"That's Hockey, Mom"

My son is on a travel ice hockey team. He's played hockey for several years and it has been so much fun to watch him grow into a stronger player. Prior to my boy playing hockey, I knew nothing about the sport. It's been a slow process but I've been learning the more technical rules. Way to go Mom!

I understand that hockey is a contact sport. And I've had a few proud moments when my boy was sent to the penalty box (I never saw that pride coming). I've also had many Momma Bear moments where I get angry at some "punk kid" that is in your face aggressive towards my boy. I'm shocked at how common this is. My son is 11, he is not an NHL player...yet.

What disgusts me is how parents behave. Putting kids on the other team down and angrily arguing with the refs. I will admit to saying out loud, "even I know that was a penalty!" when the ref doesn't call an obvious penalty. I figure it's really bad if the novice hockey mom can see the penalty, so why wasn't it called?

It's no wonder the boys are so aggressive and physical. I don't think it's necessary for boys at this age to have to hold each other back to keep a fight from happening on the ice. If parents act this way, why wouldn't the kids act this way? I'm not saying the kids can't play hard. But why does it so often have to be motivated by malice?

This morning I read on the news that a dad was sentenced to 3 days in prison because he threatened to kill a ref after a game back in December. The man was said to be from a town about 2 hours away from our hometown. We could have played this team. The article mentioned this man's son played against the Junior Hershey Bears travel team the day he threatened the ref. My son belongs to this club. There are different levels based on age and ability but I know we played that club. It is very likely this man was at our game.

It is a game. Sports teach kids many good lessons that can be applied to life. Sports can be fun. Yes, it can get aggressive but why is it acceptable at such a young age? People always tell me, "it's hockey, Mom". So that makes it ok? I understand that a fight at a professional game is entertaining to some. But why are we teaching kids this is acceptable sportsmanship?

I do not believe it should be acceptable or normal behavior for kids or their parents. I'm not sure when the appropriate age for such aggressiveness would be. I think a lot of parents need to learn to control their behavior. They need to be reminded that we are there to support the players and watch as they grow in their ability to play the game they love.

What do you think? Is it simply a matter of "that's hockey, Mom" or is this a bigger problem?

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