Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Hockey Wife


                                  

As I watched the NHL Awards last night there were a few things that stood out. One of course was Lady Bing winner, Martin St. Louis, having his name slaughtered by two blond Real Housewives of somewhere. The other thing that stood out was in the acceptance speeches of the winners. Almost every man (with the exception of Jeff Skinner who isn't aloud to date yet) thanked their wife, fiancĂ©, or girlfriend  for their support.



I could see the pain on Magali Laperriere's face as her husband, Ian Laperriere, accepted the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The award goes "to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey." Magali was crying as she watched her husband talk about his hockey career and the fact that his playing days are probably over. You could see how much she supported this man who wanted nothing more than to play the game he loved.

So who are these women behind the men? What are their lives like supporting their husbands as they make their way through all levels of hockey? How do they manage a family while following their husbands around the world to play the game he loves? I was able to find a few of these amazing women and asked one of them if I could interview her for my blog.

This hockey wife has a blog of her own that I sat up reading until 3:00 a.m.. I read about how, after playing hockey in North America, her husband wanted to play overseas. How she moved to Italy with her husband and infant son Linden (named after Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks) and the struggles she faced there. Then the following season when the team her husband was going to play for in Germany went bankrupt, they headed back home to play hockey in North America. And this coming season she is moving once again, this time to Germany, and is a pro at packing their entire lives into hockey bags.

I encourage you to read and share her blog with other hockey fans. It really gives an inside look at the life of a young hockey family playing overseas. You can find her blog at: http://www.adayinthelifeofahockeywife.com/ 




Q:
So for those out there who haven't read your blog tell us a little about who you are.

A:
I am a 26 year old professional packer and mover, (mostly) stay at home mother, and wife of the year contender.

Q:
How did you and your husband meet? We know all the puck bunnies out there are hoping he saw you through the glass, tracked you down after the game, and swept you off your feet!

A:
No, he definitely didn’t see me through the glass. Sorry, Ladies.
I had met him in passing once or twice but my girlfriend, Courtney, formally introduced us. Her fiancé was his teammate.

Q:
Were you a hockey fan before you met your husband?

A:
Not even close. Even now, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a true hockey fan. I support my husband and I enjoy watching the game, but I don’t fully understand it. I am definitely not the wife who critiques her husband during his games … and never will be.

Q:
Was there ever a point before you got married that you thought being a hockey wife was going to be glamorous or did you know from the start what you were signing up for?

A:
Life with a professional athlete can be exciting but I would never describe it as glamorous. Not at this level, anyway.

Q:
What are some of the things you didn't know about until you became a hockey wife?

A:
I hadn’t fully grasped the business side of hockey. I quickly learned that nothing is guaranteed, no one owes you anything, and everyone is replaceable.

Q:
Other than the obvious things like your wedding or the birth of your son, what are your top three moments in your life as a hockey wife?

A:
I honestly don’t know where to begin with these next two questions … Off the top of my head … the highlights have been:
1. Raising Linden (the opportunity to be a stay at home mom)
2. Friendships
3. Life Abroad

Q:
What are the top three worst moments?

A:
1. Health coverage issues in Italy.
2. The team folding in Germany last year.
3. Watching my husband kneel on the ice with his head in his hands and tears streaming down his face after losing a game 7 in the finals.

Q:
When your husband is playing overseas do you get to meet the other hockey wives or do you do your own thing?

A:
Yes, I always meet the other wives or girlfriends. In Europe, my experience has been that we more or less need each other. That being said, I thoroughly enjoy doing my own thing -- and with a toddler in tow, it just kind of happens naturally.

Q:
Are there certain things you enjoy about your husband playing overseas and if so, can you tell us a few?

A:
Life abroad can be lonely and overwhelming. But if you allow yourself to be open to the experience, I think most will find that life abroad can also be a beautiful opportunity to experience life outside your comfort zone. That’s what I fell in love with, and that’s what I look forward to the most.

Q:
I know you had problems with health care for your son at one point while overseas. How does it work if you or your son becomes ill over there?

A:
The health care issues we experienced in Italy had nothing to do with the health care system. Those issues were a result of poor ownership and management. I think that’s an important distinction.

Believe it or not, the hospital turned us away because the organization had outstanding bills from previous seasons and without medical cards we couldn’t visit a doctor at will.

Generally, I called my doctor’s office or Linden’s pediatrician’s office using Skype. Our landlord happened to be the local pharmacist and she freely dispensed antibiotics if necessary. I can’t imagine what it would have been like without her.

Q:
If you could choose an NHL team for your husband to play for which team would it be? Is this the same choice as your husband?

A:
Vancouver Canucks. That was easy!

Q:
With you and your family leaving to play in Germany in a few months, what kind of things do you have to do before you can go? Such as any medical tests, paper work, things like that.

A:
The basics are:
Suspend our car insurance
Suspend our cell phone plans
Make sure Linden’s immunizations are up to date
And I keep a running list of things we should bring/things we will need to buy there.

Q:
How do both of your families feel about your family living overseas?

A:
My in-laws have always encouraged my husband to play in Europe. They know that he has gone as far as he can go in North American hockey and that if he wants to continue to play and enjoy playing; Europe is the right place for him. Hockey parents seem to inherently understand those things.

My parents are a tougher sell. They are cautiously supportive. At this point, they both probably assume that by October, we’ll be calling with bad news of some sort. They are fairly good at keeping their opinions to themselves but I know that they struggle to understand where we’re coming from.

Q:
How has social media helped or hurt the way you guys live as a hockey family?

A:
That’s an interesting question … You are probably expecting a more exciting answer but generally speaking, social media really has no affect on the way we live. The only social media outlet that my husband and I use is Facebook and our privacy settings keep the nonsense to a minimum.

Q:
What is your take on puck bunnies? Do you have any crazy bunny stories to share with us?

A:
I think puck bunnies (or groupies) are pathetic. We all have a story or two but most aren’t worth sharing.

Q: 
Fans don't see much of the behind the scenes for a player with an injury. What is it like for YOU and for your husband when he has an injury? What are some things fans probably don't realize about injured hockey players?

A:
I guess injuries come with the territory but for me, they are like hockey fights: flat out scary. When my husband (or anyone else, for that matter) goes down, my heart sinks. Did their head hit the ice? Are they bleeding? Are they conscious?

I have a feeling most fans aren’t thinking, ‘that’s so-and-so’s husband or daddy’ because that’s not who players are to fans. But that’s what I’m thinking …

Q:
Being a mom myself,  I can't imagine packing them up to live overseas. What are some of the things you deal with moving a toddler overseas? What is a typical day like for you and your son while your husband is at the rink?


A:
At first packing and moving was quite the ordeal but it seems like second nature now. Hockey bag full of Linden’s stuff, check. Car seat, check. Stroller, check. I keep a list (or twelve) and a planner to help me keep track of things.

My husband is usually gone from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, just depends on the team.

Linden is up at 8:00 am. I fix breakfast and while Linden watches a few cartoons, I check my e-mail. We try to do one activity each day that gets us out of the house (swimming, park/playground, play date, etc.) otherwise we both go a little stir crazy. I fix lunch around noon and Linden goes down for a nap around 2:00 pm. While he naps I catch up on household chores (laundry, cleaning, etc.) or watch a little TV. By that time, my husband is usually home and we just … hang.

Q:
What are a few of the must-haves you bring with you for you, for your husband, and for your son?

A:
Me: Pureology shampoo and conditioner, Proactive’s three step facial cleansing system, and Crest Advanced White 3D toothpaste.

My husband: Taco and fajita seasoning packets.

Linden: Hockey net, sticks and foam pucks, a few of his favorite books, and something to make his room special. Last year, I packed Disney Cars wall decals. This year, I will bring NHL player wall decals.

Q:
Last... Is there anything you would like to say to hockey fans that they may not realize about the life of a young hockey family?

A: Nah, the fans are pretty with-it!

Best Blogger Tips

No comments: