Today is “Hockey Day in Canada”. I know that this is a creation of the CBC, and can be pretty gimmicky, but it gets me every year. I love hockey, have all of my life, so anything that glorifies it is OK with me. The fact that I get a solid ten hours of TV on hockey, dissecting hockey, showcasing hockey, with three one anthem games interspersed? Icing on the cake.
This hockey day is a little more special to me, as Woo has started to get really into hockey, so I have someone new to share it with! He insisted on dressing himself in his hockey themed clothing (including Senators socks), and playing indoor hockey during every spare minute of the morning – until we headed off to the rink. He was at the rink for just over four hours this afternoon, and his skates were on/stick in hand the entire time he was there. We couldn’t get him off, even if we tried.
I didn’t play hockey, or even skate as a child, but we had a local rink, and my dad and brother were active in the rec hockey league. We spent many a saturday hanging out there watching my brother and the other teams play. I took up skating and playing hockey in my early thirties, and long for the time to get back at it. I absolutely love to play hockey and want to improve my skills. Skills like stopping, for example!
My house was a house divided. My dad was a Leafs fan, my mom a Canadiens fan. We all knew that the leafs just suck, but the week before my dad died, they played each other. The Leafs somehow beat the Habs 7-4, and my dad managed to stay up for the entire game, ribbing me all along. The hockey gods smiled on the Leafs, and that was the last time that I spent with my dad where he was happy and relaxed. I stayed with the Habs faithfully until I became a Senators season ticket holder in 1996. My Habs jersey was the first that I ever got. I was about six and it was 4 sizes too big for me, but I wore it with pride. It still hangs in my closet, just in case one of the lils loses their way and ends up a Habs fan one day.
Some of my best memories are rooted in hockey, like the Canada-Russian Junior game that I went to with my siblings at the Civic centre in the mid?late? eighties, when the Russian team, who had clearly never seen the wave before, stopped playing for several minutes to watch it go around and around and around. The night that Gretzky made that pass to Lemieux to score the goal that won the 1987 Canada Cup, interrupted in our house by the mouse that chose to make a visit. Watching the 67’s win the 1999 Memorial Cup, even though they were down and out in the game, and by the fact that they had been sitting waiting for the tourney to start for sixish weeks. Willy was a newby hockey fan at this point, and I think this week of non-stop hockey hooked him. The night that Steve Duchesne put the Sens into the playoffs stands out as one of the best and hands down the loudest Sens game that I have been to, and spawned a tradition of playoff tailgates hosted by my brother that continues to this day. The 2007 Stanley Cup finals, right after Woo was born, and the 2008-2009 WJHC right after Goose was born. Both were awesome rides, and both marked the occasions that I left my new little babies with sitters for the first time. Watching games with Goose and Woo, including the 2010 Gold medal game, when they were just as excited as we were. Taking each of them to their first hockey games, and seeing the sparkle in their eyes.
So I’ll embrace hockey day, and continue to build on it with the family. Today was a good start!