Smell of Victory
in the kitchen and on the road
The smell alone is apt to send hockey families running. Huh? You’d be forgiven for imagining the nose pinching and scattering when a player opens an equipment bag.
Not this time. Thanks to Erin Phillips and Korey Kealey, “the hockey smell” is about to take on new and delectable meaning. It’ll send players and their chauffeurs in the direction of the kitchen or the slow cooker in a hotel room. And it’ll announce yummy, healthy food to fuel the athletes and their busy families. These two high-profile Ottawa hockey moms and nutrition experts are set to release The Ultimate Cookbook for Hockey Families. Now that’s a win. (Especially since you can order a copy now!)
Certainly, the timing is ideal since the season is about to swing into gear and parents will be rushing around, often daily, trying to feed the kids well and get them to the (right) rink with sharpened skates and all the necessary gear—including two (count them, two) elbow pads. For thousands of local families, especially those with more than one kid in the competitive stream, the demands can be a tad frazzling. A Sunday 4 p.m. game in Rockland? Check. Two-hour Saturday practices at an arena in the countryside outside Carleton Place? Yes. The prospect of 6 a.m. start times in January at a location that’s a half an hour away from home? Hah.
The Phillips and Kealey families have done that and earned the jerseys. Between them, there are nine skaters, including one who happens to be a superstar in the NHL. That’s right. Erin musters up pre-rink meals for herself, three kids plus #4, her hubby, beloved Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips. Lucky for the big guy that he’s married to someone who graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition as a Registered Nutrition Consultant.
True story: When Erin reveals what Chris used to eat prior to one of those NHL matchups with the Canadiens or Bruins or Penguins, the description alone is enough to harden a hockey parent’s arteries: “Steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, Caesar salad and chocolate cake before every game. He’s been playing for 17 years now,” she points out, “and there wasn’t a lot of guidance when he was starting out.” Today, it’s a different menu entirely: “Greens, salmon and quinoa or brown rice. And he feels much better.”
No more pre-game chocolate cake
Just past lunchtime on a weekday afternoon, Big Rig Brewery and Restaurant is hopping, but two pretty ladies are tucked away in a quiet corner. With their glowing skin, glossy hair and bright smiles, Korey and Erin are living proof of the benefits of healthy eating. They laugh often as they go over the proofs for The Ultimate Cookbook for Hockey Families. Big Rig is a natural meeting spot since not only is Chris Phillips a partner in the popular landmark on Iris Street, the place is named after him. (The nickname Big Rig stems from his time playing junior hockey for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.)
Still, Korey and Erin first met at another busy Ottawa venue. A couple of years ago, they both happened to be at a Greco fitness location at the same time. Erin was working out and Korey was holding a sampling for her newly-launched enerjive ™ line of quinoa Skinny crackers. You’ve probably seen Skinny crackers—there are five different varieties—in your grocery store and you’ve probably seen Korey on your TV screen. Natural kitchen wizard and owner of Kitchen Konnected, she’s regularly on television, stirring up appetizing, wholesome dishes and making it look fun.
At Greco, she invited Erin to sample the new crackers. “I wanted her to try them.” They started talking about food and nutrition and then kids and hockey and they realized they had a whole lot in common. Korey’s kids—Alex, 16, Adam, 15, and Rebecca, 11—all play hockey, with Alex and Rebecca on competitive teams. Korey’s husband, Liam Kealey, is on ice too; last season he was Rebecca’s assistant coach. Erin’s kids—Ben, 11, Zoë, 10, and Niomi, 7—are also always at the rink. Niomi is a figure skater, while Ben and Zoë are competitive hockey players.
Both families are on the go and at the time, Erin was finding the schedule daunting, especially with her husband often away for his own hockey games. “It was a constant juggle,” she recalls. The kids and Chris all needed to eat and get to different arenas at different times. “I thought there must be an easier solution to me spending my whole life in the kitchen.” Meanwhile, knowing Erin’s background in nutrition, other hockey moms were approaching her for advice. She couldn’t help but wonder: “If I’m struggling to keep everybody fed and healthy and on time, what’s it like for other families?”
That’s when she called Korey about working together on a cookbook. It was September of 2012. Soon they were talking to a publisher, but then decided to proceed on their own. How hard could it be? “And then we realized we didn’t know what we were doing.” Eventually, they signed with Barlow Book Publishing of Toronto and now The Ultimate Cookbook for Hockey Families is set for release in October. It features over 25 recipes from NHL and figure skating stars, plus loads of tips and tricks to help hockey cooks and players score nutritious snacks and meals—without breaking a sweat. The bonus? A portion of profits will be donated to Canadian Tire Jumpstart, a charitable organization that helps underprivileged kids play sports.
Crack open the pages and you’ll discover Erik Karlsson’s favourite smoothie, Kyle Turris’s Top-Shelf Alfredo, Claude Giroux’s Give-’n-Go Chicken and a recipe for family-pleasing chicken soup, courtesy of Jamie Salé’s mother.
“They’re actually recipes we’re using and enjoying,” Korey mentions. You can believe it. This is a mom who, last season, travelled five hours by train to a hockey tournament while carting a slow cooker and a load of other meal supplies. “She has taught me to use a slow cooker,” Erin says with a chuckle.
After 10 years with kids in the game, Korey definitely has the nutrition game down pat. “The good news is that hockey fuel is pretty basic,” she points out. “The bad news is that it’s kind of boring.” Well, it used to be boring. From Shinny Salsa to Crease Crasher Cookies, the new cookbook offers all the know-how to make it interesting and easy. The focus is on good, healthy food and simplifying its preparation so that nutrition is accessible to everybody. “People think eating healthy is expensive. It doesn’t have to be.”
Even tournaments won’t take a bite out of your wallet, thanks to this particular hockey playbook. There are plenty of details about how to prepare. For starters, pack a blender and organize a sign-up sheet so that everybody brings a dish, they advise. They’ve tried it with their kids’ teams and it works. Not only do you save money, but kids and parents are happy and players don’t crash on the ice after eating junky restaurant meals.
As these pros point out, nutrition is a game changer that makes a difference not only on the ice but for the future. That’s why The Ultimate Cookbook for Hockey Families is also designed to empower kids to make their own healthy decisions. Habits kids are forming now will last them a lifetime, they mention. “A 10-year-old skater doesn’t need to have a sugary or fat-laden treat after the game or competition,” Korey remarks. “The reward is in the activity itself.”
For parents, it’ll certainly be rewarding to stickhandle through a nail-biter of a timetable and come up with nutritious, appealing meals—before the kids scoop up that distinctive-smelling gear, zip the hockey bags and head out the door.
You’ll find The Ultimate Cookbook for Hockey Families in stores and at Canadian Tire, Amazon, Kobo, Apple and other online retailers. You can see details and order a copy at hockeyfood.com and follow @breakawayfood on Twitter.
ISBN: 978-0-9937656-5-0 (print)