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Chicks with Sticks, Trophy Wives, Motherpuckers — Puckholded!

March 4, 2007


I am a Hockey husband.

No, not a hockey dad (I am that too) but a hockey husband. My wife has become a hard core hockey playing nut. Multiple practices per week, travel games, even sleep away hockey camp at Dartmouth!

Her favorite T-Shirt says it all: “make your own damn dinner, I’m playing hockey tonight!”

Other hockey husbands know exactly what I am talking about.

Which is why I got such a kick out of Daniel Coyle’s piece in today’s New York Times Play Magazine, called “Puckholded.”  I’ve excerpted the entire thing below:
It probably sounds foolish to say this now, more than a year after the affair began, but I never thought it would happen to us. I assumed that after 14 happy years of marriage and four kids, Jen and I were strong enough to resist any temptation. But we weren’t — or, let’s be honest, Jen wasn’t. It’s the old story: girl meets puck, puck takes girl. Then comes scoring. Lots of scoring.

I remember the night it all began. One of Jen’s friends phoned, saying a few women were getting together for a pickup game at the new rink. Why not?, Jen said, half-interested. But when she returned home three hours later, her eyes were alight in a way I hadn’t seen in a long time.

“It was the best,” I overheard her telling a friend a few days later. “I haven’t had fun like this since college.”

A passing infatuation, I figured, a harmless dalliance like those she had had with yoga and pottery. Oh, I spotted the warning signs — the seemingly casual mentions of Gordie Howe during dinner-table conversation, the sticky black clusters of used tape blooming in the entryway. But it wasn’t until a few months later, when I caught Jen sneaking new shinguards into the house — shinguards to replace the perfectly good ones she’d been borrowing from our 10-year-old son — that I knew this was serious.

“These fit me better,” Jen explained, clutching the ergonomically designed Easton Synergy 300s to her chest with a passion that Hockey Digest writers might describe as “Stan Mikita-esque.” “I need them!”

Jen’s passion is shared by two dozen other women in our little town of Homer, Alaska. Though a handful had experience in the sport — one had even played in college — most, like Jen, were neophytes. Still, one night a week didn’t satisfy them. Before long it was two nights, then three. They got a local Irish pub as sponsor and named themselves after the Homer Spit, the five-mile-long peninsula that is our most prominent local landmark. They became the Spit Sisters.

And now the hockey husbands are left gazing at the action from outside the Plexiglas. We’re easy to spot, the guys with stove burns on our hands and runny-nosed children shivering at our feet. Ours is a simple lot: feed kids, do bedtimes and play commentator (“Did you see Mommy’s hip check? Doesn’t Mommy do good hip checks?”). Occasionally, the locker room door bangs open, and we catch glimpses of the Sisters gathered in tribal circle, sharing postgame beers, lobbing rolls of tape back and forth, conversing in their private language of crushers and suicides and man-in-the-crease. We remain outside the threshold, resigned to our fate. I’m not saying it’s always easy. Frankly, it’s a little disconcerting to see your bride smile during intimate moments and realize that she might be visualizing Jaromir Jagr’s wrist shot. But after a while you get used to it.

The Sisters’ first game was against the local squirt team of 8- to 10-year-olds, the roster of which partly comprised their children (our son played wing). The whole town turned out to watch what was informally billed as Kids versus Moms. The game started quietly enough, both teams feeling their way along. The Sisters skated in neat ellipses, as they had in their practice drills. “Sorry, honey” and “Nice pass, sweetheart” rang out over the ice. But midway into the first period, the squirts found their legs and attacked. Possessing far superior speed, the kids buzzed up and down the ice, scoring two quick goals. And then it happened: a hockey game broke out.

Competitive instincts unleashed, the Sisters began muscling the kids into the boards. Mothers body-checked sons; daughters hacked mothers. A ragged clutch of bodies pinwheeled around the ice as the crowd roared. The Sisters got clobbered, 6-0. As they limped off the ice (one with a dislocated shoulder), we husbands nodded to one another with knowing satisfaction. Even the most hockey-besotted Sister had to acknowledge that this game — this alluring, magical game — might be a bit rougher and clumsier than she’d imagined.

Jen still plays hockey, but the honeymoon can’t last forever. Game by game, slap shot by slap shot, the thrill will inevitably dim. Sure, the Spit Sisters may have so many new players that they’ll have to form a second team. And, yeah, they’ll drive anywhere in southern Alaska for a pickup game. And Jen might have scored two goals the other night, one of them a nifty one-timer at the post. But I’m sure it’s just a passing thing.


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  1. March 20, 2007

    This is a great find, Mike. Makes me want to dust off my old sticks & skates and re-live my Williams glory days…there must be a rink somewhere in LA. I can tell my husband I’m off to a tech meetup or something, right?!

  2. H3 #
    September 28, 2008

    I giggled all the way threw your article , my husband tried to get me to play for years , mostly to stick me in goal to shot on , I was the one hauling the kids around to all thier stuff and he went off to play , well then the friend called me an asked would I like to try ? my kids were all grown I did not have to haul them around ! so off I went with all the barrowed gear , the oldest one there, not knowing a thing about it ! It was the best work out ever ! , all women giggling and skating hard, learning the game , men wern’t even allowed in the rink for fear of the critizism that would be hurled our way, and embarisment at our lack of skill . Four years later , two more teams , away games , lots of laughs ,Locker room party’s , jello gigglers to match our team colors , many new best friends , new equiptment
    ( I even went threw my first pair of gloves !) and one very serious operation on the spine after an encounter with the boards , I can’t wait for the season to start ! SO I get it and think way more women should give it a try !!! I would like to have been in the factory when the pink leather started rolling down the HOckey equiptment production line ! Were here and we love it !

  3. May 11, 2009

    Loved the article and had a good laugh at it! When my husband and I met, I was playing 5-6X a week and told him if he wanted to see me, he better start playing too, and he did! And just to clarify, some of us gals prefer the co-ed version over the all-gals variety 🙂

    Yes, it’s a full-fledged addiction and I ain’t quitting! I also coach 2 high school teams (one boys, one co-ed) and referee youth and adult games. Just try to get me away from the ice. You’ll have to pry my stick from my dead, cold hands! @bizcoachdeb

  4. December 16, 2009

    Wasn’t it Dr. Moreau who said “He who breaks the law, goes back to the House of Pain!” afroromance

  5. leonard #
    January 2, 2010

    Классные мультфильмы на Кинозоуне.

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