Early morning hockey routine

Saturday, 5:30am. Hank Flynn rises to the sound of a cellphone alarm chime.

After a trip downstairs to guzzle some of yesterday's cold leftover coffee from the urn, he heads upstairs to wake his twin 5 year-olds, Harry and Dan.

They've got a hockey date at 7.

The hard work is getting the boys up and dressed, fed, and into the car.

Gear bags and sticks have to be loaded, then unloaded after a fifteen minute drive to the rink.

If you can get two groggy boys dressed in hockey pads, jerseys and skates, and scoot them onto the rink, they'll do the rest.

"If it's a school day, Riley doesn't get out of bed," says Brian McGurney, as he helps cycle youngsters through their shifts. "I go in on a hockey morning? I don't even have to call his name. He's up, he's out. He just wants to know if the car's warmed up."

It's usually true. Whatever level of crankiness your child has often disappears as soon as they hit the ice. Hockey's a lot of fun. But why so early?

Hockey's a little different. "You can't just grab a patch of grass and go play," says James Laux, who coaches these Mini-Mites, and who speaks from experience, having played a bit of pro hockey himself. "There's only so many rinks, and there's a trickle-down effect. And the older guys get the later times and the younger guys get the early times. 7:15's not that bad, actually.

And he's right. You could be playing at 6am in Valley Forge. Or in the New York or Baltimore areas… what time do you get up for that? We're on Twitter @hankfox29 and @fox29philly.