When the idea was hatched, they were just like any other hockey moms. They’d bundle up and head to the rink on a cold winter day, watching their Novice-aged sons in the early stages of their minor hockey careers.
But as they saw their children develop a love for Canada’s game, they thought, ‘Why not us?’ And just like that, they went from moms in the stands to moms on the ice.
“We were all talking one day about how much fun the boys looked like they were having and how much fun hockey looks, but none of us have ever played,” said Tanya Lukefeld.
With skill levels ranging from limited to never-stepped-on-the-ice, a group of 24 hockey moms signed up for a 12-week learn-to-play program in Calgary, learning the basics – skating, puck handling, passing and shooting.
For some, it was a bit of a rough start … not that it mattered to them.
“When we got on the ice it was way harder than it looked. I mean way, way harder,” explained Lukefeld. “We laughed so hard and we had so much fun that first night that we all were totally hooked.”
The moms took their kids’ passion and created their own. By the second week they had team jerseys made, with their logo on the front, and names and numbers on the back. Now, several months into their on-ice adventure, the Bad Ass Hockey Moms (let’s call them the BAHMs, for simplicity’s sake) are on the ice once a week.
For most of the BAHMs, it’s not only their first time playing hockey, it’s the first time they have played on a team of any kind.
“I never got to play organized sports when I was younger,” said Elaine Wong-West. “Obviously I love the game, [and] I love watching my kids play, so it was just kind of natural for me to want to learn to play.”
“I’m the first child born outside of India on both sides of my family, so our parents didn’t really know how to put us in organized sport,” explained Gurdeep Brar.
Like many parents, their evenings are spent dedicated to their families; running around, making sure their kids and husbands get to where they need to be.
It is a job the women take on willingly and would never change, but they have also recognized that in order to be a great mom, they need to ensure they do something for themselves. That’s where the BAHMs come in.
“I think it makes us better moms when we’ve had a ton of fun and our spirits are uplifted; we’re able to uplift those around us,” said Ceilidh Price.
“I think beyond us just being better moms it helps us really relate to our kids,” added Brar. “We now have something in common with our children.”
The BAHMs are able watch their kids play from a different perspective having now played the game themselves. But they also can see first-hand how the sport truly does create lifelong friendships.
“We always joke that hockey is about our social life, not about the kids social life,” said Wong-West. “It’s awesome because you spend so much time in a season with these people ... we’ve built great friendships.”
The BAHMs have finished their 12-week program and many signed up for spring sessions, looking to stand just a little more confident on the ice. But these moms have their sights set on the fall. According to Price, who serves as captain, the moms are itching to formally join a league.
And Lukefeld has a message for any teams who happen to face off against the BAHMs.