I’m very excited to be on board at Gongshow, I’ve done a lot of writing in the past, but never for anything like this, so I’m sure it’ll be an interesting journey.
For my first entry, Macker asked me to talk a little about “the hockey life” from a girl’s point of view ( I work with a hockey team). Being the only female around 30 dudes can sometimes be a little intimidating, but there’s never a dull moment. Welcome to a new Gongshow feature called “The Fox’s Tail”!
By The Fox
It’s been a lot of years since I started working in hockey. From being terrified walking into the coach’s office the first time to introduce myself, to my first bus roadie with the boys, to working rinkside at the Memorial Cup it’s been a long road.
Being “the girl” you’re always subject to some razzing, (your purse matches your coat!?, are you putting on lipgloss on the bus?) but the more you get to know the guys on the team, it becomes like having 20 brothers. So when that creepy duster won’t knock it off at the bar, you know someone’s got your back. When you need a last-minute quote to put something together to throw on the website, the assistant captain answers his phone on the first ring. And when the coach knows you’re homesick and the team is playing in your hometown, he finds room on the bus so you can get home to your family.
I think when I was about 10, I wanted to be a vet when I grew up. I didn’t forsee myself spending my winters driving in the world’s worst blizzards to some rundown barn with a leaky roof and the wind whistling in. But would I trade it for anything? Not a chance. I’ve been on long bus roadies to places most Canadians never see — Fort McMurray, Alberta; Flin Flon, Manitoba. I’ve drank beer out of the Senior B provincial championship trophy (which one of the guys on my team thought would be funny if he poured down my shirt). I’ve been to rookie parties, year-end parties, drank beers in the dressing room after a big win and a bad loss.
While I do find it easier to fit in with the boys as I’ve gotten older and less nervous around them, I think it’s important to still maintain a little female identity. I’m probably the only person I know who has bronzer stained on the inside of my white Gongshow Rockstar bucket. I do wear trucker hats and jeans and flip flops to pracky or to a meeting with Coach, but nothing wrong with rocking heels to the home opener.
I get chirped when I order screwdrivers at the bar, but I’ll never turn down a challenge to go beer-for-beer with some schmelt who doesn’t know better. There’s always one guy who tries to wheel (and gets laughed at by the rest of the boys when he gets shot down), and unfortunately, the guy who missed the memo that it’s 2011, and just can’t keep his mouth shut with the “get back to the kitchen” comments.
For every one bad thing, though, there’s a hundred good things. There’s nothing like that feeling in your stomach when the bus lurches to a stop outside your rival team’s rink on a Saturday night before a big game, and nothing like the clink of a glass after the last pint has been poured from the pitcher and everyone sits down to celebrate. Or the pride you feel when someone you know gets drafted, signed as a free agent, or scores a goal in the NHL.
When push comes to shove, most of the boys don’t really make a big deal about it once they get to know you. Beauty status isn’t gender-specific. You can still crush beers, rock Gongshow swag, spend every waking moment at the rink, put up a highlight reel performance at the bar Wednesday night after a big win and put in an appearance at work at 9 a.m. the next morning.
The key is to be awesome at what you do.
Living the hockey life can be a grind sometimes. There’s always nights when your friends are going out and you know you’ll be sitting on the bus riding back from Trois-Rivieres or Stony Plain. … And the boys will ask after they’ve eaten their post-game feast, “Do you have any hand sanitizer/wet-naps/napkins/breath mints/gum?”
This year, I’m working with a new Junior team, which I’m very excited about. My off-season was peppered with post summer-hockey beers with the boys, and lazy cottage weekends, but can’t wait for 7:30 Saturday night when the puck drops at our home opener.