Friday, May 17, 2024

Hockey mom "juggles" roles for the good of the game

The Clark family: Julie, Jacob, Zachary, Lucas and Jason

By Evan Harrington

       When some hear the term “hockey mom” they think of a mom who yells at the refs, coaches, and opposing parents from the stands, but Julie Clark uses that passion and energy that all moms have in more of a management style for her son's hockey team.

Hockey moms normally are moms with a son/daughter playing for a hockey team and that said mom takes on a manager role. They fundraise for the team, plan social events, and team dinners, order uniforms, and plan hotels and outings at tournaments. The moms also have to deal with the coaches, players, and families constantly keeping them updated and informed on the current schedule and state of the team.

There is a recognized status that comes with being a hockey mom. They are almost like a local celebrity some could say, as they are not only the team manager, but they do hold a special place in not only the players’ eye but also the families’ eyes. As they are always in the spotlight with the team making decisions, running events, and helping the team with anything that needs to be done.

Clark, 45, has always been involved in hockey going back to her childhood as her dad coached hockey, while her

cousin played growing up as well. She is married to Jason Clark and has three kids of   her own Jacob, Zachary, and Lucas Clark, who all at one point in time played hockey where Clark was a hockey mom/manager of the team.

“Go with the flow, roll with the punches, and see what comes. Listen to your kids for what they want, it’s not about what you want, it’s what is best for them and what they want. Whether they continue playing, want more training, go to a different team all sorts of different things. It’s not your dreams it’s their dreams,”  Clark said.

Clark got her oldest son Jacob skating at the young age of two and as he progressed at ice skating she then decided to have him play the game of ice hockey at the age of four. That's when she decided to skate along with her son supporting him through his journey of playing hockey by being a hockey mom.

Jacob said it is to have his mom around to help his team out and have someone to talk to as an outlet of support before and after hockey games.

“It’s important to have that support, that they can look up into the stands, not only the dads, but the moms that are cheering them on,” Jacob said.

One of the biggest things with Clark that stick out about her being a hockey mom for her son’s team is that she can travel the country with her son and watch him grow up, succeed, have fun, and make new friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

“Juggling” is the word that Clark used to describe being a hockey with a full-time job, as an Accounts Payable Specialist at Stark Tech. She mentioned how balancing herday-to-day life, with work, hockey, your family and how it can be hard to see her kids not always succeed, but it is always fulfilling to see them overcome obstacles.

James Schoenhals, president of the West Seneca Youth Hockey Association has a lot on his plate when dealing with each team and Clark makes his life a lot easier with the contributions she brings.

“It takes a lot of pressure off the coach when he knows he can depend on that

mom to interact with the parents because they do fundraisers and just the little intricacy stuff, everything that goes on with a hockey,” Schoenhals said.

Clark was honored by the Buffalo Sabres, as the hockey mom of the game. She was nominated by family and friends and by this occurring she was able to take her family to the game where they were able to meet and interact with the players. The Sabres had her play in a game during the intermission, which allowed her to win some pretty cool prizes.

“It was pretty cool, it was nice to be recognized, it's a thankless job sometimes, but it's nice to have family and friends recognize you and see what you do, and an organization like the Buffalo Sabres is recognizing all the other hockey moms and

recognizing what we do for our kids and families and the organization,” Clark said.