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The Coolest Hockey Bedroom EVER – The Locker

The Coolest Hockey Bedroom EVER is a series of posts chronicling the transformation from a boring bedroom to a hockey heaven for my toddler son. You can read about his dresser here. Have an idea for the room? Comment below.

Today’s installment of ‘I have too much time on my hands’ ‘The Coolest Hockey Bedroom EVER’ will cover the creation of a pint-sized hockey locker. Sure, you can buy these retail, but what fun is that? Rinkbuilders need SOMETHING to screw together haphazardly in the warm summer months, so why not address some storage/room awesomeness issues at the same time?

1 – The material list is pretty simplistic. It assumes that you already own things like a drill, screwdrivers, a table saw, and wood glue.

-Particleboard ($20, but see my note below)

-Hooks ($5)

-1″ Screws ($3)

-Paint (Free – used leftover indoor paint)

-Name Tag ($20 shipped)

What I’d do differently: I’d upgrade the wood I used. Wood can get a little spendy for some of the higher-end types, and my goal was to keep this project’s costs low. But I could have used an entry-level pine and still come out under $50, and the end result would have been much higher quality. Plus the particleboard can break and fall apart if your screws are too large.

2 – You’ll want to measure the area where you intend to place this locker, which will help you determine the dimensions of your particleboard. I had a little nook in a corner of my son’s room that would allow for a 1′ square locker footprint. The particleboard I purchased was 6′x1′, and I completed this entire project using four pieces.

You’ll build the body of the locker by simply gluing and screwing three full pieces of the 6′x1′ particleboard together. Run a thin bead of wood glue along the joint before joining the pieces, and be sure to drill pilot holes before screwing them together to keep your wood from splitting.

3 – Once you have your frame built and looking like the images above, you can measure out your shelving/seating setup. I did this by taking my extra fourth piece of particleboard and having it cut into four pieces: the top piece, the shelf, the seat, and the front facade along the floor.

What I’d do differently: I’d paint my pieces immediately after cutting, rather than waiting until the whole unit was assembled. It’s much easier to paint the wood pieces when they’re not assembled, as this allows you to work with different colors without having to worry about masking anything or painting in tight spots. My advice is to paint your pieces during step three.


4 – Put it all together. After making sure everything was square, I screwed the top piece on. I then slipped the shelf in, leveled it, drilled four pilot holes, and made it permanent with four screws.

For the seat, I first added the front facade, as that piece not only serves as the bottom front of the unit, but it also acts as the support for the front of the seat. I then took a scrap piece of 1″x2″ of pine, leveled it, and screwed it to the back wall of the locker to support the rear of the seat. Be sure this piece of 1″x2″ is at the same height as the top of your front facade. From there, it’s easy to slide your seating surface in, securing with wood glue and a few more screws.

What I’d do differently: I had initially intended to create a hinged seat (allowing for a ‘cubby’ of sorts underneath), but didn’t have the time or extra material to screw it up. If you choose to go this route, you’ll have to add some seat supports along the side so that the hinge doesn’t get bent the wrong way when your toddler leaps inside of it (and they will) The hinges were about $4.


5 – Now for the finishing touches. By far my favorite feature and what makes this thing really rad is the nametag. After doing a bit of googling one night, I ordered my son’s tag from www.nametagcountry.com. There are surely other sources, but many of the sites I found had volume minimums or higher prices. Once on the site, go to Products > Door Signs > Door Signs and select ‘Black Door Signs’. This provides you with a whole host of color combinations. We went with the Canary Yellow plate with black Arial text. It rules.

And what’s a locker if you can’t hang stuff in it? I opted to use three hooks in my son’s locker. The one in the back is a bit higher than the other two, which are placed lower because he’s only three and I wanted him to be able to reach them easily.

And there you have it! Aside from painting, it probably took me a grand total of two hours to build. My son went absolutely bananas when he came home from school the next day, which was precisely the point.

At the old house, we used to play mini hockey in the living room, where the couch was the bench, the loveseat was the penalty box, and the hardwood was the ice. Now we’ve added a new dimension to our indoor play: after each “buzzer”, we retreat to his bedroom where he sits in his locker, takes off his “skates”, and relaxes for 30 seconds before jumping up and repeating the whole scene. $50 and two hours of work to let my little winger pretend he’s chilling between periods of a close playoff game? Worth it and then some.

