youth hockey player

March Tryouts

For thirty-something years, I've never worried about hockey tryouts. I've had to worry about school grades, relationships with friends, betrayals, getting my first job, being laid-off for the first time, moving into our first house, and all the other little stressors that make up the human experience. However, I had never experienced this perfect mixture of stress about the present and anxiety about the future that is the youth hockey tryouts experience. 

For the typical travel hockey family, March tryouts come into the picture for the first time when their son or daughter is ready to make their first-year Mites team. So at the ripe age of 6-7. I will not go into the details of that experience for us because, frankly, it's just a blur at this point (Luke is completing his first-year of Peewees; Jason is done with his first-year of Squirts). 

Whatever it was when they were younger, it is now multiple times more nerve-wrecking. That's the universal truth of tryouts: the older they get; the higher the stakes. Or at least that's how everybody in this youth hockey world seems to perceive it. And nervousness is contagious. 

A little context for what comes next: we had a pretty traumatic experience at tryouts last year. That's the thing about them - you don't know which way they're going to go. Your child may have a string of particularly bad days; he or she might be paired with exceptionally bad passers, heck, even exceptionally bad players, as linemates at the all-important scrimmage. This could happen over multiple days. Yes, Lady Luck may not be kind to you, it's all up in the air and you're just helplessly standing there behind the glass. 

Going into this cycle feels completely different. Whether it's due to being burned out after the last one or due to a natural process of maturation as hockey parents (I really hope it's the latter), Jack and I are going into these tryouts with very few expectations. More precisely, we've adopted the attitude that they'll place where they're meant to be. I like it. 

I think we came to this attitude through different paths and for different reasons. I can only speculate about Jack but what I know about myself is this: I've realized that very little of what happens in youth hockey is live or die for our boys. They've shown me time and again this season that they'll make forward progress on their own time and, often, at times when I least expect it. For example, Jason just ended his season on a high assertive (code word for aggressive) note in his last 3 or 4 games of the season after months of timid play and softness. Nobody said anything to him to get it out of him; he just did it when he was ready. 

So I head into next week with peace and calm (relatively speaking) and I hope for the best. Ready to support them and enjoy their hockey journey no matter what team they make or don't make. 

Tryouts begin March 13 and I am ready. 

 - Kristina 


We had a stomach bug that felt like it was trying to kill us. Thankfully the coach knew my son so he still made the team. Idk what we would have done if the coach was new to him.

Bridget Johns

Love this blog post. As for me, we’ve already completed tryouts. Now we wait! Good luck everyone!

Bridget Johns
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