Goalie Parents

Goalie Parents

Carter Goalie - 7Does Loungo’s mom tense up every time someone takes a shot on her son? Does she cheer like a banshee on meth when he makes a save?

I know in minor hockey, both those things can be true.

No one will tell you this, but being a goalie parent is hard. Stressful. Agonizing sometimes.

Here’s why.

luongoAs goalie, you are either the goat or hero. Miss one shot as a forward, no big deal. Have someone skate your jock off as a defensemen, kinda embarrassing, but ok.

Miss one stop as a goalie and it’s a goal.

Worse, if the defense totally collapses and it’s 3 on 0, (which happens a lot for some reason in minor hockey)and, big surprise, there’s a goal. The expectation is that the goalie should have found a way to stop it.

Honestly, at this level, it’s about 50/50 that a goalie will stop a shot. The really good ones can stop most ice level shots with a clever use of their pads or with a determined death grip on their stick. Few can stop a high arcing wrist shot. Fewer still can stop a deek-out.

I’ve tried to ask the youngest what he feels when there’s only him and a shooter. No defense. No help.

He shrugs.

Does he feel tense?

Or does he accept the challenge?


Does he worry he’s gonna get scored on?

Or does he know he’s gonna stop that shot?


I wish I knew. When he’s older, I’ll have to find out. I need to know.

Cuz for me, for most goalie parents, that moment is fraught with massive tension. If he makes it, he’ll be the hero and if he’s the hero, the other kids will like him and if they like him, he’ll have tons of confidence and if he has tons of confidence, he’ll do well in life and get a lovely wife, have a great job and become really, really good at Minecraft.

lindsay lohanIf he doesn’t make that save, then the team will hate him, he’ll hate himself, he’ll drop out of hockey, marry an aging and kinda sad Lindsey Lohan, work at McDonalds and become really, really good at Minecraft.

Oh, I know not that much is at stake.

It’s a game after all. It’s supposed to be fun.

None of this is supposed to matter much. We never mention any shots he missed, we only mention the great saves he makes (and he does make a lot of them!)

Yet, deep down, when that breakaway happens, I will the hockey gods to be on his side and let me make that stop.

luongo gold medal


Because I know it’s important to him that he make that stop.

That he’s the hero he imagines himself to be.


About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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4 Responses to Goalie Parents

  1. Lani says:

    From our son’s 4 yrs in hockey it seems like the parents of the goalie are the most stressed for sure! You are in good company!

  2. bevcooke says:

    Okay. Not a hockey mom ever, but my gut was tensing up, willing him to make that save while I was reading.

  3. Joe Cummings says:

    Oh it’s agonizing sometimes. That slow puck inching towards the red line, the goalie desperately flailing around, trying to find it, his glove hand slapping the ice, his leg pads stretched out…

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