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Five Reasons Why I Love Hockey

The idea for this post was not my own. Rather, aided on a time-killing mission by my Google Reader, I stumbled onto a weekend post on the best pro hockey blog in the world, Yahoo’s Puck Daddy. It asked a simple question, and solicited a response from the everyfan: what is it about a hockey that made you a fan?

For me, there was no defining moment that announced my entry into hockey fandom. Considering that I was born into an old-fashioned French-Canadian hockey family, I suppose an argument could be made that the defining moment was my birth. But my point is that I was a hockey fan before I had the presence of mind to realize I was a hockey fan. As a toddler, I’d stand in front of the television and belt out the national anthem in step with Rene Rancourt.  Like many young children, I had my share of imaginary friends, though I’d be willing to bet most kids didn’t hang out with an invisible Pete Peeters.  And at parties, my parents got a kick out of calling me over and making me pronounce “Krushelnyski” in front of their friends.  I was a hockey kid, through and through.  But my upbringing alone did not make me the fan of the game that I am today.

1 – Family

I began playing hockey at the age of four.  As the years passed, hockey was a part of my life in every way.  At four, it was dad waking me up while it was still dark to drive to JFK for 5:30 games.  At eight, it was visiting Rhode Island, Connecticut, or Vermont for weekend tournaments, eating at fun new restaurants and spending hours in hotel pools and game rooms.  At twelve, it was the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Anchorage for the National Championships.  At the time, I didn’t think much past the games themselves.  But looking back, I realize now all of the quality time spent with my family.  Those early intro-mite games, it was my dad nudging me awake and gearing me up in the living room.  The tournaments?  Those were weekends filled with games and friends, but also quality time with my parents and my sister.  I can remember being a 13-year-old, playing on a Boston-area travel team, driving hours for one Saturday game.  How many teenagers do you think spend entire weekend days with their parents?  I did, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was damn lucky.

I’m long past those days of travel hockey and hotel video game tournaments.  But a funny thing is happening in my life these days: I’m in the exact same place my dad was some 26 years ago.  My son, all of three years old, is a carbon copy of the toddler I once was.  His favorite toys are his hockey guys, and he plays with them every day.  He can execute a between-the-legs drop pass in the living room, and knows the top shelf from the five hole.  And while he’s an only child at the moment, he’s had an imaginary brother for at least a year now.  His name?  Michael Ryder (insert your salary cap joke here).  So while my competitive playing days are over, I am eagerly awaiting the dawn of a new career.  And while I hope my son succeeds in all he does, I don’t sit around and think about goals and wins and scholarships and contracts.  I’m just looking forward to the car rides, post-game pizzas, and tournament weekends.  And I hope that someday he too will look back and realize that while the game of hockey provides satisfaction in the moment, it also helps form tremendous familial bonds that transcend the game itself.  In my 30 years on Earth, hockey has brought my family together more than anything else.

2 – Playing Outdoors

I can’t quite put my finger on its genesis, but there is an ongoing movement in North America to bring hockey back outside.  It seems to have started around 2005, and in five short years, outdoor hockey has grown tremendously.  The member count of the Yahoo Backyard Rink group that I belong to grows every month, and there are pond hockey tournaments taking place from December to March in just about every locale whose weather system will support it.  Many participants in these events grew up on outdoor rinks.  Those players see these backyard rinks and pond hockey tournaments as a way to get back to their roots and revisit their youth.  They look back at their growth and development as players and have the local ponds and lakes to thank.  But there is a fascinating and overlooked phenomenon that is taking place at the same time.  Outdoor hockey, for many players, is serving as a re-introduction to the game.  Speaking for myself and most of my friends and cousins, the outdoor game is relatively new to us.  I know that for me, aside from a small handful of pond hockey games, I grew up in ice rinks and on organized teams.  My parents just didn’t have a flat yard that would lend itself to a backyard rink, and I don’t recall being dropped off at the local pond for a quick game of shinny on any sort of regular basis.  Outdoor hockey just wasn’t a topic of conversation, and that suited me just fine.  But with this latest surge of outdoor love, I am experiencing this great game in an entirely new way.  And with events like the New England Pond Hockey Classic introducing more people like me to the joys of outdoor hockey, my hope is that this growth continues.  Because even though playing pond hockey doesn’t conjure up images of my youth for me, playing outside with friends and relatives certainly has an invigorating fountain-of-youth quality to it.

