Thursday, January 03, 2008

The pond

Air Canada found my luggage, and it's more or less in one piece, which means you can all finally be subjected to a series I'll call "Pictures from Home."

It's a good thing Scott Stevens wasn't out there, as it appears I'm from the Matt Cullen school of stickhandling.

The Globe and Mail's Roy MacGregor had a great feature a few weeks back lamenting the end of the outdoor rink, but this little bit of swampland-turned-puckland in Kamloops' Albert McGowan Park is going strong back home. My old man still lives in the same house I did when I was in high school, and it's always a blast skating on the same spot we have for 20+ years.

It's pretty much the middle of nowhere, right on the edge of my small hometown that is, in itself, in the middle of nowhere, on the highway from Vancouver to Calgary. It's the perfect place for pond hockey.

Here's MacGregor:
Besides Wally's Coliseum, Canada has produced several backyard rinks that are frozen forever in the imagination: Roch Carrier's churchyard rink from The Hockey Sweater; the little rink in Floral, Sask., where Gordie Howe took his first turns in an old pair of skates a neighbour had dropped off; the rink by the barn in Viking, Alta., that turned six Sutter brothers into NHLers; the big rink on the sod farm in Thunder Bay that produced the four promising Staal brothers …

It is difficult to find a Canadian hockey player who does not wax nostalgically about what those little rinks meant to them as youngsters.
A little piece of heaven.



At 4:34 p.m., January 03, 2008, Blogger BlackCapricorn said...

As someone who grew up with ponds like that but now lives in NYC, those pics bring a little moisture to me eyes. Good stuff James!

At 5:03 p.m., January 03, 2008, Blogger Jeremy said...

Love this post. You were only a couple of hours north of us, but we're having a hard time getting the backyard rink going here in the Okanagan this winter. Just not cold enough.

But while you went west for the holidays, we went east to see family in Winnipeg. The number of outdoor community rinks in that city is staggering, many with multiple sheets, warm-up buildings and their own zambonies. Flying into the city at dusk, you see them in every neighbourhood. It was fun to skate and hack around to work off the Christmas feasts, even in the prairie cold.

At 7:54 p.m., January 03, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

I like how you appear to be using that stick as a kickstand. You look like an extreme version the skinny dude from Blades of Steel.

At 8:35 p.m., January 03, 2008, Anonymous Jennifer said...

I grew up on Lake St. Clair just north of Detroit. We would get out there every winter and clear a huge rink. Being the only girl in the neighborhood, I was always relegated to goal by my brother and his friends. But I was a damn good goalie in my pink and white figure skates! I remember one cold night when I was about ten, watching my dad and a neighbor's dad getting hammered and trying to flood the rink with the garden hose to smooth out the ice. We were all excited to get up in the morning and try out our smooth as glass rink. However, being three sheets to the wind, they forgot that they left the hose on all night and we woke up to a slushy mess. lol... good times.

At 5:34 p.m., January 05, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your outdoor rink is very close to where my wife and I bought our first house. From 1978 to 1981 we lived at 569 Gleneagles Drive, just down the hill from the pond. I used to jog around Gleneagles to Springer, then up Summit over to Robson, around Breakenridge Court as that's where Robson deadended and back to my humble abode. The rec centre and park weren't there at the time and was developed after we pulled up stakes to move to greater Vancouver in search fo better economic and educational opportunities.

Monsieur Parafect
aka Canucks Fanboy


Post a Comment

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link


Free Page Rank Checker
eXTReMe Tracker