Illustrated Children’s Hockey Book Is A Winner For Kids

Illustrated Children’s Hockey Book Is A Winner For Kids

children's hockey book

I recently had the opportunity read and review an adorable children’s hockey book: I’m Going To Be A Hockey Star written by A.L. Wegwerth and illustrated by Alana McCarthy. As soon as I started reading. I knew this delightful book was pure magic for young hockey fans. Vivid pictures and lively text capture the adventures of a boy attending his first youth hockey practice.

It’s a wonderful book for parents to read aloud to their little hockey players. Kids already on a team will relate to the authentic illustrations and text, and those nervous about their first day will learn what to expect so they can ease their jitters. Positive messages are sprinkled throughout the story such as “They’ll tell us that it’s OK to fall, and all that matters is that we get back up.”

This story is a winner, and I’m happy to feature an interview with the author, A.L. Wegwerth, who hails from Minnesota, the State of Hockey, and is what you might consider a pioneer in women’s hockey. She played high school and college hockey before an injury forced her to hang up her skates for a few years.

These days, you can find her on the ice either coaching youth hockey or playing a game of shinny in the backyard with her three kids. She is the author of four other books, including Hockey Talk: Sauce, Spinorama, and More Ice-Time Lingo, a book for die-hard hockey fans.

Tell me about your background in hockey. How did you get interested in the sport and how many years did you play?

Honestly, it was Mighty Ducks that got me and my twin sister interested in playing hockey. We started playing at an age that would be considered very late in today’s terms—fifteen years old. But it was when girls’ hockey was just starting to grow in Minnesota so it wasn’t unusual for the time. I played PeeWee hockey then on the high school team before playing four years of Division III hockey.

hockey kids books

What type of injury did you get and how long did it keep you off the ice?

I tore my labrum in my right shoulder—the first time I did it I was playing water volleyball. At this point, I was in my twenties and playing in a local women’s league. But I began to more frequently dislocate it playing hockey or even just moving my arm too fast. The first doctor I saw misdiagnosed my condition, so I thought I was just being a wimp. I would literally dislocate my shoulder during a hockey game then put it back in and go back out there to finish the game. Finally, I knew something wasn’t right so I found a different doctor and learned that I had, in fact, been dislocating it all along. I had my first surgery in 2009, and with a yearlong recovery, decided to hang up my skates for a while. Also playing into this decision was that my husband and I were looking to start a family. I ended up reinjuring my shoulder while on maternity leave with my second child, but held off on surgery until my third (and last) child was two years old. I knew how much time and effort went into coming back from a surgery like that, and that there was no way I’d be able to do it with an infant.

I only recently started playing again—I sub on the women’s team I used to play for. With three kids in hockey and two parents coaching, it’s too much to commit to playing full-time. But I imagine there will be a day when I’ll be back at it more regularly. For now, kids’ hockey practices and skating on our backyard rink will have to suffice.

What age do you coach and what do you like about coaching kids?

Right now I’m co-head coaching my oldest daughter’s 10U team and helping on my youngest daughter’s 8U team. One of the things I loved most about playing hockey was the friendships I made with my teammates and the life lessons I learned by playing. I love that I have the opportunity to be a part of this for my team(s).

As the only female on the coaching staff, the girls have told me I’m their favorite coach. It’s a lot of work to commit to coaching a team (I also work full time), but the main reason I do it is for the girls to see a woman in a position of power. I had very few female coaches growing up, and I want these girls to see the possibilities. Because if you can see it, you can be it.

hockey children's book

How did this picture book come about?

A former coworker started his own publishing company and approached me about a book he wanted for beginning hockey players to help alleviate the fears of a first hockey practice. I definitely saw a need for a book like that, but I also didn’t want the book to be dull or didactic. So I pitched him three and a half ideas of the direction the book might go. I say a half idea, because just before I was going to hit send, I had the start of an idea. (We had worked together in children’s publishing long enough that I knew he would know where I was going with it.) He responded to me really quickly saying he liked that half idea—a hockey player arrives at his first hockey practice and starts to imagine his life as a hockey star—and the rest is history.

What was your “goal” for the book? What do you hope children will get from reading it?

I love books with imagination, humor, and playfulness. For new hockey players, I hope this book gets them excited to play. And for all kids, I hope it inspires them to dream big—whatever their dream may be.

What advice would you give to young kids going to their first hockey practice? Do you find that most kids are nervous at first?

Have fun! The ice is going to be slippery and you’re probably going to fall. All that matters is that you get back up.