3 – Playing With Pros

I’m convinced that hockey players are among the most accessible professional athletes in the world.  And I’m not just talking about autograph sessions or charity events either.  I’m talking about how relatively common it is to end up in the same locker room as guys who make their living playing professional hockey.  There’s this example (down in the reader section), where locked-out Boston Bruins’ center Adam Oates played a full season with a Worcestor-based men’s league team.  Or this story in the Gazette about how NHLers PJ Stock and Felix Potvin take part in a pond hockey tournament in Quebec.  And there was Maxim Afinogenov down in Alabama earlier this year. There are dozens of stories like these.  When’s the last time Albert Pujols took batting practice at your local field?  Do you think LeBron James structures his off-season workouts around the local YMCA pickup game schedule?

But hockey players are different.  From the kids at the learn-to-skate programs around the world to the world class players taking part in the Olympics, each one of them shares a similar love for the game.  So when it comes time to hang them up, be it for a union lockout or a career, it’s difficult for these players to stay away.  And when the fans and contracts and stadiums disappear, what’s left are the blue collar lunchpail leagues, the charity tournaments, and the outdoor events.

I’ve been fortunate to play with several current and past professionals, and it never ceases to amaze me at the tremendous skill levels that these individuals possess, even decades after their last paid game.  I’m just a 30-something-washed-up-ex-college player, but in the last year alone, I have: played in a charity tournament with a current LA Kings prospect; played all winter in a men’s league with a former Hobey Baker Award winner and his brother, who played 13 years in Europe; been a defensive partner of an ex-NHLer who played over 530 games for the Devils, Blues, Coyotes, Stars, and Bruins; and taken part in a pond hockey tournament with ex-NHLers who still reside in the Northeast.  This kind of stuff just doesn’t happen in other sports, and it’s us lucky blue-collar men’s league guys who benefit from watching these guys on the ice with us week after week.  Seeing their tremendous talents on display right in front of your eyes can only make you a better player, and the fact that they are willing to play where there are no contracts or cameras shows the passion and love they have for the game.  And both the skills and affinity for this great game are very easy to feed off of.

4 – NHL Playoffs

I understand that hockey is not for everyone.  It struggles to compete with the WNBA for TV time, has to fight ice dancing for prime coverage during the Olympics, and is generally regarded by mainstream America as something that slots in between couples badminton and competitive laundry-folding on the importance scale.  But to the folks that don’t quite get it, I beg you: watch, nay, ATTEND an NHL playoff game.  I’m not sure I would have included this item a year ago.  But last spring, I was lucky enough to go to every Bruins home playoff game in what we thought might be a magical season.  I had seen enough playoff hockey on TV in my lifetime to make me think that I knew what to expect.  But the ambiance, not only in the Garden, but in the subway, the streets, and the restaurants around the Garden, was so ignited that you could feel the energy around you.  As game time approached, the hoards of people outside the arena shuffled towards it, heckling those crazy enough to wear opposition sweaters.  We funneled into the building’s escalators, as nervous and excited and anxious as the players themselves.  Spilling out onto the concourse, the impending explosion of intensity and fury enveloping us.  Then walking through the opening to our seats, the sonic boom of excitement and apprehension forming a deafening roar that doesn’t let up for three hours.  That is playoff hockey.  And that is why I wish there was a way to bottle it and release it to everyone.  Because I have yet to meet a single person who has watched a playoff hockey game and not come away wondering why they didn’t watch hockey more often.

5 – The Ice

It’s funny how you can play 20-something years of competitive hockey, and yet look back and still remember something as seemingly mundane as pre-practice ice.  But I remember it so vividly that I can smell the cold rink air as I type this.  When I was in high school, our school day ended at 2:33 on the button.  Practice started at 3:15, but our slot at West Side Arena opened up at 3:00.  The rink was relatively close to school, leaving us plenty of time to get ready for our daily skate.  For some, this half hour was time to relax, to joke, to unwind from the school day with their buddies in the locker room.  But not me.  Because nobody rented the time slots in the few hours leading up to our practice time, the ice hadn’t been touched in hours.  The hot water laid down by the Zamboni had long frozen, leaving our cold home rink ice a silky smooth white sheet, with not so much a single skate mark in it.  Until I made them.  There’s something about taking something so innocent and pure and perfect and dancing around on it.  After jumping onto the ice I’d glide to the bench and drop off my backup stick, looking back to see the parallel tracks I’d made, with tiny flecks of ice next to them.  Then I’d test my edges, making giant C’s in the ice.  I’d grab a puck and slide it across the rink, letting it bounce off the boards before scooping it up and racing down the ice with it, chips of ice exploding off my skates with each stride.  Within five minutes my teammates would join me, practice would start, and the perfect ice I’d enjoyed would be relegated to a mishmash of cross-overs and hockey stops.  And I’d have to look forward to the next afternoon.  I made my last pre-practice cuts 12 years ago, but the feeling of the ice under my blades and the echoing of my Sher-Wood in the empty arena have been programmed into my soul.

