How to Be a Good Hockey Parent

Hockey dad and kid

Being a hockey parent takes time and sacrifice. 

Being a good hockey parent takes support, understanding, and a willingness to adhere to the USA Hockey code of conduct, including these:

  • Young players learn by example—as adults, set a good one for children to follow.
  • Encourage kids to compete by the rules and emphasize the development of their skills and sportsmanship.
  • Always remember to cheer the efforts of both teams. After all, they’re just kids playing a game.

Hockey Etiquette for Parents

What defines good parent behavior at sporting events?

The short answer is displaying positive support for the kids’ efforts on both teams, and understanding that hockey etiquette exists for parents.

For the uninitiated, here are a few guidelines on how to observe hockey etiquette and be a good hockey parent:

  • You are not the coach—let the coaches coach.
  • Avoid negatively commenting on how the kids on either team are playing.
  • Concentrate on all the positive aspects of the players, not the negative consequences of a play.
  • Treat opposing coaches, players, and parents with respect. Referees, too.
  • Avoid carrying any negative comments out to the parking lot. What happens at the rink, stays at the rink, right?

How to Deal With Hockey Parents

Good, understanding hockey parents set a positive example for their children to emulate as they mature.

But some parents fail to pass on positive traits of sportsmanship and fair play. They can be heard shouting obscenities throughout the game and often ruin the game-day experience for others.

Coaches at every level of play must deal with these individuals.

Here are a few tips on how to deal with hockey parents who don’t demonstrate honorable support:

  • Establish preseason expectations: Before the season starts, coaches and other parents can set a positive tone by establishing a clear list of team rules for parents to follow during games and practices.
  • Meet with the parents: Before the regular season commences, coaches should schedule a meeting to reinforce their expectations of parents, highlighting true sportsmanship by all.
  • Defuse the problem parents: Once the season starts, the true colors of some hockey parents can be seen and heard throughout the rink. Don’t hesitate. Confront the problem parent and defuse the negativity. If not, the situation could fester and grow worse as the season continues.
  • Keep the focus on the kids: Forget about all the youth hockey politics and remind parents who may be getting out of hand that the only reason everyone is involved is for the development of the kids.

National Hockey Mom Day

For everything they do and all of their sacrifices, hockey moms deserve the world of gratitude—or at least an annual day of pampering.

And now they have one, on the second Friday of January.

National Hockey Mom Day was established last year, creating awareness for the opportunities mothers lovingly provide to their children. Each year, committees will accept nominations for Hockey Mom of the Year, one for the U.S. and one for Canada.

From all the young players to the hockey moms who support them—and every hockey parent who sets a good example: Thank you.