If you’re intimately familiar with the price of composite hockey sticks, the hours at skate sharpening places, and the location of heaters at every single rink, odds are you’re in the ranks of hockey parent. And odds are you’ll get a kick out of a new book by Manotick’s Astra Groskaufmanis.
It’s a humour memoir called Offside by a Mile – Confessions of a Hockey Mom.
Since 2001, Astra has been one of the thousands of area parents who bundle up and traipse to arenas each week to watch their kids play “Canada’s game.” Nearly a decade and a half later? She’s still going strong.
An excerpt from the book:
I have one important piece of advice for the server assigned to my table this weekend for the team dinner in Cornwall: your tip is entirely dependent on how quickly you can get a drink in front of me and food in front of my kid. Aside from that, here are a few other nuggets of wisdom: I strongly advise against delivering straws to the boys’ table before you bring the drinks, unless you want to incite a spitball riot. In fact, forget the straws altogether. Finally, I’m going to propose that cutlery be issued on a ‘need-only’ basis. You will thank me.
An honest and hilarious peek at both boys’ and girls’ hockey, recreational and competitive, Offside by a Mile pays homage to hockey moms all over North America. In print, Astra stickhandles her way through jock-and-jill mishaps, Bingo Lady nightmares, hockey tape handiwork and many other adventures.
“As a hockey mom,” she writes, “I’ve learned how to solve any wardrobe malfunction—and more—with hockey tape. I’ve maximized the fine art of negotiating with a US border official over secretly stowed Canadian beer for that hockey tournament in Rochester, and I’ve managed to escape the clutches of the F-150 cult.”
After reading this book, you won’t be any wiser about referee signals or offside calls, but you’ll appreciate the hindsight hilarity of many classic hockey parent experiences, from team fundraising, canteen cuisine and “hockey style” to mothering hockey goalies and reconciling family ostracization.