~-~

For a while after college, I was done with hockey.  I was tired of playing competitively, I was angry with the Bruins for their miserly ways, and I was willing to walk way from the sport when the lockout begged us to do so.  But I’m back in a major way.  First it was my hockey-loving son, born in 2006.  Then it was the Bruins-Habs Game Six in 2008.  Then it was my backyard rink and my introduction to the world according to Jack Falla.  Then it was this blog, and the realization that my hockey life had done an incredible job in preparing me for my real life.  And as I sit here now, a few short years away from becoming a true hockey dad, I’m realizing how much I owe to this game, how much I love this game, and how much I want to share this game with the world.

Thanks, hockey.

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Images courtesy of D’Arcy Norman, borevagen, and laverrue

Chatter Cup Recap, T-Shirts, Twitter and More

Just a bit of Friday morning administrivia. New content coming Monday!

Chatter Cup

This past weekend was the 2010 Chatter Cup tournament, and if you’re in my social circle, you’re probably sick of me mentioning it. But my drive and motivation for raising money for Easter Seals and its autism program is a direct result of the passion that Mike, Craig, and the rest of the event organizers have for the event. And what an event it was. On the ice, the three-peat was not to be, as our squad was shutout by an insanely hot goaltender and a team of younger legs in the finals. But MUCH more importantly, the event raised an incredible $40,000, besting last year’s total by more than ten grand. Our team raised over $2,000 in one month, with a percentage of that coming directly from this website. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I had promised a Backyard-Hockey.com t-shirt to one person who donated via this site, but because of the outpouring of donations and the fact that we more than doubled our team goal, each person who donated from this site will be getting a shirt. I will be in touch with each of you in the next week or so.

Backyard-Hockey.com Apparel Store

Did somebody say t-shirts? How about t-shirts, hoodies, long-sleeve tees, and more? That’s the plan for the Backyard-Hockey.com apparel store, which is in the process of being built. It has a target launch date of October 1, 2010. The store will be broken out into two parts: B-H.com logo merchandise, and a kids’ hockey slogan line.

***UPDATE – OUR STORE IS NOW OPEN***

The logo apparel will be redesigned each year, and will be based on the ‘hockey roots’ logo. Here’s a sneak peak of the 2010 version.

And if you’re like me (a hockey-nuts father of a toddler), it can be frustrating when looking for hockey clothing for your little ones. I’m hoping to fill that void with an original, limited-edition line of clothing for infants and toddlers. Stay tuned for more details.

Twitter

You may have seen this update last week on our Facebook page, but Backyard-Hockey.com is now on Twitter at @BackyardHockey. The goal with Twitter is not simply to broadcast new blog posts, but rather to more easily connect with readers and to facilitate conversation with other bloggers, industry experts, merchants, and hockey players. Twitter has a unique ability to make accessible people and entities that were previously inaccessible. What does that mean for you? As our ‘follower-ship’ grows, so too will the ability for us to pass on news, events, products, and site links quicker and more often than writing a blog post. Another reason to join? I’m working on some promotions, giveaways, and hockey merchant coupons and deals (see below) that will be solely for our Twitter followers. Join now so you don’t miss out!

Affiliates

While it won’t be a full site redesign, you will begin to see some changes around here in the next few weeks. In an attempt to help grow the site, support its readers, and create valuable hockey relationships, I’m partnering Backyard Hockey up with several online merchants, the first two being HockeyShot.com and Total Hockey.

HockeyShot.com is the “largest online specialty retailer of hockey training equipment in North America,” and their site contains a dizzying array of on- and off-ice training aids, videos, and equipment designed to make you a better hockey player. Check out their site – I did, and then I started my Christmas list. They have some seriously cool and innovative products, and I’m excited to be able to share them with you.

Total Hockey is known in the Chicago and St. Louis area as THE hockey store, but their online presence is no slouch either. Containing the newest and most popular ice hockey, inline hockey, and goalie equipment, TotalHockey.com is a great source for all your gear needs. If you need skates, sticks, helmets, or anything else, I urge you to check out TotalHockey.com first.

