ND Amateur Hockey has a tough message for parents

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I am about to enter my final year of being a hockey parent. I’ve been there from the start, the mini mites, mites, squirts, peewees, roosters, until my son begins his final year of hockey for the Bismarck High Demons. Hell, I made my son skate when he was two. I was that father who watered the backyard rink in weather 20 below. I also coached North Dakota youth hockey for several years and when it comes to parent behavior in hockey games, I’ve seen it all.

The North Dakota Amateur Hockey Association (NDAHA) recently sent a rather harsh message to hockey parents, players and coaches. We have a shortage of umpires nationwide, including here in North Dakota, and “You are a big part of the problem.” Many refs have chosen not to return due to the abuse they endure from fans, players and coaches for split second decisions.

The letter to parents on North Dakota Amateur Hockey Website went on to say that they took a quick trip to social media to find many disturbing incidents of hockey parents recently. Like a young referee who gives up halfway through harassment. A referee needing a police escort after an 8U youth match. A parent coming on the ice to attack a referee during a game. A parent entering the scoring area to reprimand another player for a penalty against their child.

Yes, I’ve seen some pretty sad things over the years watching youth hockey. All sports have these kinds of parents, but hockey really seems to bring out the worst in some people. Why is that? All the money in the game? Parents who think Brad Berry from the University of North Dakota is about to take their child to college? I’m not sure, but parents need to back off. No matter how many “pay-to-play” AAA All-Star teams your child may play in, it’s still very, very unlikely that they’ll play beyond high school. In towns like Grand Forks, your kid isn’t even guaranteed to make the high school team. Heck, even Mr. Hockey North Dakota for 2020-21 Chase Spicer of Grand Forks Central didn’t continue playing hockey after high school.

Relax and enjoy the moments you watch your child in every hockey game you attend because trust me they are going way too fast.

This video tells all hockey parents. Wake up and watch it.


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