What advice do you have for parents whose kids are starting out with hockey?

Hockey is a big commitment for both the parents and the players. I’d make sure their player is having fun—focusing on their effort and how you enjoy watching them play and improve. I also like to focus on how good a teammate the player is. Do they pass? Do they cheer for their teammates?

And as a parent, I would encourage you to make friends with other parents. It makes the season and time commitment more enjoyable. I love our hockey family!

Do you think a lot of children have big dreams of playing professional hockey?

I think there is a segment of players that have a pipe dream of going pro, but probably like to imagine the possibilities of what might happen—scoring a game-winning goal, team winning the state tournament, etc. I love the freedom and possibility that comes with dreaming big, and that’s what I wanted to come through in this book.

The illustrations were adorable! What was it like seeing your story illustrated? Were there any surprises?

I was really lucky that I got to work with illustrator Alana McCarthy along the way. We had a conversation before she started, and I sent her some reference photos of my kids in their equipment. Despite being from Canada, she does not have a hockey background. So I helped review sketches to ensure things such as hand placement on stick and skating form were correct. Still, when I saw the final art I was blown away. The book has such personality and her color work is gorgeous.

One thing I was surprised to see was the mom featured in the background of many scenes. After I finished reading it to my then ten-year-old son, I very seriously asked, “Do you know who the real star of this book is?” He looked confused and said he did not. “It was the mom,” I said, “who took him to every practice and supported him every step of the way.” He just rolled his eyes and walked away. My humor is definitely underappreciated in my family.

Tell me about your other hockey books and who the audience is for those.

I have one book out right now titled, Hockey Talk: Sauce, Spinorama, and More Ice-Time Lingo that’s aimed at kids in grades 3-5.

Anything else you would like to add?

This book features a little boy with big hockey dreams. The decision to make the main character a boy was made after a conversation with my publisher. Yet the book features a diverse range of players—including female players and a female coach.

More About The Book

The very first hockey practice can be a little scary, but not if you are planning to be the world’s greatest hockey superstar! Follow the action and relish the dreams of a confident young boy as he begins his journey to hockey stardom. See what happens at a hockey practice, learn about the excitement and fun of the game, and experience the lovable chaos of the ice arena. With humor and a little bit of attitude, A.L. Wegwerth has written a great introduction to the sport, while Alana McCarthy’s vivid style brings the game to life for future hockey stars.

Aimed at kids ages 3-7, the story was published by River Horse Books.

Buy it on Amazon.


The Cup Coming Of Age Tale – A New Book For Hockey Fans

The Cup Coming Of Age Tale – A New Book For Hockey Fans

book for hockey fans

I wanted to share a new coming of age tale that fans of Face-Off and Offsides might enjoy.

A blizzard, a game, and a magical night!

In his new release The Cup, D.P. Hardwick takes us on a journey through the ups and downs of a game and childhood experiences. Follow the bizarre antics of a road hockey game in frigid Canada in the early 1970s when sports were still in the hands of the kids. Meet each lovable character as they navigate their lives and play in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals…under a street light in front of their homes.

The Cup is a touching, nostalgic story of friendship, teamwork and unlikely heroes. As D.P. learned from his father and first coach, it’s not really about a game, it’s about life. D.P. says that he wanted to write for years, but he couldn’t finish the book until his ideas became an obsession, with stories pestering him. With The Cup, he tapped into his childhood experiences and tied it to an actual road hockey game that he and his neighborhood friends participated in on New Years Eve. He explains that the book is far more autobiographical then it is a novel.

“The book ties the game, the characters, connections with friends and family, music, and crazy adventures into a story that is really about inclusion and what friendship could really mean to individuals on the margin of society. Indeed, emotional connections just add to the entertaining events and lessons described in the story,”  he said.

What Reviewers Are Saying

“Author D.P. Hardwick alternates his recount of this game with his memories of the different players on the two teams. Through these memories, he touches on topics like bullying, the connection you can have with a beloved pet, the supernatural, etc. D.P. Hardwick also shares the valuable lessons he learned from his childhood, like loyalty, teamwork, respect for others, and the value of friendship. D.P. Hardwick made me long for my childhood and its simple pleasures through the memories he shares…readers will enjoy the links to the music shared through the narrative.” – Susan van der Walt, Reader’s Favorite.