You’ll start seeing links to these sites around this page soon. Backyard-Hockey.com will never become one of those sites that barrages you with blinking ads, and I have no intention of quitting my ‘real’ job to turn this into a money-making venture. But my hope is that if you’ve read the content on this site and found it useful, funny, introspective,  or simply not awful, and you’re looking to make a hockey-based purchase, you’ll consider purchasing through one of the links on this site. By doing so, you’re supporting the website and allowing us to pursue new and creative ways to grow the Backyard Hockey community. My list of ideas of how to accomplish that gets longer by the day. What makes many of these ideas possible is the monetization of the more popular areas of this site.

Quick request: if you do patronize these merchants, let me know how it went! Shipping time, prices, quality, customer service interaction…I want to know about it all. I want Backyard-Hockey.com to be the best, and I only want to partner with the best. To do that, I need to hear about your experiences.

So that’s all from behind the keyboard. I can’t thank you enough for keeping this site in your regular internet wheelhouse, and I look forward to growing with and for you in the next few months!


Photo by newlow.

If These Walls Could Talk

My wife looked at me and shook her head, her disdain hidden by a wry smile. “Go ahead,” she said. But I could tell in her tone that what she really wanted to say was, “Go ahead, you freaking lunatic, while I stay home and try to figure out how I managed to marry a little boy trapped in a man’s body.”

So like any good husband, I did what my wife said. I went.

Within three hours I was standing in the Uhaul parking lot. When the Uhaul guy asked me why I needed a 15′ trailer at 5pm on a Tuesday, I explained my mission. The look on his face made me wonder if he had gone to school with my wife. They must have taken ‘What The Hell 101′ together.

We towed the trailer south, the ‘we’ comprised of myself and my dad, the mostly-willing wingman for most of my ridiculous ideas. Sometimes he shares in my enthusiasm. More often, he sees the enthusiasm in me and comes along for moral support and needed muscle because that’s what dads do. This particular night he was the latter.

We arrived at our destination a couple hours before dark. We ambled around the beautiful property until we saw our prizes nestled under a cloak of tarp and pine needles.

“Are we really doing this?” I asked nobody in particular.

“Shut up and grab that end, it’s getting dark,” said the wingman.

And so we lugged, and heaved, and pushed, and swore, and pulled, and strapped. It wasn’t until we were back on the road headed north that I looked back, snapped a picture with my phone, and realized how absurdly awesome this all was.

I owned real hockey boards.

I never really intended to own real hockey boards. But if you believe in cosmic alignment and fate and all that, then you’ll believe me when I say that the boards found me. After all, it was June, hardly a season for backyard rinks. And hardly a season to be checking the backyard rink mailing list. But I did. And amid the posts about summer plans and lighting, there was a post from a guy named Dave McKenna. The subject told me what I’d be doing that night:

“Hockey Boards from Chelmsford Forum…Free”

They were located 45 minutes from my house – I could be there by dinner. I forwarded the email to my wife, then met her in our work cafeteria for visual confirmation of her approval. Working for the same company has some odd benefits. Ignoring the head-shaking and laughter, approval was granted.

There were some logistical concerns, but I ignored most of them. I mean, I was picking up FREAKING HOCKEY BOARDS. 45 minutes away. For free. The logistics could be figured out later – I had to have those boards in my possession.

As we drove to Middleton, we talked about the people who had probably ripped shots off these boards or buried opposing players into them. The Chelmsford Forum, at least when I was growing up, was better known as the Tully Forum, home of the University of Massachusetts – Lowell hockey team.  Lowell played their last game at Tully in 1998, but even still, we easily rattled off a dozen names of players who had probably touched these boards. Paul Kariya (Maine), Chris Drury (Boston University), Hal Gill (Providence), Jay Pandolfo (Boston University), Brian Gionta (Boston College), Brian Leetch (Boston College), Kevin Stevens (Boston College), Tony Amonte (Boston University), Keith Tkachuk (Boston University), Craig Janney (Boston College), Marty St. Louis (University of Vermont), Bill Guerin (Boston College). There are some Hall of Fame names in that bunch, and now a tiny piece of their hockey history would exist in my backyard.

