“Ok Team, who’s ready for some fun? It’s time for party games! Yay!”
The reaction to this question asked by any parent at the team icebreaker will probably be as follows: Novice and Atom kids will immediately begin jumping up and down screaming as if Santa Claus just arrived; Peewee and Bantam kids will feign interest but then take over with their own game that’s like, way better; Midget kids will pretend they didn’t hear you.
Every new season of minor hockey brings new teammates to the dressing room and onto the ice. Every new season of minor hockey also brings new teammates to the icebreaker party. While this party provides time for hockey moms to bond with their winter family, it’s probably as important that your player bonds with his or her teammates. I actually had a coach once tell me that it’s even more important that the players get to know each other and bond. I know, right?!
Apart from getting to know one another, icebreaker games serve another vital purpose: it keeps all the kids busy while the parents are participating in the Parent Meeting. So if it’s your job to run the icebreaker game at this year’s party, make sure it lasts as long as the Parent Meeting does!
My kids have played on many teams over the years and have participated in their fair share of icebreaker games. Here are a few of their favourites:
The Name Game is such an easy warm-up: have each player say their name, how long they’ve been playing hockey and one fun (true) fact about themselves.
Two Truths and a Lie is a also perennial call-up. Each player says three things about themselves but one of them is a lie. The rest of the team has to guess which isn’t true. This one’s fun for the parents to play too!
Shoe Talk is another fun but potentially stinky one, even for hockey parents who are used to hockey stink. Every player tosses one of their shoes in the middle of the room. Each player then picks up a shoe and tries to find its owner. The player then has to ask the shoe owner a question about themselves (help them out by having some questions ready!).
I personally love Mix and Meet because it involves eating M&Ms. Have the players sit in a circle. Pass around a bowl of M&Ms instructing the players to take a few but not eat any. Pass the bowl around until everyone has some M&Ms. For each M&M they have in their hands, they must share something about themselves. Each colour represents a different subject they have to share about. You can make these subjects up yourself, but for example, red could be favourite foods, blue might be favourite band, if they have a green M&M they have to share where they were born and so on. The best part is I get to eat the leftover M&Ms!
The Snowball Fight is pretty exciting and pretty Canadian too. Each player is given a piece of paper and asked to write down five facts about themselves. Then they crumple up the paper and begin a snowball fight. When they’ve thrown around a few snowballs – or someone breaks a lamp, whichever comes first – tell them to pick up the snowball closet to them. They then have to find out whose snowball they have by asking Yes or No questions to everyone on the team.
So whether your new hockey team is a fresh crop of recruits or seasoned veterans, everyone will get to know each other better by playing a game. It’s not called the Icebreaker Party for nothing, you know. If you’ve played a fun icebreaker game with your kids’ teams, please share it in the comments. I just might give it a go at our upcoming party!
Now… who’s ready for some fun?
Three cheers for the icebreaker games – let's get that puck rolling!
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