“…a great adventure that is a hilarious, and often deeply touching, story down the memory lane of author D.P. Hardwick’s childhood…throughout the book, filled with vividly described scenes of the frigid Manitoba winters, there are many excellent stories that will both entertain, and make readers feel a bit nostalgic over their own childhood…Readers will also easily find themselves falling in love with all of the characters, and will root for their favorites…as they quickly devour all the author’s tales, and sometimes even a few life lessons, sprinkled throughout the story. What makes The Cup unique, and thus more enjoyable than the myriad of novels that inundate bookshelves everywhere, is the author’s well-thought-out inclusion of an extensive online playlist of songs that readers have the option to listen to during suggested times throughout the book…that made the story a lot more dynamic, realistic and just plain fun to read…For a fun-filled jaunt through the memories of D.P Hardwick’s childhood, The Cup is sure to entertain readers of all ages.” – Lynette Latzko, Feathered Quill.

The book was published by Atmosphere Press.

Buy it on Amazon.

Follow along with the playlist and listen to the songs as they appear in the book:

About the Author

Daniel Peter Hardwick holds a master’s degree in Sport Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine from San Diego State University. He coached football for 21 years and is the Director of Athletics at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, IL. He is currently working on his next project: The Fisherman.


10 Books That Make Great Gifts For Hockey Moms

10 Books That Make Great Gifts For Hockey Moms

Hockey Rivals Books

Score A Goal For Reading
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10 Books That Make Great Gifts For Hockey Moms

If you never know what to buy your favorite hockey mom, here are some literary ideas below. These 10 books make great gifts for hockey moms. They offer humor, art, knowledge of the game, emotional support, organizational tips, nutrition advice, and more. Click the title to purchase these books on Amazon.
Hockey Moms book

Hockey Moms Aren’t Crazy by Jody M. Anderson (Author) and Scott Rolfs (Illustrator) – Hockey Moms… if we can’t laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at? (Besides Soccer Moms!) This funny book pays tribute to Hockey Moms everywhere with hilarious illustrations, jokes and stories – including short funny stories from Hockey Moms and hockey greats, like Mike Eruzione! Finally, a hockey book that gives us the credit we deserve! (Well, okay, our kids deserve a little credit, too.

hockey mom resources

Hockey Moms Aren’t Crazy: The Coloring Book by Jody M. Anderson (Author) and Scott Rolfs (Illustrator) – Hockey Moms ARE Crazy… About Coloring! Hockey Moms… We love our kids. We love hockey. We love to laugh. But when it comes time to relax, to reduce stress, and to enjoy some quiet time, we find peace in coloring. Of course, not just any coloring book will do. Even our creative time needs to be about hockey!

By popular demand, this coloring book collects 21 of your favorite cartoon gags from Jody M. Anderson’s Hockey Moms Aren’t Crazy! Plus, you’ll find four new illustrations from artist Scott Rolfs that you’ve never seen before. Every illustration is on a one-sided page, so you can force your children to hang your artistic creations in their lockers.

Inside You’ll Find

  • 25 illustrations to color
  • hilarious captions
  • one-sided pages

books for hockey moms

The Rookie Hockey Mom: How to Play the Game’s Toughest Position by Melissa Walsh – There are over a million hockey moms in the United States and Canada, many of whom have jumped in without full awareness of how much time the sport requires, how much it costs, and how it is played. Here, in a book for that intrepid bunch, veteran hockey mom of four Melissa Walsh, who also coaches and plays recreational hockey, takes mothers by the glove through every aspect of the youth hockey journey.

Moms who think icing is for cakes and boards are for college will be saved embarrassing moments around the rink as Walsh educates them on the history, rules, etiquette, lingo, and officiating signals of a sport that is new to many parents. Chapters also cover purchasing and caring for equipment, tips on safety, development levels and guidelines, and advice for cooperating with coaches and other hockey parents. There’s great insight into connecting with youth hockey players, managing a team, choosing a league, and fueling young skaters with good nutrition. Salted with quotes from hockey players and moms who’ve been there and loaded with the wisdom that only a real hockey mom can offer, The Rookie Hockey Mom is a must for hockey-crazy families and the women who drive them everywhere. Updated for USA Hockey’s 2011-12 game rules for “progressive checking skill development.”

