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'Confessions Of A Hockey Parent': Local Dad Examines Crazy World Of Competitive Youth Sports

"Pee Wees: Confessions of a Hockey Parent"
"Pee Wees: Confessions of a Hockey Parent" Photo Credit: Twitter/@richcohen2003

A New York Times bestselling “hockey parent” from Connecticut took a different tact with his latest book, this time going on the road and documenting a year in the life of his 11-year-old son’s Pee Wee hockey team.

Fairfield County resident Rich Cohen, of Ridgefield, followed his son Micah during the 2018-19 hockey season as he played for the Ridgefield Bears Pee Wee A team, which led to the conception of his latest book, “Pee Wee: Confessions of a Hockey Parent,” which was published earlier this year.

Cohen said that the idea for the book was born while talking with friends at the Brewster Ice Arena in Putnam County about the “ebbs, flows, and emotions” of following the team.

A former hockey player himself, Cohen said that he wasn’t ready for what it would be like for a parent watching his son on the ice from the other side of the glass.

“I wasn't prepared when I had kids and my son got into playing hockey (for) how intense the experience is. But when I'm in the middle of it, it's like you lose your mind," Cohen said to NHL.com. "You get so into it, the highs and the lows. That, to me, the best stuff to write about. I felt like I could write that guide in a way for parents.”

The book includes behind-the-scenes looks at parents, most of whom were cheering and supportive, though others cursed, coaches shouted and other behavior from the stands was included.

Cohen said that such behavior soured him from hockey, which he says is his number one sport and “his first love.”

“When I was a kid, it discouraged me from participating,” he said. “That was one of my fears of hockey for my son. When I was a Pee Wee, I ran into a really bad coach who was using a team as a vehicle for his kid. It made it not fun.

“I played through it, but it changed my relationship with hockey for a while, and I worried about that with my son too,” Cohen added. “What I thought I was protecting him from was the pitfalls you're talking about. It turned out that he was stronger than me in that regard. He didn't care because he just liked playing hockey.”

Cohen said that he wrote the book to highlight what he called “the best sport, which is the idea of a team.”

“It's a great lesson that a team of good players working like a team will beat a team of all-stars every time. What I love about hockey as opposed to other sports is everybody gets their chance,” he said.

Though he highlighted some of the darker sides of hockey parents, Cohen said that the goods of the sport outweigh the bad “by a million.”

“The kids don't even realize it. Even when it's a bad coach screaming at them, they tuned it out,” he said. “Being on the team -- the friends, the camaraderie, the lessons of the game, and then just how fun and exciting the games were -- outweighed it by a million."

Those interested in purchasing “Pee Wees: Confessions of a Hockey Parent” can do so here.

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