hit the metal frame. A little excitement was justified I’d say.)

When it was all said and done, his team came in second place. A feat that generally seemed to please him. Although he did comment that he wanted to win first place. I’d have been disappointed and surprised if he’d stated otherwise, though I’d never tell him that. We told him to keep working hard and next time he might just come in first. It was good to see that he clearly enjoyed the experience. Considering that he had a 5:30 wakeup call this morning(the first game was at 7), having him in a good mood after it was all said and done was the biggest win of the day.

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