Hockey Moms: are they an endangered species?

Hockey Moms: are they an endangered species?
© by Catherine Lawrence

Research published in the August 2004 issue Behavioral Neuroscience says maternal aggression is a biological mechanism that is activated by lactation and caused by low levels of a fear and anxiety hormone. Zoologist Stephen Gammie of the University of Wisconsin-Madison says that for lactating females, flight is not an option. His observation that "you have to have a low fear/anxiety response in order to protect your offspring" is already well known to Hockey Moms.

Catherine Lawrence, when she's not in the arena, is President of Humor Resources in her own company, Survival of the Funniest. She has devoted her life to the study of the hockey mom. Her own mother was one, as is Catherine herself, and her observations have led her to the conclusion that hockey moms are becoming an endangered species.

She has applied for a grant to study the captive breeding programs she feels are necessary to preserve the species. The following observations are taken from her field notebook.

Hockey moms arrive at the arena in large trucks or vans. No matter what the driving conditions (freezing rain, hail, snow, wet and slippery roads) these road-warriors brave them all to get their broods to the battleground.

Then they wait.

They wait for the practice or the game to begin. They might watch another game (hockey dads will always do that), but more likely the moms will greet the rest of the flock, slip away with a book or get a head start on their macramé plant holders.

They might also use the opportunity to graze. The diet consists of Rink Food, a separate category in the Canada Food Guide. It includes Spam, beef jerky, cheese glop from a pump bottle, and stale buns. (The cheese itself has numerous applications, and can easily be used for last-minute equipment repairs). The risk of scurvy during the winter months is high, given the absence of fresh food.
Hockey moms always carry hockey tape, Fabreeze, and a bag of Green Giant frozen peas. You never know what can happen in an arena.

Hockey moms flock together, travel in packs, and have been known to bare their teeth at the opposition. They form in an instinctive V-pattern, with the leader alternating from time-to-time (see Canada Goose).

The priority of a hockey mom is her hockey player. How is the player feeling? What's in his/her stomach? Is s/he feeling strong and healthy? Is s/he well fed? During the game she may even consider feeding her charge by dropping food into the penalty box. She weans him or her straight onto Gatorade.

A hockey mom is never far from her noisemakers. These can include homemade horns, kazoos and bean-filled Javex bottles. While the game is on she hears nothing. Siblings of the players are free to run wild. At this time hockey players tend to disown their hockey moms.

Hockey moms adapt to their environment, and often take on an extra layer of blubber during the winter (see also Sperm Whale and Polar Bear). Other physical adaptations of the hockey mom include:

  • An ability to endure hard seating in cold arenas
  • A longer neck to be able to see into corners
  • Expanded peripheral vision to catch offsides
  • Adjustable hearing able to convert fan and Zamboni noise into music.
  • Expanded vocal chords (and vocabulary) for dealing with questionable refereeing.
  • Note: hockey moms may lose their sense of smell over time due to Freon pollution.
  • A hockey mom's eyesight is six times sharper than the average mom's. She can spot offsides and blue line shots from great distances. Sometimes hockey moms even paint a black stripe beneath their eyes to cut down on glare from the ice.
  • Hockey moms have a photographic memory. They can take a mental picture of action at any given moment, and do not need playback to guide the coaches and referees.
  • Hockey moms have superior bladder control. Nothing could tear a hockey mom away from the stands while a game is on. They visit the WC only between games. Of course, it's not as bad as it may seem. Urine spray may be used to designate territory.
  • It's hard to spot a hockey mom in her own arena due to her superior camouflage. She blends into her surroundings, especially if she is wearing team gear.
  • Sadly, the hockey mom begins to take on a posture that resembles an equipment bag. The sheer weight of the layers of clothing she wears tends to drag her down. Thus, you can spot a hockey mom from a distance by her gait.
  • After a certain length of time hockey moms develop freeze-dried hair. This is a temporary effect, but no salon treatments can offset it until the season is over.
  • The complexion of a hockey mom soon takes on an arena-gray pallor. The all-Canadian answer to this is Bag Balm. It's made in Quebec, has antiseptic properties, and works for Shania Twain.
  • For early morning practices, a hockey mom may not dress. They just get up; put their coats on over their pyjamas, and go.
A hockey mom would never consider going south for the winter. They holiday in arenas everywhere, even if they live in the South.

Mating rituals
A hockey mom is bigger than her mate, if not in physical size then in persona. Hockey moms spend the winter apart from their mates. Hockey dads are very unpredictable. Often they lurk behind the net or the bench, or sit in another area of the arena.

When the hockey season ends hockey moms shed their winter skins, and the mating season begins again.

Each spring hockey moms nest on cottage docks, or the ledges of tall buildings, because they miss hockey season so much. Of course, summer hockey programs enable them to get their Freon Fix-a habit that is contributing to their endangerment.

Miscellaneous observations
Upon observation, a hockey mom displays odd behaviors such as:
  • Imprinting their offspring with aggressive tendencies, animal-like behavior, etc.
  • Shoulder equipment bags weighing 250 kilos or more.
  • A hockey mom instinctively knows if an offspring is injured. If she spots one she moves like a cheetah and flies over the Plexiglas at 80 miles and hour. Pity the person that gets in her way.
  • A hockey mom is never far from her bible - her Arena location guidebook.
Game over
When the game is over, it's either a funeral march to the truck to go home, or a self-congratulatory victory celebration. The difference in this body language alone deserves a funded psychological study.

Game over also brings on debriefing. This extended period can last even longer than the game itself, and gives rise to extended post-mortems, and perhaps even post-game autopsies.

The Dream
Deep down, under all the layers of clothing, lies the dream. Following a successful draft Little Biff comes to the microphone and says, with tears in his voice, "I wanna thank my mom and dad for taking me to all those early morning practices…"