Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hockey Night in Canada

I was born in Toronto and grew up in Winnipeg. I'm not sure others from other countries fully appreciate the importance of hockey to Canada. Tonight the Canucks are in the play offs with the Boston Bruins.  I'm in Vancouver today.  Seeing all the blue and green sweaters, remembering Canucks games I attended, and remembering further back to playing hockey myself.
We all did as kids. That's my memory.  Taping sticks. Taping skates.  The ill fitting jerseys. My brother had the red Montreal Canadians jersey and and I had the Blue and White Toronto Maple Leaf jersey.  It was just announced this week that Winnipeg is getting it's own NHL team so the kids there will soon be able to cheer for their own city team. Today my cockapoo dog Gilbert is wearing his blue and green Canucks jersey.
We started skating before grade school.  Kirk Laidlaw's father turned the garden into a ice rink and all the kids skated in his back yard on Sommerset.  Kirk had older sisters and they kind of took over the rink with their fancy skating but the boys would play makeshift hockey games, for sure.
Then we'd be on teams at the Fort Garry Community Club.  I remember Boris Tyzek, now a prominent lawyer, playing on another team. The reason he's more memorable than all the other kids at the time is because his father came to every game. We were 6 to 12 in those days.  My mother came to every game of mine too. Pretty soon Mr. Tyzek would be shouting at Mrs. Hay as the two cheered for opposite teams.  I don't remember many other parents but Mr. Tyzek and Mrs. Hay and their cheering and shouting were as much of a fixture of those freezing cold outdoor games as the black metal stove that heated the clubhouse.  I even think it was wood burning.
The National Hockey League games played each week too.  At our house, Ron and I would have to put on our jerseys to watch the game. Dad would be lying on the couch while mom would be making pop corn and serving soft drinks.  We traded cards of the players at school too.
I stopped playing in teams by the time I was a teen ager.  But we'd have pick up games and once in a while I would leave off chasing girls to get together with the guys for a game.  Last I played was the early 90's when I played 'old timer league' in the country.  Today I still have skates. I've sure I have an old stick somewhere. I skated a couple of years back at the Denman indoor rink.  I was quite astonished that I was able to stay upright.  It was alot of fun too.  Brought back so many fond memories.
Now tonight is the Canucks and Bruins game.  I remember when the night the Canucks won the game weeks back that put them in the final play off.  All the cars of the city seemed to blare minutes after. In Vancouver you don't need to watch the game to know when the Canucks score. There's just so much cheering and horn blowing all over the city.
People are getting off early from work to watch the game. I'll have to get away on time too.  Hockey is that important in Canada.  In the rest of the world it's Soccer.  But soccer is for those folk who weren't blessed with winter and ice and the National Hockey League.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

my dad made a skating rink for us too

thanks for bringing back those memories for me too