The Abusive Parents of Hockey

July 5, 2016


We manage several pro shops in a few different arenas across the Greater Toronto Area. There’s no doubt that there is much cheering and positive behavior associated with attending the hockey games. However, I notice sometimes that this positive behavior turns into yelling, arguing, and negative derogatory comments directed against members of the other team and officials.


To my dismay I once saw 2 mothers fighting with each other, both of their kids played on the same team. Apparently the coach gave more ice time to one of the players on the team which ultimately led to the altercation. It seems like nowadays mothers understand their social rank based on the position and hierarchy of the game of hockey.


During the weekdays, it’s mostly the mothers that bring the kids to hockey games and practices. My analysis in this particular pro shop was that the mothers had more leisure time which wasn’t indicative to the real working world. The trend is that more women are graduating from university and more women are entering the work force and corporate world at a much faster rate then men.


I concluded that it’s simply a region that mimics The Housewives of Orange County. Most of the wives on the show pretend to work, however we all know that it’s the show that gives them the money. Even when the husbands cheat, the show will throw a few extra bucks their way to stay in the show and look like an idiot.

One can also see some of the kids that are embarrassed by their mother’s behavior that inhibits their performance. There’s nothing wrong with a mother putting pressure on her children to succeed, but when a mother is yelling at coaches and making inappropriate comments to other players, it negatively impacts a child’s overall experience in developing as a hockey player.


Sometimes I see mothers from opposite ends of the rink swearing at each other. With this particular pro shop, it may have had to do with the parents’ excessive investments and the return on these investments. The mothers would get involved no different than their husbands in eliciting a crowd that escalates with verbal abuse.


What I don’t get is the verbal and physical abuse towards players. It may have something to do with our primal instincts. Once the doors of the arena open, we have an opportunity to go back to a primitive state of being where we can express ourselves in ways that we normally are unable to in everyday civilian life, let alone in the corporate world. The inappropriate behavior of parents towards officials has to do with authority and their social rank where hockey is a hierarchy that establishes the family’s goals towards the perception of the child’s rank on the team.

Once parents make the excessive investment and decide to cross the boundaries of coaching, the only solution is to suspend the parents from the game to achieve enforcement. If it’s not tolerated in the corporate world and/or work environment, it should not be tolerated in hockey or any other sport for that matter. If there’s zero tolerance for abusive parents then the game will continue in perpetuity towards developing hockey players that make the nation proud.


If sports are a dog-eat-dog world and an endorsation of big business, then they must also rely on the attitude that all parents are equal when the game is played. We can not allow a few parents to achieve a certain hierarchy in hockey that spoils the true development of the many who want to succeed not only in the game itself, but in the corporate world as a whole.


The GTHL can turn a blind eye because of the old men that believe in autocracy. Unfortunately, the GTHL’s mentality has to do with money, social rank, and the ones that are paying the bills for them to succeed one generation after another. It was the GTHL’s executive branch that decided to leave out the minorities in hockey. Their excuse was blatant and unacceptable as they decided to allow hockey to remain a rich man’s sport that excludes the changing demographics of Canada.


The GTHL did not elicit the federal government and the educational system to provide a multitude of individuals that want to be part of the Canadian dream. They simply accepted the old rules that hockey behaves by the virtues of what the hierarchy established between what parents are willing to pay and the return on their investment. The GTHL moves in terms of pocketing their jobs rather than investing in the future. This is a game that will be followed up with another article.

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