books for hockey parents

Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom by Angie Abdou – The author of the Canada Reads–nominated The Bone Cage tackles the ups and downs of amateur hockey, from a mother’s point of view. Over 570,000 people are registered in Hockey Canada and over 600,000 in Hockey USA. It’s a national obsession. But what does that really mean when your child wants to play on a team? As a former varsity athlete and university instructor teaching sport literature, novelist Angie Abdou is no stranger to sport obsession, but she finds herself conflicted when faced with the reality of the struggles, joys, and strains of having a child in amateur hockey. In Home Ice, with equal parts humour and anguish, Abdou charts a full season of life as an Atom-level hockey mom, from summer hockey camp to the end-of-season tournament. Her revealing stories and careful research on issues such as cost, gender bias, concussion, and family pressures offer a compellingly honest and complex insider’s view of parenting today’s young athlete in a competitive and high-pressure culture.

hockey mom gifts

Hockey Moms: Realities from the Rink: Introducing 20 Women You Already Know by Julie Bertuzzi (Author), Anthony Jenkins (Illustrator) – Julie Bertuzzi, the wife of NHL player Todd Bertuzzi and Hockey Mom extraordinaire, presents us with twenty hilarious portraits of the Hockey Moms we know and love. The perfect gift book for all seasons.

Straight-shooting, observant, and uproarious, Julie Bertuzzi’s Hockey Moms is an irreverent look at the many kinds of moms you are sure to find in the ice rinks, on the road, and in the hotel bars at tournaments across this hockey-loving continent. While always applauding the dedication of moms who support their players — at early morning practices and on long drives to and from tournaments, in the triumph of a big win and the heartache of a big loss — Bertuzzi pokes fun at herself and her fellow Hockey Moms, and brings alive the many characters she has observed during her years of experience as a Hockey Mom herself. Whether it’s Big Mouth Betty shrieking from the stands, the Drama Queen stirring up trouble in the bar after a tournament game, Team Manager Mom with her clipboard and team jacket, the Yodeler, or the Leaner, readers will recognize and delight in these familiar profiles. This is a quick, funny read and a must-have book for Hockey Moms, and those who love them, everywhere.

gifts for hockey moms

Lessons from Behind the Glass: The Journey of a Hockey Mom by Allyson Tufts – Whether you are about to lace up your child’s skates for the first time, or you have a young teen who is coming to the end of his or her Minor Hockey career, Lessons from Behind the Glass is the perfect companion to help you through your most crazy moments in the stands. From politics to perspective to passion, this book will help guide you to a balanced and less stressful life in the arena…and keep you laughing along the way!

hockey parent books

My Kids Play Hockey: Essential Advice for Every Hockey Parent by  Christie Casciano Burns – For the past several years veteran hockey mom Christie Casciano’s monthly Hockey Mom columns have been required reading for the half million readers of USA Hockey Magazine. Drawing on her twenty years in the youth hockey trenches, she brings a wit and wisdom that comes with spending countless hours in the rink. Mixing in a little cutting humor and some good old-fashioned motherly advice, her articles speak to and for grizzled veterans and newcomers to the sport alike.

My Kids Play Hockey is a compilation of Christie’s work. Some of her topics include:

  • Back to School, Back to Hockey: Getting Ready for a Fresh Season
  • How to Act Like an Adult at a Youth Hockey Game
  • Organizing Your Hockey Household
  • Valuable Lessons Learned during a Losing Season
  • Striking a Balance between being Coach and a Parent

hockey family resources

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey: 101 Stories about the Players Who Love the Game and the Families that Cheer Them On by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Laura Robinson –  You’ll love these inside looks at your favorite NHL players and personalities, the biggest games in hockey history, and all the everyday joys of your favorite sport! Meet the real Mark Messier—coaching kids in his hometown. Travel through the years with famous hockey sportscaster Brian McFarlane. Read about the kindness of Bobby Orr and a personal look at Mario Lemieux.

And in addition to all the stories by and about NHLers, you’ll read stories by fans and everyday players about big games and big plays; backyard rinks, pond hockey, and shinny games; growing up loving the game; and growing to love the game! You’ll also find inspiring stories by NHLers and Olympians about dedication, dreams, and drive, including:

  • Former NHL player Georges Laraque, “the gentle tough guy,” on how he persevered against racism to play the game he loves
  • Olympian Cassie Campbell-Pascall on how losing the gold medal at the first ever women’s hockey Olympic game made her and the team better, winning gold the next time
  • NHL player Vinny Prospal on how believing in himself and working hard pushed him through the minors into the pros, making his former GM “eat his shoes”
  • Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser on challenging herself by playing on a Finnish male team and inspiring another young female hockey player to be a star
  • NHL player Matt Duchene on his parents’ support and the sacrifices that helped him reach the NHL
  • Former NHL player Ryan Walter on the lifelong lessons he learned during his rookie season

hockey mom tips

The Hockey Mom’s Manual: What SportsMom Thinks You’d Like to Know by Laurel Phillips and Barbara Stahl – So, you thought that youth hockey would only impact your child’s life. Yep, we thought that too. Help is here! The Hockey Mom’s Manual spells out what you need to know about your child’s sports experience, including:
* the time, money, and equipment it takes
* which rules may trigger controversy
* the care and feeding of young athletes
* the behavior that’s expected (yours), and
* what’s ahead as your child gets older

