For many girls, wanting to marry an athlete is the ultimate dream. A fairy-tale lifestyle with all pros, no cons and a simple skate into the sunset. While the lifestyle can offer the world, it’s not as easy as one may have imagined. A hockey wife, who has spent 11 years by her husbands side through the OHL, AHL and NHL, was kind enough to answer questions about the lifestyle at home instead of at the rink. This wife has asked to remain anonymous, for now…
Winter: In what moment did the realization hit, that you were a hockey wife?
Anonymous Wife: I was a “hockey wife” long before I said “I do”, but the moment that it sunk in, was the 3rd day of our honeymoon. We got married over the AHL All Star break and had only a few days before heading back to our hockey home; I totally thought something like, “That was short, I’m finally married to my husband, but I’m married to the game too.”
W: It’s always about the man behind the jersey, tell me a bit about the woman behind the man?
AW: Well, sometimes I wear a jersey too, during pick up hockey games in the summer. I’m Canadian, so I grew up playing hockey. A lot of wives have to learn the game, luckily I already knew it, the good and the bad. I went to university and have my degree in nursing. I’m afraid of spiders and I hate the smell of wood smoke. Random things about me, eh.
W: How did you meet your husband?
AW: It’s not some romantic, mushy story, we lived near each other growing up near Edmonton. My husband and my older brother have been friends for an eternity now, they played hockey together growing up. My husband was always at our house and it was just a natural progression I guess. We started dating right before my 16th birthday, broke up a few times, but always ended up together again.
W: What is one skill that every hockey mother, girlfriend, or wife should master?
AW: Master the art of making pasta, it’s the one meal you’ll make more times than you’d probably like in this lifetime!
W: What is the best and subsequently the worst thing about being a hockey wife?
AW: The best, I could name a million positives about being a hockey wife. We get to experience so many great things, and for that I’m truly thankful. I’d say the best thing about being a hockey wife, girlfriend, etc is the extended “family” that you’re welcomed into. The people you get to meet and the friendships that ensue. It seems that with hockey, someone knows someone on every team and even if you’re the new kid, you’ll find a friend mighty fast. The worst, the negatives are a pretty large list. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, but I’m complaining. At every level, it’s the girls, the girls constantly throwing themselves at your boyfriend, husband etc. That’s a big frustration with a lot of us, but you soldier on. Girls aside, I’d have to say the schedule, it’s grueling on not just a player but the entire family. The schedule was easier to take when I was younger, I was in school the first few seasons, then we had a dog and I worked the next few seasons. It wasn’t until our daughter was born 3 years ago that the schedule really took a toll. I’m not sure how to say this correctly, because my husband is a great father and does more than his fair share, especially in the summer; but during the season a lot of the time it’s like I’m a single mom. It was a bit easier when our daughter was a newborn, but now she asks where daddy is and misses him a lot when he’s on the road.
W: You mentioned that you have a nursing degree, a question that comes up often is if wives work?
AW: I’d like to clear up a huge misconception about us wives, mainly because I hear the same thing all too often and to put it bluntly, it pisses me off. The majority of us aren’t dumb girls who get married and give up our dreams for money and fame. Just because I’m married to a hockey player, chances are no one outside the state where he plays knows our last name and trust me, I’d like to keep it that way! I worked my way through school and our first 4 seasons together. I worked even after we got married and I didn’t necessarily have too. I chose nursing because of the flexibility within the schedule and because every city that we might ever play in, has a hospital. Currently, I’m not working outside of the home, but trust me I’m still working in it. I’m a mom and taking care of my husband so he can play to the best of his abilities. Being a hockey wife is a full time job during the season, but a lot of people don’t get that.
W: What is an average daily schedule for you?
AW: Are we talking off-season or during the season? The off-season is that fairytale ending for sure, vacation, sleeping in, my husband home all the time. Okay, maybe not a fantasy when he’s driving me insane, but still its preferable. During the season, my schedule is pretty similar to any other stay at home mom, take care of the house, our daughter, our two dogs, run errands, the whole shebang. But during the season, I have the added benefit of making sure everything is put together and my husband has a clear mind, that our daughter is napping when he is on game days, that the pre-game meal is just perfect and the suit and tie are ironed to perfection. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, I won’t even touch what life is like around our home during playoffs.
W: Can you elaborate on “being married to the game?”
AW: I can try, but it means a bunch of different things. I don’t think people realize that both in season and off, hockey dictates our lives. We can be traded, called up, and sent down at a moments notice, that’s the right a team has when you sign a contract. A 10 year deal doesn’t mean that you won’t be traded after 10 months. When a trade happens, the player leaves immediately and the wives and girlfriends are left behind to pick up the pieces. Through the good and the bad, you have to have a thick skin and roll with the punches. Teams try to be accommodating, but there’s only so much they can do.
Have questions for “The Hockey Wife” about hockey life? Send an email to email@example.com with “Hockey Wife” in the subject line!