Awhile back a twitter conversation took place about hockey dreams, I believe kicked off by our own Ellen Etchingham. Apparently, a number of hockey players (at all levels) have a recurring dream where they can’t successfully get all their gear on to play in the game. Another person said they constantly dream about missing one crucial piece of equipment that stops them from playing.

Both sound like cases of wanting to play, but being unable to. Well, for some people, that’s not such a bad thing.

When you play hockey for a living, naturally, you dream about it. During my playing days, the majority of mine were based on or around an ice surface. That sounds great, except for one thing: scoring in a dream sucks when your stats matter.

As an offensive player, the most important thing to my livelihood were goals, assists, points. You get so few chances to convert over the course of your 20 minutes on the ice, and even fewer where you succeed, that you hate to have those taken away from you.

And that’s what would happen to me – backdoor tap-in, boom. Clean breakaway, five-hole. Slapper through a screen, done. Hey, empty-netter, what a great bonus! Up to 18 goals on the year!

And then I’d wake up and be back to 14. “God dammit, now I’ve gotta do all that work over again.”

I thought it was interesting that so many people – and not just people playing the game for a living – had recurring hockey dreams. So, since it’s summer, I thought I’d be good to hear from you: are you one of these sick obsessives that regularly dreams hockey?

If so, tell us about them in the comments. Let’s have a chat.

Comments (47)

  1. I had the dream where I couldn’t get all my gear on a couple of weeks ago. Usually, I can exert a modicum of control over my dreams as well (fond of using fast forward and rewind when I do control, which I suppose my method of control says something about me as well), but the hockey dream I had no control over. That morning I woke up at 5am to go to early-morning-old-and-slow practice/lessons. Had all my gear then.

    • That’s cool you have FF and REW options. I’ve got the power, for the most part, to recognize a dream and be like, nah, this is scary, I’m waking up now.

  2. For as much as I think about hockey, I don’t dream about it much at all. I think it’s the only break my brain gets from it. But I have had that “can’t get my gear on” dream once or twice. Of course, on really tired days, it occasionally happens to me in reality. “The roll goes on the outside, right?”

    Back when I first started in goal, it was kinda traumatic though, so when I really had an epically rough night between the pipes, I’d dream of pucks flying at me all night. Might as well not sleep at all when that happens. Not very relaxing. :\ Thankfully I grew out of that phase, though sometimes bad goals will haunt me in that twilight phase between awake and asleep and I’ll jerk awake trying to make that save. *shudder* Hate that.

    • What’s crazy to me, is how separate the world of goaltending is. I mean, I know quite a bit about the game, but I couldn’t get dressed in goalie gear. I know nothing of using different techniques like VHS. I was even wrong the last time we talked about goalie hollows. I thought it was one-inch, you say 1/2-inch, ya?

  3. Mine are always location based; can’t find the locker room, can’t find the ice. Probably less annoying when I wake up, but just as frustrating in-dream.

    • I feel like these are connected to our real problems. Are you bad w/ directions? I have one where I punch like I’m underwater in fights, and just can’t do any damage.

  4. I have the “I forgot my (insert equipment piece)” dream sometimes. However, the hockey dream I have the most of is skating in quick sand. It’s the same feeling when the thing from behind the shed is coming to get you and you can’t run fast enough….except I’m in a game and I can’t skate fast enough. I recognize it’s a dream, but lack the ability to control said dream. At least I can wake up relieved that I’m faster then what my dream made me….well….a little faster anyways.

    • Hate those dreams. I said above I have that with the speed of my punches in fights. Just, molasses.

      • Yes, fight dreams for me are typically no good. In my fight dreams my arms feel like a gassed pair of triple-OT legs. No energy.

  5. Just as a happy and very active rec player, constantly had that dream where I was trying to get to the rink and the gear problems and whatnot were going on. Got to the point where I was so pissed at not being able to play that I went out without the stuff just to get to play. Then wake up and go to work. suuucked.
    Summer hockey is non existent now that I’m in Finland so now in the dream I can’t even get to the damn rink before I wake up.

    Having just read through that, I think I probably need to see a shrink.

  6. I also have dreams in which I can’t…quite…get…ready in time to get on the ice, either because I’m missing a piece of gear, a lace breaks, or whatever. All of a sudden, I’m the only one in the locker room, racing to get ready but never succeeding.

    I figure it’s a stress dream; my subconscious is dealing with some kind of anxiety, and that’s how it manifests.

    Incidentally, I was one of the commenters on the horrific dislocated kneecap thread from a while back. Since I’ve been on the IR, I’ve had other hockey dreams — not the anxiety ones, but ones in which I’m actually playing. Whole plays develop, the puck goes up and down, etc. It’s nice to be back on skates, even if only for a bit.

    So: maybe the subconscious uses hockey dreams to help us deal with day-to-day stuff.

    • Probably why so many people like sex dreams. “Welp, it’s been awhile in reality, but was fun to get back in the game there for a bit.”

  7. I frequently dream I’m an NHL player.

    I’ve never played a game of ice hockey in my life.

    • I want to do a Systems Analyst post on those dreams to break down what your brain thinks that’d actually be like.

  8. I’ve had the forget your equipment or can’t get it on in time dream many times. It usually takes place while trying to get ready for my University intramural hockey. Odd considering I graduated from university 7 years ago.

    I’ve had two other reoccurring dreams:

    1. I get called up to play for the Canadiens. I score in my first game and as a celebration point to my dad who’s in the stands and he starts crying for joy. Oddly enough, this all takes place

    2. For whatever reason, the midget age is extended to allow a team to carry a few overagers. Half way through the season I make a comeback and play for my old midget team.

    • Number 1 sounds like a tough one to wake up from. “Oh. Back to normal work, I guess.” Like my goal-scoring issue.

      • In connection to the forgetting your equipment dream, even the Tragically Hip make reference to it in their song ‘It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken’

  9. My recurring dream is always on the playing surface and no matter how careful I am, I always end up jamming my stick on something and butt-ending myself in the guy with it.

    This dates back to my days of playing street hockey on a cobblestone driveway. Ouch.

  10. I dream that I am actually much better than I am. And shoot left for some reason.

  11. I have that stupid can’t find the ice, or cant find my gear dream too…

  12. I had a dream that the Bruins signed me in the off-season. This was one of those realistic-feeling dreams, so it wasn’t like I was a top prospect or anything, it was as if they signed the actual, 36-year-old, C-league rec player me. The funny part is that halfway through the dream, while I was walking around downtown all excited, the thought hit me: Oh, shit. I’d better work on my skating this summer if I’m going to keep up with those guys at training camp!

    I had a chuckle when I woke up.

    • Pizzo? Pizzo I thought you were only 32?

      • Ha – no, not Pizzo. Although I do listen to him on a certain podcast from time to time.

        What’s the statute of limitations on replying to a blog comment’s reply? Two days is fairly prompt, right?

  13. My dreams are always one of three. They are usually pretty simple though, as I don’t really remember dreams that well, just generalities of the dream. The dreams are:

    1) I score ridiculously dirty goals that are much better than any goal I have ever scored in my life. I like those dreams.

    2) I am on the bench, watching my team play and getting passed over by the coach for eternity.

    3) I am on the bench and a huge brawl breaks out, my team is getting their ass kicked and I am stuck on the bench and can do nothing about it.

  14. I consider 3) a pretty decent dream. “Boy, if I could just get out there!”

  15. the only hockey dreams I’ve ever had usually involve me missing a game. or getting dressed at an absurdly slow pace while the game is being played.

  16. I have the ‘can’t find gear’ dream all the time. I didn’t realize it was common! I’m always missing a skate or my stick.

    I always thought I had the missing stick dream because I didn’t play but reffed for several years and I had ‘forgotten’ how to use a stick.