Written for moms by moms, this handy how-to is a “heads-up” that can make your child’s hockey experience a better one for your athlete, your family, and you.

sports moms

Fueling Young Athletes by Heather Mangieri – Young athletes are always on the go. School, family, and sports eat up a lot of time. For parents and coaches, it can be a challenge to make sure kids are eating healthfully enough to perform at their best on and off the field. Fueling Young Athletes provides the help you need.

In this practical guide, Heather Mangieri—a sport dietitian and mother of three active kids—breaks down the nutrition needs of young athletes and explains what the latest research suggests. You’ll analyze current eating habits and preferences and how and where these can be improved. You’ll learn how healthier meals and snacks can equate to improved performance while still being convenient and appetizing.

Fueling Young Athletes addresses the issues that families and athletes most often face, such as late-night practices, inconvenient school lunchtimes, demanding tournament schedules and travel leagues, and lack of sleep. Best of all, you’ll find a collection of easy recipes for smoothies and sport drinks, all with common ingredients and nutrition information.


I hope you agree that these books will make terrific gifts for hockey moms. Do you have a book to add to the list? Have you read any of these? Share your thoughts in the comments.

14 Hockey Movies The Whole Family Will Enjoy

14 Hockey Movies The Whole Family Will Enjoy

best hockey movies

Are you and your family hockey enthusiasts? This list offers a variety of family-friendly hockey movies. From chimps, to fairies, to figure skating, there’s much hockey to be enjoyed. Which of these hockey movies will you be watching tonight?

ice hockey movies

BreakawayRated PG-13. An ethnic Canadian hockey player with disapproving parents and a dead end job, Rajveer has dreams of making it to the NHL. Enlisting the help of a former pro player, he will try to do the unthinkable and win the biggest tournament of the year with an all Indian team. Breakaway is a crowd-pleasing hockey movie guaranteed to score with the whole family. Featuring heart-warming performances by film and TV all-star Rob Lowe and famed comedian Russell Peters.

hockey movies for kids

Go FigureRated G. A teenager dreams of becoming a champion ice-skater, and soon discovers a top Russian instructor is working at a nearby private school.

miracle hockey movie

In the Crease Rated G. Action-packed and inspiring, this feature-length documentary film follows the real-life story of a teenage hockey team’s quest to win a national championship and also stars over a dozen NHL players sharing their own hockey triumphs.

family hockey movies

Miracle – Rated PG. The ultimate hockey movie, this inspiring true story is about Herb Brooks, the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Soviet squad. Starring Kurt Russell. 

best hockey movies

Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe StoryRated PG. The story of the 1973 hockey season when aging legend Gordie Howe came out of retirement and returned to the ice at age 44 to play with his sons Marty and Mark. He was written off by many, who thought he was too old to play competitively. Known as Mr. Hockey, Howe led the Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cups and is the only player to have competed in the league in five different decades.

comedy hockey movies

MVP: Most Valuable PrimateRated PG. When Jack, a sign-language-speaking chimp, escapes from an experimental lab, his talent for ice skating soon turns him into the local hockey team’s secret weapon. Steven and his teammates realize the chimp has a natural talent for the game and he officially joins the team. As the team wins game after game, Jack becomes a minor celebrity, attracting the attention of a mad scientist.

good hockey movies

Pond HockeyRated G. Documentary. For generations, Northlanders have grown up on outdoor ice, where the ice is gritty and so is the play. But, there are new climate-controlled arenas in every town, and that’s where the kids go to practice year-round now. Pond Hockey examines this changing culture in search of the true meaning of sport.

great hockey movies

Slap Shot 3: The Junior League Rated PG. The Hanson Brothers are back in this rough and tumble hockey comedy, and who better to whip a ragtag youth team into shape for the upcoming championships than the most unpredictable trio ever to strap on skates? Also stars comedy legend Leslie Nielsen.

kids hockey movies

The Mighty DucksRated PG. In the first film of this hockey movie franchise, Emilio Estevez stars as a self-centered Minnesota trial lawyer sentenced to community service coaching a hapless team of peewee hockey players. Can he turn the ragtag team into champs? Also look for the sequels: D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3:The Mighty Ducks.

