Thank you for appreciating your hockey coach at the end of the season. As a coach (mostly soccer these days), I’ll tell you that being appreciated is, well… appreciated. It is nearing the end of the season and the hunt is on for hockey coach gifts.
Would you be surprised to learn that appreciating the coach doesn’t always happen? I volunteer to coach for 25 weeks of the year for my son and daughter (twins). Yes, the joy of coaching comes from seeing the kids have fun, grow, and gain experiences. Yet, it can sometimes be a grind.
So, let me first thank you for making this ‘thank you’ to your hockey coach a special moment – it will make an impact. It helps with retaining volunteer coaches for the next season and hockey coach gifts, when done right, help the emotional well-being of a busy parent to feel appreciated by the community they serve.
Many people scratch their heads when they consider the best hockey coach gift idea for THEIR coach. This feeling is common because most parents don’t know Coach all that well. When we don’t know someone, we risk a dud of a gift.
Below are 5 keys to consider that could change how you approach gifting now and in the future. Especially if you aren’t 100% sure what to give. I’ve done the research, conducted interviews, and have been told precisely what your hockey coaches genuinely want.
5 Keys to the Best Hockey Coach Gifts
Key #1: “Choice” is THE Best Gift for Your Hockey Coaches
The best hockey coach gift is the gift that your coach wants.
I know this because I have interviewed hundreds of coaches, not to mention teachers, nurses, first responders, camp counselors, and others, on their gift preferences. They consistently say the same thing – in two parts:
- They love being recognized with a personal note, in writing (digital or paper notes), with a message about how they made a unique impact, AND
- Having the choice of their gift.
These two pieces, combined, are what they really love.
Over and over, hockey coaches tell us what they don’t need: another dry-erase clipboard with the rink layout, an engraved whistle, a beanie to keep warm, or gym bag. BTW, Teachers tell us they don’t want another scented candle or lotion, apple-related [anything], coffee mug, desk decorations, or coffee. Coaches and Teachers are almost always parents and spouses with household needs that are as varied as the days are long.
So, the best gifts for hockey coaches are…
Gift cards, but not just any gift card…
The ability to choose their gift card.
But wait, there is a catch…
Key #2: Include the Other Parents in Your Hockey Coach Gifts
A group gift that includes the other parents is powerful and has the most significant, lasting meaning.
Let me explain why.
Please, don’t be skeptical with a “more is better” reaction. Surprisingly, this isn’t the case. Your coach doesn’t care as much about the gift card amount. Going back to Key #1… Being recognized with a personal note is the emphasis here.
Coach wants to read how they impacted and made a difference for the team. Few experiences are more fulfilling than impacting the lives of a cohort around a shared experience like hockey. A personal note is what matters. Often these are written by the parents to Coach. Therefore, player input is essential. The reason for player input is multifaceted and nuanced.
This shows that the children are talking about their experiences with their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or others. It means that hockey is more to the player than just time on the ice. It is also a reflection of what the coach is teaching the players.
If one note is impactful, then a group of messages, including the other players, is significant.
I have learned what this means as a coach: because coaches bond with a team of players, seeing the messages from the group induces a collective emotion. Group cohesion is what coaches teach players in practice. An essential lesson of team sports is that teams win and lose together.
A group gift from the team mirrors how your coach thinks about the hockey season. When Coach decides which players to put into Goal, Wing, Center, or Defense and when to change up the line, it is a consideration of the individual players and a decision for how the team will perform.
Now, you might be thinking… “Great, a group gift; who has time to organize that?” Not to worry: there’s an exact solution for that.
Key #3: “How” You Appreciate Your Hockey Coach Matters
I’m going to share something that isn’t discussed much. The season’s low point for me happens just after the last game is wrapped, the players are gone, and I’m driving home. The emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. “I’ll never have a team like that again. Not with the same players, age, the season of their lives, nor mine.”
Maybe I’m unique in this melancholy at the wrap of the season.
Sure, we still organize the post-season pizza party, where trophies are handed out like when we were kids. (Rusty’s Pizza was our place of choice, and our Round Table was awesome). High School teams typically still have an awards party.
I want to emphasize the importance of how you set the stage to appreciate Coach. The feeling you create here is part of the best gift your hockey coach can get.
At the end of the last period of the final game, round up the parents and thank the coach. Do that silly “2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate?…” cheer and shake hands with Coach or hug her. Take some photos, post them online, and tag Coach. Ideally, hand her something (see Key #5 below) to be opened later – after that car ride when the adrenaline has worn off and the melancholy sets in.
Key #4: Be a Gift-Giving Hero to the Other Parents
You are HELPING the other parents out.
I get how busy life is (I have four kids). The end of hockey season lands at the busiest time of year. (There are only about 5 days of the year that AREN’T busy, right??) By organizing a group gift, you are a real hero to other busy parents!
Parents have told me that the idea of appreciating Coach usually arises at the last minute. They feel it is too late to do something meaningful and genuine when that occurs.
More than 50% of the ‘last minute parents’ say this thought crosses their mind the day before or the day of the last game. I’m in this group, BTW.
So, if you are reading this and you are EARLY — and by early, I mean the day or two before or even just a few hours before the end of the last game — you can take action right now. But first, read Key #5 below.
Key #5: This Hockey Coach Gift Solution is EASY to Pull Off.
An easy group gift solution ties all of these Keys together.
The Appreciation Company was founded to solve gift-giving quandaries for busy parents. And I address what coaches have told us is the most meaningful to them: notes of appreciation from the group and choice.
Here’s how it works:
- Organizing a digital group gift is as easy as a few clicks:
- Give the appreciation a name like “Coach Hank, Blue Thunder Hockey 2023”,
- Assign Coach as the recipient with a name and email address and
- Invite other contributing parents with a link via email or SMS generated by the service.
That’s it! There is even a template for email or SMS.
- Each parent can write Coach a personalized note and contribute to a gift card balance. Notes and gift balances are collected in a permanent album that Coach can see over and over for years. (Criteria #1 and #2) BONUS: With this service, parents can contribute after the deadline.
- A coach can see all those personalized notes as albums AND convert that balance into gift cards (Criteria #3) from merchants of her choosing.
By the way, there is no cost to organize an appreciation event. You can use The Appreciation Company to recognize coaches, teachers, instructors – anyone that leads a group experience.
This solution is the 1# all-time best hockey coach gifts. We’ve done the research, we have the feedback. Your Coach will love it!
Sign up in just a few clicks, and get to group-gifting — and sincerely appreciating! — your coaches with ease.