  17. Mine is always when I am shooting the puck. It goes no where. No matter a snapper, slapper or wicked wrister.. The puck just stays put. infuriating.

  18. I hit the post always in hockey dreams, usually on breakaways. To back this up however i have taken at least 5 penalty shots in jnr, most of which in tournaments and cups and on all of which I rattled the iron. When I do score in dreams I can never focus in on the actual scorer and be sure that it’s me. Killer.

  19. I’m a goalie and my dreams just depend on how I’ve been playing. If I have a particularly bad game, I’ll have nightmares that night where I can’t stop ANYTHING.

    On the other hand, I’ll fairly often also have dreams where I’m having an awesome game and am having a blast doing it. Interestingly, these seem to happen more often if I haven’t played in a while. I think my brain starts to miss it.

    I have also had the “running late to get on the ice” dreams. Quite unpleasant when you’re the goalie. I haven’t dreamed I was missing gear before, but I’ve only gotten to a game missing something once (granted, it was my skates and I had to use the rink’s rental skates. That was brutal, I could barely move. We still won though).

  20. One time my subconscious came up with a detailed plus-minus system for rating babies’ behavior on public transit based on their tantrums compared to the tantrums of the other babies present. I dream about hockey even when I’m not actually dreaming about hockey.

  21. I had this dream last night, where I hadn’t played between the pipes in 12 years. Our rec league goalie would have to miss our last game of the summer session so I get to play. Decided to go to an open session last night to warm up. I couldn’t remember for shit how to put on all my pads, skates hadn’t been used in 12 years. Dude at the pro shop looked at me like I had five heads when I asked him to sharpen ‘em up. I woke up this morning my hand in pain because of being slashed a few weeks ago on a face off (and subsequently putting on the ice to “make saves”) and I realized it wasn’t a dream.

    The above is actually pretty exciting for me, can’t wait to play a real game. On the real dream front I usually have ones where I’m some dope ass NHL scorer who can also throw down the gloves with the best of them.

  22. I find myself reliving a past game/goal/assist – recently it has been scoring a tap in playing pond hockey up at the cottage w/ the boys (pond hockey net) We came back from a 3 goal deficit to win 5-4. Went Selanne glove in the air, pump shotgun to celebrate, mobbed by the team and then hoisted the cup while skating around the lake. Can’t beat that memory/dream.

  23. A old rec-league goalie here (I got my first pair of ice skates at 38, which only goes to show).

    The joy of a hockey game or even scrimmage is that I’m totally in the moment, no work issues, family crap, or id failings clogging up my night, it’s all about what going on on the ice.

    My repeated hockey dream is I’m in the net, the game is going on and I am doing all that thinking stuff that never happens, the shots are all fluff dump-ins that I can easily deflect to the corners without distracting my thinking, I start to consciously wonder that I am thinking about other things during a game, and I end up dreaming about thinking about thinking during a game.

  24. My recurring hockey dream consists of two parts that are always the same: first, its the forget-your-skates part, (apparently like so many others here) where I’m searching through my endless Harry Potter-esque bag for that key piece of equipment that I just can’t play without. I keep rooting through my bag over and over and over…

    The second part: it’s always during some sort of tryout, so even if I know some of the guys there, or even the coach, there’s a tension in the air already. So, not only am I missing out on playing, the weight of screwing up my whole year and/or career because I forgot my jock/skate/shinpad. So in the dream I’m constantly thinking “how am I going to live with this? How am I going to explain this to my parents/friends?”

    Just brutal, I wake up with the iron ball of stress in my gut, wide awake in the middle of the night. Thankfully, it only come a few times a year. I was hoping as I got older it would stop.

  25. Not a lie I had this dream two nights ago. I was missing gear and by the time I got it all together the game started. I then waited at the door to get on the ice (couldn’t get to the bench for some reason) and watched as the entire first period went by before I could get on the ice and join my team. (No stoppages in play to go out)

    Really weird and frustrating.