hockey films

Score: A Hockey Musical – A homeschooled hockey prodigy takes his shot at the big time in this sports musical featuring songs by Olivia Newton-John.

kids sports movies

The Rocket – The Legend of Rocket Richard – Rated PG. A story about Quebec’s most famous hockey player, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, focusing on the struggles of a French Canadian in the National Hockey League dominated by Anglophones.

hockey movies for children

Tooth FairyRated PG. A bad deed on the part of a tough minor-league hockey player results in an unusual sentence: He must serve one week as a real-life tooth fairy. Starring Dwayne Johnson.

How many of these hockey movies have you enjoyed watching? Tell us which is your favorite hockey movie, even if it is not listed above.


Why Hockey Is One Of The Best Sports For Kids (Hockey Dads Part 2)

Why Hockey Is One Of The Best Sports For Kids (Hockey Dads Part 2)

Hockey Rivals Books

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Why Hockey Is One Of The Best Sports For Kids (Hockey Dads Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of my interview with hockey dads Zach Lamppa and former NHLer Tom Chorske, who will explain why hockey is one of the best sports for kids of all ages. They’ll also give tips for hockey families new to the game as well as seasoned parents whose children are exploring college scholarships. Be sure to check out Part 1 of the interview, where the guys share how they broke the Guinness World Record last fall for longest hockey pass.

Here’s why Zach and Tom are great resources. Zach, who has four children ranging from ages 3-to-14, played at Hibbing Community College in Minnesota. He has had a lifelong love of hockey and now bonds with his kids over the game. Zach researched how to go about breaking a Guinness record and coordinated all the steps along the way. On his first official attempt, Zach shattered the old record of 894 feet with a pass that traveled 904 feet and three inches. 

Picked by the Canadiens in the first round of the 1985 draft, Tom began his pro career in Montreal and played nearly 600 games for seven teams over the course of 11 seasons. As a high school senior in 1985, he became Minnesota’s first Mr. Hockey Award winner.  He went on to win the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils a decade later. Today he is a sales and business executive and a hockey broadcast analyst covering the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Gophers for Fox Sports North. Tom has three children, and his two oldest children played on high school state championships teams. His daughter has a commitment to Harvard and his older son plans to play junior and pursue a scholarship. 

youth hockey Zach, who skates with the Minnesota Warriors, won the shooting skills competition in 2018.

Why Ice Hockey Is One Of The Best Sports For Kids


1. Hockey And Skating Encourage Family Togetherness.

Despite their age difference, the Lamppa kids enjoy skating together. Zach loves playing hockey games with them on and off the ice. “It’s great to see them play together and have something they can all do together,” says Zach. “We play a lot of shinny hockey—knee hockey with mini sticks, a net, and a soft ball. We play that for hours. We play on both inside and outside rinks. It’s fun to watch my eight-year-old and five-year-old, who are relatively new to the game, help my three-year-old who is still pushing the walker around and doubling up on diapers and wearing snow pants for padding in case she falls.”

 2. Hockey Teaches Patience, Discipline, And Respect For Others.

Tom has observed a difference in attention span between girls and boys at the younger levels. He notes that hockey is a good way for boys to develop their focus and listening skills. “At the youth levels, girls want to listen to the coach and learn how to come together and win games,” he says. “The boys just want to jump past all that to play the game and compete against each other.”

Zach adds, “You have to respect the game and your teammates. I definitely see my kids being able to get along with others and learning discipline. Every Monday and Wednesday at 5:30, we have to get ready to go to the rink. They know to make sure you get to sleep Friday night so you can get up Saturday. I’m starting to see my kids shaking the referee’s hand after the game and saying thank you, even at the mite level. I want to see them treat people with respect and thanks. It’s a fun game and you get as much out of it as you put into it.”

3. Playing On A Hockey Team Promotes Lifelong Friendships.

Tom started at age six on the very lake where they set the world record. Today he plays in NHL alumni events and joins groups of friends that have standing ice time. “I was really a product of my environment,” he says. “My parents barely ever went on the ice with me. They’d bring me down to go skating. I didn’t have any brothers, so I found a lot of my friends down at the rink.”

Zach has been playing hockey since he was was seven. Now he plays in a Sunday night pick-up game and skates as often as he can. “A high percentage of the people I continue to talk to or have relationships with are through the game whether it’s a professional, someone I played on a team with, or someone I’ve played pickup with,”  Zach explains.  “I look forward to skating with my buddies. When you’re on the rink, it’s like a brotherhood, a chance to cut loose and forget about life for an hour.”

