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Finding light in the darkness: Tips to deal with no hockey


It’s a hard time in the world right now as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak spreads, and this has extended into our community: the hockey community. Our team at Women’s Hockey Life wants to share some light and guidance for our hockey family in this time.

From the pros, to youth hockey, to beer leagues, hockey seasons have been suspended or shut down and championships have been cancelled. Whether you’re a player, a fan, a coach, a parent, an official, someone working in the industry, or any other relation to hockey: we know this is affecting you deeply.

We know that for many, hockey goes beyond the ice; hockey is a way to handle your mental health, hockey is your way of life, hockey is the way you make a living, hockey means the world to you.

This isn’t to say that by feeling frustrated, sad, scared or any other emotion means you don’t understand the gravity of the situation and agree with the precautions being taken. You’re allowed to feel what you feel, but it’s what you do with those feelings and how you react to the situation that’s important.

Here are some ways you can cope:


It’s okay to feel the way you are feeling right now. Don’t hide from your emotions, pretend they aren’t there, or think that what you’re feeling is wrong.

You’re not alone in what you’re feeling.

For many, you’ve been preparing for these championships all season, you’ve been waiting for this moment since you were young, you’ve built your career around sports, or you’ve been cheering on your team all season just be unsure of when you’ll get to cheer again.

It’s frustrating and it’s scary and you’re allowed to feel the pain of missing out on these things.

If hockey helps you control your anxiety and keep your mental health in check, it’s okay to worry how you’ll cope. Just remember: you have allies around you and your teammates and others in the hockey community who understand and support you.

The important thing to keep in mind is that it’s temporary; the game will be back and you can use this time to be stronger when it returns.


While your feelings are valid, how you react to them is also crucial. You can let this control your thoughts or you can take a step back and gain some perspective.

One of our WHL Academy coaches, Carson Duggan shares her advice, “I am a big believer that even in the toughest of times, everything is relative. We complain about losing games or losing our phones but there are people far worse off than us. Be grateful for what you have, whether that is experiences, things, people, or your health.”

Your health is priority, and the reason for the cancellations and suspension is your health and the health of those around you.

You may feel like the world is out to get you or you may be angry at how unfair it all is, but don’t lose perspective on the situation—you cannot change the situation, but you can change how you handle the situation.

Focus on the positives:

  • What are your highlights from the season?
  • What did you learn this season?
  • What’s your favourite memory from this season?
  • What are you looking forward to next season?
  • Tell your teammates, your kids, your friends how proud you are of them.
  • Share encouragement with others (and in turn, you may find that focusing on those positives will help you feel better, too!)


Despite the circumstances you’re in, with the proper mindset, you can use this as an opportunity rather than a loss.

“We are all feeling the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). There is no denying the impact it’s having on the world and our niche of hockey. For those struggling emotionally with seasons ending short, championships not being played, or not having that one last practice with your teammates… I challenge you all to take this as an OPPORTUNITY to build new skills, to really focus, upgrade and work on your mindset, to love hard, and allow this experience to shape a stronger, more resilient YOU!” – Jaclyn Hawkins | Founder of Women’s Hockey Life and WHL Academy

Here are some ways you can use this as an opportunity:

  • Reflect on the season
    • Whether you’re a player, parent, coach, fan, or have a career in hockey, reflecting on the season is important to ensure your future success and there’s no better time to do it than now!
    • Make a game plan for the future: What did you do well? What could you have done better? What do you want to improve for next season? How can you meet your goals? Where can you find resources to help you?
  • Work on your skills
    • This is a great time to focus on mastering a skill you’ve been wanting to or learning a new one; if you take this time to focus on your skills, when hockey resumes, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition who didn’t!
    • Looking for some off-ice skills you can do from home for free? We teamed up with Olympians Brianna Decker and Kacey Bellamy to teach you off-ice stick handling skills. A new video is posted on our social media and YouTube every Wednesday, and you can catch up on our YouTube channel or by searching #WHLSkills on Twitter or Instagram, or check out our WHL Skills video playlist on Facebook!
  • Focus on your mindset & mental health
    • Meditate
    • Go for a long walk outside to enjoy nature
    • Practice gratitude
    • Learn new breathing techniques
    • Listen to podcasts or read books on mindset
  • Build your strength
    • Even if you can’t get to the gym, there’s still plenty you can do at home to ensure you stay in game-ready shape.
  • Connect with your teammates
    • Be a leader on your team: reach out and ask them how they’re doing, send encouragement, and offer your support.
  • Learn a new hobby or skill
    • Is there something you’ve been wanting to learn or do, but you haven’t had the time? Now’s the time!
  • Check in on people you haven’t in a while
    • While circumstances might dictate that face to face interactions aren’t always possible, take this time to text, call, or face time someone you’ve been meaning to or haven’t talked to in a while—you never know who may be struggling and need a friendly call!


At the end of the day, there are far bigger reasons that we play hockey than winning championships. Sure, that’s a big part of it, but the work that goes into getting to those championships, the skills you learn, the relationships you make, the life lessons you learn, and the impact it has on your mental wellbeing are all crucial parts to the game.

Take some time to reflect on this; sometimes we don’t realize how important something is in our life until it’s gone. Hockey goes far beyond the ice and being reminded of that can be beneficial to understanding why it’s so important to us and re-fueling our love for the game.


Sometimes, the best way to cope is to share and talk it out.

Talk to your teammates, talk to your parents, talk to your friends, talk to your children, talk to the hockey community. You have people who will support you and people who may need to hear what you have to say. Even if you inspire one person, it’s worth it.

If you’d like to share your thoughts with or get support from our Women’s Hockey Life community, you can post in our Women’s Hockey Life Community Facebook group or write a WHL People story for the website!

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