Hockey Mom Of The Month: Susan Slayton
Being a hockey mom means being part of a tribe of amazing women. You share everything during a season and become true sisters of the trenches and the benches. You live and learn from them. Each month I will showcase a mom who has been there, done that and has the battle scars and checkbook to prove it. Just in case you need a little inspiration or at least that feeling of "oh, thank goodness, it's not just ME!"
Meet Susan Slayton, a teacher at BASIS Phoenix and an eight season veteran of the rink. Her son Nick currently plays with the Jr. Coyotes AA team in Scottsdale.
How did Nick get the bug for hockey?
When we moved to Arizona from New Jersey, he was invited to a birthday party that was at the rink. He couldn't even stand up on the skates, we had to carry him through our legs! But he loved it so we signed him for Kids First program at the then Polar Ice Rink in Peoria. Even though he still couldn't stand up, he refused to use the walkers or get help, so basically he would crawl on the ice and put the puck in the net that way! He would see the older kids at the other end of the ice with a goalie and he gravitated to them every time. Coach Larry would see him sneaking over there and grab him.
Where did he begin his team experience?
Nick has played since he was five. He started with house hockey and then spent three years with the Arizona Runners at Polar Ice in Peoria. He's been playing with the Jr. Coyotes at the Ice Den in Scottsdale since then.
How do you handle having kids in multiple sports? I know that your eldest daughter is in travel softball.
Basically I am hockey mom and Mike, my husband, is softball dad. It's a lot of juggling but we are really lucky because we have my parents to help out.
Does it bother either of the kids that only one parent is usually present?
No, they get it. And while Nick would never admit it, he likes it when I travel with him. I know hockey and he can talk about with me. Well, he talks and I listen anyway. He is very cerebral and likes to plan and analyze every game, pre and post. I learned a while ago to just shut my mouth. (laughs) It's better for our hockey relationship!
What have been your biggest challenges?
Aside from the schedule probably the expense. Hockey is an expensive sport but you know that going in. Another challenge is staying out of the drama. During practices it's just easier for me to stay entertained with a book or sometimes I even grade papers. Other parents may feel the need to congregate and bash the coach or team manager, I am just not one of those people.
What is the best thing about hockey?
(laughs) Ironically my hockey mom friends! While I don't get mixed up in everything I have become close with about several women. They definitely help get me through the season!
Do you have any advice for parents considering hockey for their kid(s)?
You have to be strong! The season is very long and the schedule is crazy. Also, patience is key. You are dealing with a lot of different personalities with parents, players and coaches. It's really like being a teacher.
Lastly, what is the funniest hockey memory you have so far?
There are so many!! We've gone to the wrong rink on game days, Nick loved me for that, and I've made hotel reservation for the wrong week of a tournament once. But the funniest is when after an airline had lost Nick's hockey bag, I insisted I would keep his jerseys in my carryon next time so at least he would always have them. The first time I did that, what do you think happened? I forgot them at the hotel! I had to jet back and in the meantime Nick had to wear his dad's Coyotes jersey that is at least two sizes too big for him. It hung down to his knees like a dress! By the time the 2nd period rolled around I was back but it didn't seem to bother him because he had a terrific period wearing it.
Do you have a hockey mom who has some stories to tell? Send me a message I would love to talk to them!