  26. i can’t believe you wrote an article on this. i have dreams all the time i can’t get on the ice because i’m missing a piece of equipment. and then, when i finally get that stupid piece of gear on and get ready to hop on the ice. i wake up… i hate these dreams… to the max. i live up north and our offseason goes from april to october. with no ice at all…

  27. I once had a dream that I was drafted to play net for the Canadiens. David Aebischer trained me in a high school gymnasium. Also, he revealed that he was actually deaf and had been hiding it from everyone successfully for years.

    It never recurred and I have no idea what any of it means.

  28. Haven’t played hockey since I was a kid so I don’t have that particular dream, but to add to discussion I do have a recurring dream about golf wherein I’m on the first tee and can’t tee up the ball for a variety of increasingly ridiculous reasons or if I do there’s something else wrong and I need to re-tee somewhere else. Then there’ll be issues with my club being broken or left handed or something. Meanwhile Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are sitting there waiting for me to just fricken hit the damn ball and it never happens. I think it speaks to anxiety issues, or a feeling of lack of preparation. Or that I want to kill my mother. I’m not sure.

  29. Hello!

    I do not play hockey, I just watch it. I have had a lot of hockey dreams this summer and I have them at least once or twice a week almost every week.This has to be one summer where I have had the most hockey dreams during the off season I dream that I am going to a hockey game. In some of the dreams I am at a local hockey game and the home team is in the playoffs. I don’t know if it means talking about this past seasons playoffs or this upcoming season. It drives me nuts with these hockey dreams during the offseason.

  30. I have mentioned that I don’t play hockey, but just watch it. Sometimes I dream about goint to games or even playing in some of them. I have dreamed playing for my local team or another team. One time I hit my head against the boards in the dream. I had a helmet on. I woke up with a headache.

  31. I know it’s a year later but I googled my dream last night and this site came up.

    I am a goaltender, and in my dream I was asked to play backup for the Boston Bruins. When I arrived, the team was already on the ice, and I couldn’t find the right color socks (which were Pittsburgh Penguins winter Classic blue for some reason) and when I FINALLY got on the ice…I’d forgotten my chest protector! I asked the ref to pause the game and embarassingly put it on. Then I kept trying to make it to practice but nobody would tell me when it was! Then I woke up.

    The really odd part is…when I was in college I had a dream about playing hockey for my University (UMass-Amherst in Hockey East). The next day I got lost and pulled into a driveway to turn around and someone pulled in behind me…it turned out to be the trainer of the hockey team…He knew who I was and told me the coach had been tring to get ahold of me but only had my dorm room number and it was summer…Had I not ran into him, I never would have gone to the walkon tryouts, and never would have made the team! Maybe this one was just a dream….

  32. I recently got into hockey last year towards the tail end of the play offs. I’ve never been into hockey prior, nor even thought about it. During the off season I watched a lot of regular season games, read up on all different stuff that happened during the year etc…Just a few months ago, I started having vivid dreams of me playing ice hockey. Being a forward, skating, dekeing, shooting, passing, everything, It felt so real. So real that I went out and bought a cheap pair of skates and went ice skating. To my surprise I stepped onto the ice and guess I could say had a natural nack for it. Just within 3 hours of the session, I was able to stop with my inside edges, turn pretty well and had a very fast stride. I dont know if this came from me having all these dreams and knowing how it felt in the dream and was able to put that to reality? Just last week I played my first pick up game at a local rink and didn’t do so good, but pretty much kept up with everyone there, all ranges of skill level. I would say I can remember having at least 2 hockey dreams a week, and has been going on for some months now. I’ve never had a dream where I couldn’t find the ice, or forgot equipment or anything of the sorts, maybe thats because I’ve never played hockey at a competitive level. All of my dreams have been me playing on a team and just playing..I don’t know if it’s some sort of sign, an obsession, or what, but it’s awesome!

    I would definitely like to hear some feed back about all this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *