Once upon a time, where ice and snow blankets the land for months on end, I learned to skate. Since I was only three years old, I needed a little help. Dad was probably saying, “uncross your skates Boomdee”, Ha! Look, my brother Kenny had already mastered standing on our icy back yard rink, no wonder I looked up to him. Hey let’s face it, it wasn’t easy to do much of anything in those old snowsuits.
So began a life long love affair with my skates. Dad made an outdoor rink in our yard every year. When we weren’t in our yard skating or playing hockey, we were down at the community rink with friends. Back in the day, neighbourhood dads took weekly turns flooding the local community rink. I actually remember putting my skates on at home and walking the two short blocks to the community rink to meet friends. It was better than putting on cold boots later. Unfortunately, you won’t see too many outdoor rinks much anymore.
Outdoor ice rinks have been replaced by giant arena’s. Most kids get a ride to their hockey game in the family SUV. Hockey in your backyard is a distant memory. Is it because a lot of neighbors don’t know each other now? Surely winter’s aren’t any colder?
Living at a lake for 25 years made it easy. My neighbor would make a rink for his kids out on the lake and we’d show up to enjoy it. Heck of a deal. We tried to ‘pay our dues’ by doing the odd bit of shoveling, so it was great exercise too. Daddy also grew up by a lake, so as Oprah might say, “that’s a full circle moment”. Hockey and Canadian winters pretty much go hand in hand.
As you may have heard, the elite athletes that comprise the NHL and their owners will not be gracing us with their presence any time soon. What happened to the ‘love of the game’ attitude I grew up with? It’s turned into a political war of ‘who’s pockets will be lined with the most money’. I haven’t been to a Oilers game in years, I think a ‘$200 night out‘ is a bit much. The fans they still have are losing patience with the whole thing.
Photo Credit: Free Download NHL.com
Maybe their disappointed fans should skip buying those expensive season tickets and spend their hard-earned money elsewhere? Hockey is just another corporate ‘Big Business’ these days. I miss the way it used to be, a Canadian tradition.