But the fact that gobs of current and former pros played within these very boards was only part of the allure. That’s because I left one name off the list of players above: my own. For a large portion of my youth hockey days, I spent at least one day a week at Tulley playing for my local travel team. In 1993, I played a full season in the Metro Boston Hockey League for the then-named Lowell Jr. Chiefs, and I probably spent more time at Tulley that year than I did in my bedroom. It was a difficult season for me, playing with new kids in a highly-competitive league, but I grew as a player and formed some great memories there. It’s funny: of all the rinks in New England, I managed to score the ones I probably spent the most time leaning on as a kid. And now a memento of all those years is sitting under my deck, ready to absorb wrist shots and bodychecks from a new generation of wide-eyed, wobbly-ankled hockey stars.

This may seem ridiculous. Here I am, devoting thirteen-hundred words to a pile of decades-old wood, steel, and plastic, talking about them like cherished family heirlooms. But it turns out I’m not alone – at least among the backyard rink crowd.

Remember Dave McKenna, the guy who gave away the boards on the backyard rink mailing list? He has a bit of an affinity for these things as well. His rink, a fully-boarded 80×53-foot beauty, came to be from a series of chance board encounters. His first set came from Valley Sports Arena, which had scheduled a rink teardown on a Monday in April 2009. Problem was, Dave had won a quartet of Red Sox Opening Day tickets as part of a Jack Falla Fund event, and the game and rink teardown were slated to take place at the same time. But along came cosmic alignment and fate (dressed as a BU professor, perhaps?), and the Sox game was rained out. Dave’s board collection had begun. Later in the summer of 2009, Dave took a different way to work one morning, passing by the rear of the Chelmsford Forum. The glare of sun-on-white-plastic caught his eye. With approval from the job foreman inside the rehabbing rink, Dave added to his collection. The UMass Mullins Center was the donor for his next set, with his final batch coming on behalf of the Burlington Ice Palace. The last acquisition gave him more than enough for his backyard haven, making the Tulley/Chelmsford boards expendable. I’ve never been so happy that someone I hardly know took a different route to work.

While we were driving home with the boards in tow, I uploaded the grainy, blurry picture I had taken with my phone onto my personal Facebook account. “Just another day in our life”, I captioned. As people commented with guesses on what the pile of junk in the trailer was, my good friend and fellow rinkbuilder Scott Millin recognized them right away. He commented: “You are taking a piece of Chelmsford home with you. [My son] Danny leaned on those when taking his first strides in skates. Treat them well, and be sure the snowthrower clears the top of ‘em.”

I think about the future a lot, and marvel about how terrifyingly short my son’s childhood is. Before long, his generation will run off to do whatever it is that they do when it’s no longer cool to hang out with your parents, on a backyard rink or otherwise. The boards will be stacked neatly under the deck – maybe forever, or maybe awaiting a new batch of prospects from the genealogy draft. The puck marks and dents and warped kickplates will tell the stories of Hockey East games, of Metro Boston practices, of Chelmsford Youth Hockey Learn-to-Skates. And now, because of cosmic alignment, fate, Dave McKenna, my dad, and a Uhaul trailer, they’ll be able to tell our story, and the stories of everyone else who will learn to trust their edges in our backyard.

If they could only talk.

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The Coolest Hockey Bedroom EVER - The Dresser

The Coolest Hockey Bedroom EVER is a series of posts chronicling the transformation from a boring bedroom to a hockey heaven for my toddler son. You can read about his locker here. Have an idea? Comment below.

Selling a house and buying a new one can be a stressful experience, even for adults. Add in a routine-loving three-year-old and that raises the anxiety bar a few notches. So weeks before we closed on our new home, we started telling our son what the experience would be like. We wanted to make him excited for the move rather than nervous or scared, so we told him about the new yard, the neighborhood, the close proximity to his friends from daycare – we hyped it all. And we did what any parent of a sports-loving toddler would do – we promised him the coolest bedroom EVER.

For our son, that means a hockey room. More specifically, that means a Boston Bruins hockey room. I had a few ideas about what this room would look like, but when I turned to the internet for some more ideas and inspiration, I didn’t find a whole lot. In my world, that means two things: wing it, then write about it. I’m no finish carpenter, and I’m a long ways away from my own design show on HGTV, but hopefully this helps someone out there who is looking for inexpensive ideas for a child’s hockey bedroom.

If you’ve played hockey for any length of time, then you probably have most of the parts you’ll need for this basic-but-cool dresser.