Zach notes that he and Tom met in 2002 through a mutual friend. Their ten-year-age difference and the fact that only one of them played in the NHL didn’t matter. “I played Division 3 at a small school and Tom won a Stanley Cup,” Zach says. “It’s a testament to the game. You don’t have to both be Mr. Hockey to have a relationship.”


 Zach’s Tips for Hockey Families


1. Don’t Get Caught Up In The Hype Or Drama.

“There’s a lot of people who get caught up in whether their kid is on the A team, B team, or C team. Embrace it and let the cards fall where they may. Typically hockey people are good people. If you can embrace that and weather the storms and whatever comes, you can be a proud parent.”

2. Buy Used Equipment From Your Social Networks Or Online.

“Used equipment is a huge market right now. Talk to the other hockey parents, ask does anyone have a size three or five? Maybe you can trade. I recommend a wood stick when starting out. It’s less expensive and it’s heavier. It’s better for development to have a heavier stick in your hand. Wooden sticks are cheaper and hard to find these days. The days of the wood stick are gone, but it’s a good nugget to think about for young kids for the first few years. Make them earn getting a carbon stick. Those sticks are just off the charts, $250-$300.”

 sports for kids

3. Eat A Healthy Diet.

“You can’t outwork a bad diet even if you’re five-or-six-years old. Give them the right balance of protein, carbs, and fat. My wife is a nutritionist and we give our kids protein shakes and ISAGENIX bars on the fly instead of stopping at McDonalds, or if we’re doubling up on practices, in between we’ll have veggies and bread with peanut butter. Those habits carry you through your career. A lot of the top players started practicing healthy nutrition at a young age. Ask questions if you’re not sure about nutrition or anything else. There’s never a stupid question. Talk to the coaches and ask what the best meal is before a game.”

4. Stress The Importance Of Respect.

“Make sure your kids respect their coaches, refs, and teammates. When one kids makes the A team, you never want to rub it in to your buddy who is on B or C.  Failures are okay. You’re going to have setbacks. A lot of employers are looking for people who have failed or been cut as they know what it’s like to work harder than the rest. A rink is only 200 by 85 feet, but you can take those life lessons and bring them outside the rink.”


youth hockey


Stanley Cup Champion Tom Chorske’s Tips For Hockey Families


1. Keep The Game Fun.

“You want to make sure it’s fun. Is the player excited to go to the rink when they’re 6-10? That will keep their interest level high.  As it gets more competitive, your kids may not stay at the top level, but as a parent you want kids to play sports as long as they can. Making the lower team is rarely a tragedy. It usually works out just fine. It’s good for kids to learn adversity and even to understand the politic of an athletic scenario. At some point, you have to realize how fast they’re growing up and decide you want to enjoy watching them play.”

2. Don’t Invest A Lot Of Money In The Early Years.

“Early on, I wouldn’t invest a lot of money. Keep them playing other sports, and then as they become teenagers, if they’re still really passionate about hockey and showing some promise and could play on a top team, then maybe you want to invest in some special skills coaches. If they’re showing tons of interest, passion, and promise and you have the money, then it’s the time to make the investment and see what comes of it. I’d say that for any sport.”

3. For Older Serious Players, Balance Extra Training With Downtime.

“If you’ve got a 16-or-17-year-old who is serious about playing in college, then it’s a bit more of a requirement to keep up with that group of prospects by doing training off the ice and working on skating skills, puck handling skills, shooting, and decision-making. Then it becomes kind of a full-time, all-in investment. There’s a point of diminishing returns though. I don’t recommend doing something every day as your body needs rest and your brain needs to take a break. It is stressful to keep up with everyone.”

4. Men’s College Hockey Players Typically Play Junior First.

“Most boys who want to get a college commitment will need to play in one of the main junior leagues like the USHL or North American Hockey League and use it as a gap year. Then they will play 60-70 games at a higher level. That’s what nearly all the college players who came before them did. It’s a different game now than when I was playing, more skilled and faster. Back when I played, if you had a commitment, you went straight into college as a true freshman. It was a big jump for me. That was a rough first year.”

Do You Have Tips To Share?

What fantastic tips! I agree, hockey is a great sport for kids. Zach and Tom listed some insightful benefits and helpful tips to keep in mind. Do you have any advice for hockey families? What benefits has hockey given you? Share your comments below.

