GOOD SPORTS: Hockey

Growing up with hockey is a gift. It’s to be given a breakaway upbringing. Hockey parents raise hockey kids. Here’s why these full-contact families make a commitment to the sport they love.

IT’S 4:00 AM. 

After countless excruciating minutes of blaring alarms, I’ve finally woken up. My hockey parents have trained me well. I get some food, grab my warmest winter jacket, and head out the door for morning hockey practice. Once I’m on my way, I’m eager to get on the ice. I love hockey. I’ve been playing hockey since Kindergarten, and now I play defense for the Glenwood Demons varsity high school hockey team. 

A COMMITMENT TO HOCKEY = WAY MORE THAN SUNRISE PRACTICE

When my friends talk about all I missed last weekend, or when the forecast calls for a powder day ahead, my constant answer these days is, “I can’t hangout. I have hockey,” but it’s not really an issue. I love playing this sport. 

When I was in Kindergarten, my dad introduced me to hockey. It started out as just another activity I could do with my father, but as I improved in the sport and began to enjoy it more, it became something he gave me that I appreciate now on a day to day basis. 

“Hockey played an important role in teaching me certain life lessons,” my dad, Jim Bingaman, tells me, like, “values, confidence, commitment, respect, teamwork, leadership, a work ethic, mental toughness and trust.  These are part of the game of hockey and the game of life.”

HOCKEY PARENTS ARE THEIR OWN BREED

Hockey kids are heavily invested in time spent practicing and competing. And it takes an even bigger investment from their parents. It’s more complicated than taking their kids to practices and to games. Parents drive all around Colorado, and sometimes even to other states, to games and tournaments. It’s booking hotel rooms, filling up the gas tank multiple times in a day, and they drive either upvalley or downvalley for practice, which can be very early in the morning before school, or in the evening after they’ve worked all day. Plus, hockey parents pay for skates, pads, helmets, gloves, sticks, pucks, team uniforms, and tournament fees. 

My dad coached my team for a couple of years. He ran practices 3-4 times a week. He took us to games almost every weekend during winter months. In Vail, Steamboat, Gunnison, Crested Butte, Denver, Colorado Springs, Littleton, Breckenridge, Telluride, and many more places around Colorado. And alongside league games, we participated in multiple tournaments each season. Although the extensive traveling felt like a bit much sometimes, I’m grateful my parents let me to see the world outside of our small Valley. This allowed me to develop my own views on society and experience new places. 

DAD NEVER MADE HOCKEY SEEM LIKE A BURDEN

“The opportunity to coach my son and his teammates over the years has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life, and I am grateful for the bond it has created between us,” he says.

I’ve learned teamwork and communication from my dad and other  coaches; dedication and responsibility from my parents; and brotherhood and respect from my teammates. 

BROTHERHOOD

I don’t use that word lightly. Through the different levels of competitive play, for the most part, I played with the same kids in each level, on both my team and other teams. This created long lasting friendships and new opportunities. Most of these kids feel the way I do about growing up with this sport.

“Hockey has given me the ability to work on leadership qualities,” says Connor Powell, the GSHS Demons varsity captain. “It has also given me some of the best friendships of my life … a community that I will always be a part of.”

Hockey will always be a part of my life.  I’m proud to say I grew up with hockey. I am forever thankful to my parents for giving me the opportunity. Hockey was the foundation of my childhood; the solid ground I now stand on.  

SHOW UP

Root for your home team. Watch the GSHS Demons v. AHS Skiers game HERE.

LEARN MORE

MOUNTAIN PARENT Good Sports articles written by players, coaches, and team parents about our community’s athletic programming.

About Will Bingaman

Will is a senior at Roaring Fork High School and plays hockey for the Glenwood Springs High School Demons varsity team. When he is not at practice or in school, he skis, skateboards, writes music and enjoys time with his friends and family. After high school, Will plans to attend college and is looking forward to participating in college club hockey or a mens' league.