Monday, December 31, 2018

Ice Time Woes

In a tightly contested game as things were coming down to the wire, it dawned on us.
“Hey, uh.. Where’s our kid?”

As we edged closer to the ends of our seats and tensed up with every shot on net, it wasn’t obvious at first. But after every whistle or stoppage of play, it was the first line trotting out to the drop of the puck. As winded as they seemed, it became clear to us that they would be the ones to see this game through to its conclusion.

Welcome to travel hockey. Gone were the days of equal playing time for all, the “fun at all costs” mentality was a thing of the past. We were here to get the win, and the coach would do whatever it took to put the team in a position to do so.

Perhaps it was our ego that got bruised more than our kids. Not only did they roll with the punches, they punched back, stepping up their game and eventually working to becoming that players the coach counted on for penalty kills and tight end of game scenarios.

Every parent wants their child to get as much as time as any other kid, and in the early stages, they should. Making players better is the name of the game and that is achieved through maximizing ice time. As players age and the emphasis on winning grows, that equal division of the ice time pie falls by the wayside.

Syracuse, NY hockey mom Lauren Knapp says sometimes you need to work on changing attitudes and telling their kids, ”Don't get bitter, get better. Show the coach you care and are willing to do what it takes to get that playing time."

Monica Hudak Headley is on the same page, "When my son doesn't think he's getting equal ice time, I have him ask the coach what he wants my son to work on. This way it's not whining about not getting enough ice time, it's showing the coach you want to do better."

At the end of the day, not everyone can be on the ice to close out a game and not every player wants the immense pressure that comes with those situations. Often times, our players have a greater understanding of this than we do as parents. They put the team first and know late in the game, it’s just as important to be there to cheer for their teammates. The best thing we can do is cheer right along with them.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Friday, September 7, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Real Time Hockey

Real Time Hockey - Media Outlet

Hockey Season Startup Checklist

-Christie Casciano
Ask any prizefighter – or even any good hockey player – and he or she will tell you: the fight is won not in the ring, but in the months of preparation beforehand.  So while it will be incumbent upon your young skater to diligently practice, prepare, and position him or herself for success, we as parents can set a good example. 

Equipment Check

Check the gear from head to toe, toe to head, and every neutral zone in between. Chances are your hockey player grew a little, and maybe even grew out of some of his or her gear. It’s not just a matter of comfort, but safety too. Good coverage can help protect players and avoid injury from board collisions, sticks, and pucks. Not sure if you can get another year out of the gear? Auburn, NY hockey mom Jackie Reilly makes a trip to her local retail hockey store, and has them judge what’s good and what needs to be replaced. She also picks up spare blades, laces, sock tape, mouth guards, and stick tape. Then it’s off to the drug store to stock up on ibuprofen and wipes. It all gets packed in a travel crate stored in her Suburban – along with hoodies, blankets, gloves, spare shirts, books, and odor ban travel spray.

Control Your Corner

As big or bad as any fighter may be, as talented as he or she may be, a prizefighter is only as good as his or her trainer (remember where Rocky was before Mickey taught him to eat lightning and … dispense with the thunder?).  So as the person in charge of the corner, make sure your crew knows the rules. School comes first, and sticking to that solid sleep schedule is important too. Other sports, family time, rest, and relaxation need to be in your lives too. Hockey may be a passion, but don’t overdue it. 

The Weigh In

The preseason team meeting can be one of the most important events of the
season. It will help you determine costs, travel plans, goals for the team, the coach’s philosophy, and give you a chance to develop a good relationship with the coach. Don’t skip it! It takes a team to run a team, so don’t be afraid to get on board with tackling a new role, like team manager. You just may get hooked!

Gut Check

Hockey mom friend Sharon Enck – aka “Puckgal” – has a heart to heart with her goalie daughter before the start of each season, asking things like what she’s excited and nervous about. What does she want to work on this season? “Of course, I don’t interrogate her all at once because she would probably just clam up if I did,” says Enck. ”I drop these questions in during a car ride or on a walk to get the ‘real’ answers.” Enck says that gut check helps her figure out the best way to steer the season. She also does the nose a favor with a good old fashioned sterilization of smelly equipment. The motto for her entourage? “Begin fresh and end filthy.” It may not have the same panache as Burgess Meredith’s infamous line to Rocky, but the sentiment remains – put in the time before you get ready to rumble, and you and yours will be able to proclaim to Adrian and everybody, “Yo, I did it!”
Hockey mom Christie Casciano Burns is a columnist for USA Hockey Magazine and has a new book out this week, My Kids Play Hockey, available on Target.comWalmart.comBarnes and Noble stores and

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Christie Casciano Takes The Stress Out Of Being A Hockey Mom

Christie Casciano Takes The Stress Out Of Being A Hockey Mom: For many families in the area, back to school also means back to sports for kids. Rigorous schedules of all kinds can mean more stress for parents, but News Channel 9 Anchor and 'My Kids Play Hockey' Author Christie Casciano says it doesn't have to be.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Humboldt Strong

My 16 year old hockey player needed to write an essay for school today. Here it is.

Humboldt Strong

by Sophia Burns

On April 6, 2018 tragedy struck and my heart shattered when I learned of a
Canadian junior hockey team involved in a fatal bus crash. 17 lives were lost and
13 were injured. It hit close to home.

Every year when winter rolls around, and it's time for my favorite sports
season, I get on a coach bus with 18 of my best friends for our travel games.

Blasting music, watching movies like Miracle on Ice, Slapshot, and Mighty Ducks,
long naps and messing with the first teammate to fall fast asleep.

Getting on the bus after a tough loss, that seemingly only brings us closer together
as we ride in silence, knowing we gave it our all.

The sweetest of victories against rivals, where we are singing Sweet Caroline at the
top of our lungs, as our coach shields his ears during our
terrible high-pitched off- key singing.

The rides back on Sunday nights from the long weekend trips in which we all
scramble to get the homework assignments finished, helping each other out
to get them done.

Some of my best memories happened on these bus trips; teammates
turned into sisters and fun times turned into life long memories.

There comes a time in every hockey players career when they have to hang up
their skates, hand in their jersey, and suit up for the last time.

But, no hockey player ever imagines the last time will be the time when you step
on a bus... on the way to a game.

What happened to the Humboldt Broncos is unimaginable...truly devastating
to those of us in the hockey community.

This Band of Brothers were robbed of their childhoods, and from each other,
but the one thing that could never be taken from them was the bond that they all
had together. Supportive of one another, surviving or passed, nothing could ever
break the bonds that these boys have for one another.

Being on a team, you go through the most heartbreaking of times,
but also the happiest of your lives. Going through something like this,
you start to question what good could come out of something so tragic.

For Ryan Straschnitzki, he has been keeping a positive outlook and
striving to make a good situation a possible outcome from such devastation.

Ryan Straschnitzki was among the surviving players in the crash,
but not nearly without a scratch.

Ryan went through a seven-hour long surgery, in which rods were placed in his back,
and fluids were removed from his lungs,
where there was bleeding. It is very unlikely that he will walk again,
let alone be able to skate. Instead on dwelling on this,

Ryan is already thinking ahead to the alternative. He will be joining sled hockey
and will hopefully be on the Olympic team.

I will definitely be rooting for him, and watching him play.

Rest in Peace boys, skate forever in happiness. #HumboldtStrong