Be sure to check out Part 1 of the interview with Zach and Tom and learn more about how they broke a world record and what inspired them to pursue it. You can also watch their video below.

Minnesota Hockey Dads Break Guinness World Record For Longest Pass (Part 1)

Minnesota Hockey Dads Break Guinness World Record For Longest Pass (Part 1)

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Minnesota Hockey Dads Break Guinness World Record For Longest Pass (Part 1)

When I heard this cool story about two hockey dads, I just had to interview them for my blog. Last November, Zach Lamppa and former NHLer Tom Chorske broke the Guinness World Record for longest hockey pass. The record pass took place on Nov. 20, 2018 on the pristine early ice of Lake of the Isle in Minneapolis. A YouTube video of the record breaking pass from these two hockey dads has garnered attention from across the hockey world, including an interview on the NHL Network. You can read more about the record below, and be sure to check out Part 2 of this interview as it contains great tips for hockey families.


hockey record


Sharing A Love of Ice Hockey

Zach, who grew up in Virginia, MN, and now resides in Detroit Lakes, MN said that the record was broken to prove that anyone is capable of doing great things. 

“I’ve always wondered how far I could actually pass the puck in perfect conditions,” he said. “We did this to inspire people. You never know what’s possible until you try.”

On his first official attempt, Zach shattered the old record of 894 feet with a pass that traveled 904 feet and three inches. On the receiving end of the record pass was Minnesota hockey legend Tom Chorske, a former Golden Gopher star and Stanley Cup Champion.

“The people at Guinness make the terms,” said Zach. “We had to have regulation equipment, a survey crew, and officials. It’s not just something you can just go out and do, you have to plan. There’s a criteria you must meet.”

These good friends have played at different levels, but share a common love of hockey. They met through a mutual friend in 2002.

Zach, who has four children ranging from ages 3-to-14, played at Hibbing Community College in Minnesota. Picked by the Canadiens in the first round of the 1985 draft, Tom began his pro career in Montreal and played nearly 600 games for seven teams over the course of 11 seasons. He has two sons ages 17 and 12, and a 16-year-old daughter. His older children played on high school state championships teams; his daughter has a commitment to Harvard and his older son plans to play junior and pursue a scholarship. Tom grew up near the Lake of the Isle, skating there as a child, and was intrigued by Zach’s idea of setting a record there.

“A world record seemed kind of cool to us,” notes Tom. “The conditions were right, and Zach put together the crew of people that needed to be there to pull this thing off. The lake froze prior to any snowfall just enough for us to get on it. There wasn’t any snow on top of it or imperfections, so it was kind of smooth as glass.”

hockey players

Family Event In The Works

They hope that this record can inspire others. The two hockey dads are in the early stages of organizing an annual family event in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area which would unite various ages and talent levels. It would feature ice hockey events and possibly others winter sports such as curling and figure skating. Attendees would have the chance to try their hand at setting a Guinness World Record. 

“As a person and a father of four hockey players, hockey has given me so much,”  Zach said. “I am not the greatest player in the world, but this challenge helped me to prove that if I can do it, anyone can do it. We’re hopefully inspiring some kids to go out and break our record, and there are so many other records that can be broken. With the event we’re planning, we hope to inspire kids who didn’t make the A-team, but have a certain skill set that they can come out and showcase, and inspire kids who think they can’t do it or have been told they can’t do it. We’ll see how it grows. Hopefully this will resonate in the hockey community. I’d love to see other communities do something similar.”

Editor’s Note: I’ll keep my blog readers posted when the details become available!

Long before he was breaking Guinness world records, in 1985, as a high school senior Tom became Minnesota’s first Mr. Hockey Award winner.  He went on to win the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 1995. Today he is a sales and business executive and a hockey broadcast analyst covering the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Gophers for Fox Sports North.

“Once we broke the record, we reflected back on what was really driving us,” Tom said. “It really was our friendship. We were having fun scheming it up, and with it being a hockey-related record on a Minnesota lake, there was some coolness to it.”

Now they’re having fun organizing their family event and recruiting sponsors. While they don’t know how long the record will stand, both hockey dads hope it will inspire others.

“We are just two friends who got together to try and do something great,” said Zach. “We hope this accomplishment will show others that good things can happen to anyone.”

YouTube Video And Part 2

Check out the pass in this YouTube video. And don’t miss Part 2 of this interview, which features invaluable advice for hockey families. Coming April 13! How about posting a congratulations to Tom and Zach in the comments below for their inspiring accomplishment?

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