Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pure Pond Hockey and Skating

Today I took the kids out behind the house for a skate.  We had a blast and I managed to take a video of Shaylee's first time skating without my help.  This was her first time out this year and I bet we can count on one hand the number of times we had her out.  She never hesitated and showed no fear.  Once her skates were on, she was off.  I thought this fit well with the story I just had published in the January 28th edition of the Kings County Record.  

Tuesday was very cold and I was checking the weather forecast to see what Friday would be like.  I couldn’t wait for it to come.  The forecast called it almost bang on, so when Friday came my countdown shifted from days to hours.  The temperature rose to a warm -2°C by the evening and I met up with a buddy and headed to the snow covered hills around Waterford.

Now most people, when you mention snow covered hills around Waterford, they think skiing.  I was heading out to go play hockey.  Grassroots, old time, pickup hockey, played outdoors, under the moon.  The Waterford Youth Centre is now home to the local outdoor rink and what a bucolic winter location this rural community has created.  An outdoor rink is the backdrop to a covered bridge over Trout Creek, and behind the rink is a rugged rock ridge.

Oddly on this night, I didn’t even truly notice the scenery.  I was there to play hockey.  About 18 guys showed up to play.  We threw our sticks into centre and then a couple of guys divided them up.  We played hockey, 5 on 5, on gritty ice, and there were some fantastic plays and some not so fantastic plays.  Some of the guys skated hard while others hardly skated but no one criticized anyone else.  No one kept score and half way through we changed the teams up.

Considering that I hadn’t been on skates yet this season I was a bit apprehensive at first.  Once I got the puck though I pushed it a bit and then I let it go.  We played for 2hours and even though I was dead tired when we stopped, I didn’t want it to end.  I think I scored a couple of goals but so did everyone else so it was a great night.  Playing with and against guys I haven’t played against in years was fun, and reminded me of the respectful rivalry and chemistry I had with some of them.  I would try a little harder when I had a chance to face my brother one on one and I’m sure he was doing the same.  

After the hockey ended, no one was in a hurry to go home.  Guys sat around and chatted about, what else, hockey.  How the Habs were on a roll or how the Oilers were under performing.  Every now and then the topic would roll to the weather or the recent party or the dreaded ice user fees in Sussex.  To those in Waterford that night, that was actually a non-issue.  Who really needs a full facility, especially with the weather we were blessed with that night?

If you want a chance to experience the thrill of pond hockey in Waterford then get a team together and register for the Corner Cup which will be played at the Waterford Youth Centre this year.  The tournament will run from February 13th to the 15th.  Teams of 6 will compete, in a 4 on 4 tournament, for the wood carved, Corner Cup.  Registration is $120 per team with the winner taking half the pot and the remainder going towards the Village of Sussex Corner’s “Sullivan Park Enhancement Project.”  To register you can e-mail me or find me on Facebook.  Coming up in my next column, I’ll be staying in Waterford.


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