1 – Find an old dresser

The one I used started its life a couple decades ago in my childhood bedroom. At the time, it was dark brown stained unit with dark brass drawer pulls. If you don’t have anything in need of refinishing around your house, then check your local craigslist for used dressers, or spend part of a Saturday at some local yard sales. You should have no problem finding one for under $50. Oh, and the older the better, as most of the cheap new stuff is made of particleboard, which is tough to sand or paint.

2 - Prep and Paint

Remove the hardware, then sand and re-paint the dresser. I used whatever sandpaper I had laying around the garage, then threw on a couple coats of some cheap white interior paint. I told you – not exactly HGTV-approved. I chose white because I thought black or gold would be a bit much.

3 - Plan the Pulls

While the paint dries, take a look at the layout of the existing pulls on the dresser drawers. You’ll be replacing them with either hockey sticks or hockey pucks depending on what was there beforehand. If the drawers had pulls with two screw holes, you’ll use cut pieces of a hockey stick. If they are just knobs with one screw hole, you’ll use a puck. Count out the number of pucks and the number of stick pulls you’ll need and write it down. For the drawers that will use the stick pulls, be sure to measure the distance between the two holes (note: 3″ is standard). For the dresser I used, I needed six stick pulls and three pucks.

Once you know how many stick and puck pulls you need, trudge out to wherever you keep your bag of pucks and your graveyard of busted hockey sticks. This is where your creative side comes out. Do you have some souvenir hockey pucks that will match the rest of the room? Use those. Are you using an old dented dresser and want to continue the look? Grab some beat up pucks with chunks missing. I ended up using three non-labeled, relatively new pucks for my son’s dresser, but let your personality and the room’s theme come out when making your decision.

The same advice goes for the stick. You can use wood or composite, but be sure you know what you’re cutting so that you can use the right sawblade. Also be careful cutting anything with fiberglass, since it splinters easily into very fine pieces that can be a pain to get out of one’s fingers. Also take into account the color of the stick, and any wording on it that you might not want showing once you cut the pulls to size  (ie, be careful when cutting mid-word on an old Titan stick, ahem). For my son’s dresser, I used an old wooden Sher-Wood 7000 stick that was broken at the blade.

At this point you’ll also want to obtain the necessary hardware you’ll use to attach the pulls to the drawers. I won’t tell you exactly what to buy since different hardware stores stock different items, but I went with a thin 3″ flathead screw, a nut for each screw, and a ton of washers of various sizes. I’ll show some pictures of the pull install below, but the most important things to be sure of is that it will fit the existing holes in the drawer face, and that they are long enough to go through a stick/puck, a few washers, and the face of the drawer, with enough threads poking through inside the drawer to tighten on the nut. It may help to bring a screw you removed from the original pulls to verify the thickness of the new hardware you’re buying.

4 – Create the Pulls

Since the drawer pull holes were 3″ apart and I wanted a bit of overhang on each end, I cut the stick into six 6″ pieces.  Because there was some fiberglass in the stick, I sanded it a ton. Your kids will have their hands all over these things for years, so it’s best to make them as smooth and safe as possible before installing.

Once you have your stick pulls cut and sanded, place them into a vice and drill the holes that the screws will go through. For the pucks, just drill one hole directly into the center. For the sticks, you’ll need to drill the holes to the exact width of the holes on the drawer face, and centered as much as possible on the pull itself (trust me, it’ll look better installed if the holes are in the same place on every piece of stick).

If you’re not good at this kind of stuff, here’s the easiest way to do this (assuming your pull holes are the standard 3″ apart): Take a tape measure and measure the width of your stick pull. Put a mark directly in the center. Measure 1.5″ to the left of that mark, and put a dot. Then measure 1.5″ to the right of the center mark, and put another dot. Drill your holes on the dots.

4 – Install the Pulls

Again, creativity and winging-it at its best. I wanted the pulls to jut out from the face of the drawers a bit, and since I have zero patience when it comes to this stuff, I just bought a package of thick stainless nuts that were a size or two larger than the screws I was using. They did the trick, and I think the pictures will help show how I did this. Inside the drawers, use a washer and a nut to tighten each pull.

Voila! What you have now is a refurbished dresser with the only drawer pulls of their kind in the world! And if your son or daughter is anything like mine, they’ll absolutely love it!

(An FYI…my wife found this great Bruins lamp at a local store, but it’s made by a company called Guidecraft. It’s available at Amazon, and fits perfectly with the rest of the room.)