Arizona Rubber

Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

Hockey harmony: The life of a hockey mom


I have been a hockey mom for over 10 years.

The beginning is important but not as important as the story. 

The story starts with learning to skate, hockey tots and house play, beginning at age five.  It quickly and accidentally turned into travel hockey, known to some as club hockey.  He was eight at that time. 

The excitement is real.  The commitment is intense.  The life is awesome….most of the time.

When they are younger, you find the celebration in all the positives.  You scored the great goal, you skated faster than the others, you blocked so many shots.  As they age, it turns into, what was that pass?  Stick on the ice! Don’t shoot at the chest!

My son who started at five and did the learn to skate, the hockey tots and played house, has turned into a 15-year-old who has played travel since the age of eight and now plays both travel and high school hockey. 

I won’t get into the debate of playing both high school and travel at the same time.  I have seen both the positive and negative but wouldn’t want to deprive any dedicated player the opportunity of both.  AHSHA and travel try to balance both and with the pros and cons, do their best to keep it fair and an amazing experience, each in their own right. This is another story for another time.

Jake Gabrick and Logan Gibbs

This story is about what I have seen this year. My son lost his team of seven years when Gila River Arena closed ice to youth hockey. Again, another time for this opinion on how this impacted youth hockey. 

What did happen is that a team that was glued together by a common coach and a core group of players who played many years together got displaced.  Some went here, some went there, but almost all continued in some capacity.  Some went high school only, some joined other travel teams, some joined high school, some did both high school and joined another club. 

What impressed me most this year was what I saw as loyalty to the sport. I saw a team displaced from Gila River turn into teams in different clubs, but friendships stay loyal.  On the ice, they are fierce competitors. But before and after the game, they help each other on the ice or have quick pats of support in disguise during games. 

Let me give you a few examples.  In a game of rival travel teams, I witnessed a Mission team member go down, but a Jr. Sun Devils player stay by his side because they were teammates in years past. I saw the Jr. Coyotes team post support for a Jr. Sun Devils team when they were both playing out of state. They were Arizona teams supporting each other. 

In high school, I just witnessed coaches supporting each other in D1 playoffs, recognizing each other for supporting their teams in difficult times. 

I am sure other have many more examples and experiences of the amazing hockey community we have.  Don’t get me wrong, we have a fierce competitive spirit. My son plays on a high school team with a player he has played with since he was seven years old. He also plays against the same player in with his travel team in divisional play. We celebrate together in the high school realm, and we compete in the travel realm.  But we love each other every day as a hockey family. 

Hockey is a lifestyle, not just a sport.

— Tanya Gabrick

(February 14, 2023)

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