By Dave Green

There’s nothing quite like an ice-cold beer after a hockey game.
Here’s how to enjoy it and keep safe.

 

Beer League hockey gets its name for a reason. The thrill of hockey is hard to match, and for many of us, so is the post-game ritual. Most can agree there is nothing like quaffing a cold beer while shedding hot equipment, but we all need to get home safely, without incident, somehow. Follow these tips to stay safe while enjoying that post-game brew.

Keep hydrated Whether or not you chose to crack a beer post game, as a hockey player you should begin hydrating yourself long before you hit the ice. This doesn’t mean downing a tall glass of water as you’re running out the door. Proper hydration is an ongoing process that you need to employ in the days leading up to game time. Most of us adhere to the eight-by-eight rule regarding proper water intake; eight 8-oz. glasses of water a day. Keep in mind this statistic represents the minimum water consumption. Given the considerable amount of fluids you lose on the ice, you’re going to want to bump this up before, during, and following gameplay.

Be aware that alcohol is a diuretic that depletes your body of fluids. If you plan on knocking a couple back after the game, be sure to increase your consumption of water and other hydrating fluids such as low-sugar sports drinks and herbal teas. Staying well hydrated will not only help you avoid hangover symptoms, but will also improve alertness and response time after you have been drinking.

Eat While it is widely regarded as good practice to eat fatty foods before imbibing, this may not sit well when you’re on the ice. Try to have some bread, rice, or pasta as these will not only give you lasting energy, but will also help to absorb whatever you drink following the game. And, if possible, carry something to munch on before the ride home. After getting off the ice your metabolism is still in full gear, so don’t worry as much about the late-night calories as much as buffering your buzz.

Stay alert Win or lose, we all have the tendency to get lost in our own head while driving home from a game. Missed passes, highlight-reel scoring, and disputes with the ref cloud our thoughts as we try to pay attention to the road. Players who choose to have a post-game brew should be aware that any amount of alcohol will only serve to intensify these thoughts, and thus should use that much more caution when getting behind the wheel. Limit your distractions; if there was ever a time to avoid talking or texting, this is it. No one anticipates looking up to see a deer in the headlights or—just as bad—red-and-blues flashing in the rearview. Keep your head up and both hands on the wheel. A good trick to help you stay in your lane and out of handcuffs is to keep your left hand against the wiper control and the other on your directional control.

Drink less After intensive exercise like hockey, your alcohol tolerance is significantly diminished. One post-game beer can often feel like a whole lot more. While proper hydration and nutrition both work to lessen the affects of alcohol, the easiest way to ensure a safe arrival is to simply drink less.

Dave Green knows his limits off the ice. Come game time, it’s a different story.

Stay in the game! Please drink responsibly and obey all local traffic laws regarding the consumption of alcohol.