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4 Reasons to Take the Team to Dinner

Written by Emily Erson

And Hockey Mom’s Survival Guide to Help You Survive

Every hockey parent is delusional at some time in his/her life. Most of the time it’s a lesson learned, and we move on. Like when dads expect a super center in the family, but junior or juniorette runs around the net when the puck is in the opposite zone.

All parents have to lower their expectations in some way because our kids are imperfect human beings like us. That doesn’t stop us from making the stupid mistake of expecting amazing things like a nice, quiet team dinner at an out of town restaurant.

Seriously. Trojan condoms should pick up the tab for every innocent patron in a restaurant when a hockey team comes to eat. 

Bottom line?  Going to dinner with the team is only fun if you go under the guise that the rest of the restaurant will pay—dearly. So why do we still take the team to Buffalo Wild Wings knowing full well it will just be organized chaos?  It’s more than just team bonding.  It’s a hockey family’s contribution to society.

It’s Great Birth Control

My kids’ teams have probably encouraged abstinence in more couples than any jealous third wheel lost in the friend zone.

Nothing puts an end to all thoughts about doing the squishy dance as the dead-eyed stares of hockey parents wishing their screaming kids would stop jumping up and down and hitting each other in the booth.

It’s a Great Way to Calm a Jealous Rage

One bit of soul searching every hockey parent has to ask is precisely how deep does this jealous rage against people who can have a lovely evening out without kids go? 

Let’s face it. When we bring our team into a restaurant, we are bringing shouting, running around, spilled drinks, and a promise of a massive mess with us. Hell, even when everything is going well, and the kids aren’t little monsters, we are on edge—like we got lost in the woods, and we know that at any second, a bear is going to jump out of the bushes and eat us.

The peace never lasts. Either the kids will start fighting, or there will be a total meltdown because one of their teammates touched their food.

I read a news story every so often about some restaurant that bans kids under six or something along those lines. As a parent who does her best to control her kids and make them behave, while not turning them into obedient little drones, I can’t help but think that these sorts of places I EFFING GET IT!!!.

Holy crap, if I run across one of those places when we are at a tournament, you can bet I am pawing my kids off to the closest mom at the hotel pool and going for an hour of quiet.

You Can Only Take So Much Fast Food and Hotel Chaos

Let’s be honest here. Kids don’t care about nice restaurants or even generic diners that serve real food cooked to order. There is no need to waste time and money buying them a good meal. By good meal, I mean something like a meat-n-three from a traditional country restaurant or a dinner platter from a steakhouse. That is unless the chaos at the hotel is starting to push you over the edge.  I mean you can’t start drinking until the day’s games are done, so you need to kill time.

But all the kids want is a fast food burger, fries, and a soda, and then to hit the hotel pool.

There is only so much fast food you can take though. Even the better places start to fill your stomach with dread.

I can remember when I was young and thought that there were significant differences between the various chains. Now it all tastes alike, or like garbage.

Nothing like eating soggy fries that died under a heat lamp with a burger half the size of a CD (please tell me the generation reading this still knows what CDs are) and a watered-down Dr. Pepper.

But the kids love it, which proves that the little rug rats get their energy from drinking the tears of their parents. The end result is that parents will do anything to avoid the king, the redhead, and the clown.

It Encourages People to Reach Out to Their Higher Power

As a hockey parent, you should ask yourselves one of the hardest questions anyone who has ever taken the team out to a restaurant can ask. How willing are you to ruin other people’s evenings so that you won’t suffer through another fast food grease bomb?

The truth is that you are already asking the hostess for separate booths and if the waitress can take orders by jersey numbers.  The fight over who sits beside whom and what kids are riding in what SUVs starts before calling ahead even enters your mind.

The question might bear slight consideration as the rest of the restaurant’s patrons stare politely in their meals, offering up silent prayers to the gods of fine dining that it isn’t them that you and your hellions sit by. And these uncaring gods only response will be, “Sucks to be you, buddy.”


Only the most self-centered and oblivious of hockey parents will let their kids have free reign in a restaurant. They are the ones that are usually talking too loudly or day drinking to deal with the chaos.

Many hockey parents try. We really, really do, but there is only so much try in any of us. And it pales in comparison to the energy of an entire youth hockey team.

We’ve also learned that there is only so much control you can exert over a kid before you control the kid right out of them. Who wants that? So, we will put on a friendly show, and tell our kids to knock it off.

We may mean it, or we may pretend like we care so that it looks like we are responsible parents trying to make the team behave, even though we know that isn’t going to happen.

We care, but there comes the point where sanity and empty bellies come first.

Want to join me as a pen my next rant? Join my mail list today. You can also find me on Instagram @onthejobmom12. And if you want to keep talking hockey momming, join us in our group “Hockey Mom Hacks.” We’d love to hear from you.

About the author

Emily Erson

I am a full-time teacher, mother, driver of children, cooker of dinner, washer of laundry, sayer of whatever is on my mind and hockey mom extraordinaire. In my free time --like that exists--I blog in order to vent the frustration that comes with raising 3 kids. My mantra, blogging and ranting are better than a drinking problem.