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Three Fav Moments From Yesterday Click Here To Comment!

One might think I'm almost as obsessed with hockey as I am with Really Good Coffee. Soon(ish), I will move onto a new topic … three fav moments from Hockey Day In Canada …

Wearing The Sweater: All the women playing in the tournament used the same curtained off area as a "dressing room". So, you were just as likely to be sitting beside someone who was about to be your opponent – this certainly added to the fun and the spirit of the event, especially before the "Championship Game". There are no uniforms for shinny but, in order to tell teams apart, the convenor provided really nifty "pinnies" to wear over our sweaters.

However, no one seemed to want to go with pinnies for the last game. A coin was flipped and the other team got to decide about pinnies or colours. They decided they wanted to be "dark", which meant we all had to find shirts that were "light". Most women had a selection of shirts – I didn't bring a light coloured shirt. I brought a blue one and a green one.

However, I heard from across the room, "Hey, Venus, you wanna wear this?" It was GW, holding up her prized replica old-style Toronto Maple Leaf jersey. It is made of thick wool, unlike the light nylon jerseys worn these days. I'd seen her wear it earlier in the day and covetted it. But, more important, GW is – head and shoulders – one of the best female hockey players I've ever had the pleasure to watch – graceful in movement, smart, focussed. Furthermore, she is a fine and generous person who is far happier celebrating a play that results in a newbie scoring her first goal than she is tooting her own horn. I really admire that, and am a bit in awe of her.

Did I mention that GW was playing for the other team in the Championship Game, and that I took the opening face-off against her? Wearing her sweater?

I *did* give the sweater back … after we won. :-)

"… but, your other arm still works, right?": During the last game of the day, the "real" game, someone on the opposing team fell awkwardly into the boards. I was on the bench at the time and the play was on our side of the rink, so I didn't quite see what happened. Play was whistled down and the player lay writhing, in obvious pain, on the ice for several minutes. It looked like a shoulder injury, perhaps – something amiss with her left arm. She did get onto her feet and, although she favoured the arm, she appeared to be not as badly injured as it first looked. As she skated by our bench towards her own, my good friend (and brand new Voxer) Thumper, always ready with the bon mot, said, "You can still hold your beer in your other hand, right?" which made the injured player laugh out loud.  Laughter is healing, they say … I believe I saw that player back on the ice fairly soon after.

Overheard in the dressing room: After the last game of the day, someone asked a player what happened to result in her getting a penalty …

    Someone: Hey, DC, how come you got that penalty? What happened?

    DC: Well, I was trying to force her to the outside so she couldn't shoot, and then our sticks got crossed, and somehow our legs got tangled and we fell into the boards …

    Me and JK (in unison): Ah … the passive voice! … (laughter) … Sometimes, shit just happens.

OK … it really is time to move onto a new topic … um … how 'bout those terrible Leafs?

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Scorecard Click Here To Comment!

Venus 4 … Fear of Failure 0

:-)

Game #3 (Saturday afternoon): 12-7 (for us)

This put us into the finals.

Championship Game #4 (Saturday dinner time): 8-7 (for us … everybody sing … We Are the Champions, My Friend …)

We each won a cool black baseball cap with the tournament logo stitched on it. In pink. :-) That would be a stylized female face with hockey sticks for hair.

Quick cranberry juice at the pub with shinny teams, convenor (Great job, Hockey Witch!), and volunteers …  then leaping into car and driving across town for the "real" game …

Game #5 (Saturday 9:00 p.m.): 2-0 (for us … launching our team to the top of the standings)

Holy moly I'm tired … but very very pleased …

A fellow hockey fanatic read these last few entries and sent me an e-mail today – here is an excerpt … "[I'm] thrilled that you, on the most sacred of all days, get to play pond hockey in an all women's tournament. Is that something like xmas, easter and pride day all wrapped into one?" Yes, yes indeed it is. :-)

Happy Hockey Day In Canada!

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Quick Hockey Update … Click Here To Comment!

Coat and boots on and I'm about to head out to Game #3 … waiting for hockey laundry to dry!

Game # 1 (Friday p.m.): 13-10 (for us)
Game # 2 (Saturday a.m.): 14-12 (for us)
Game # 3 yet to be determined!

There was a request this a.m. for me to print this off for posting on the bulletin board at the arena, which was very nice.

OK – long johns should be dry now … gotta run! :-)

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Hockey Day In Canada! 2 comments

January 13 is Hockey Day in Canada! (Seriously.) In fact, if all goes well today, I'll be playing in a total of three hockey games myself, with the outside possibility of playing in four. Doesn't that just rock? The term Hockey Day in Canada is a small twist on the legendary Hockey Night in Canada, the now-defunct theme to which many Canadians of my generation can hum in its entirety.

Warm up began for me last night when I played in Game #1 of the 2nd Annual Women of Winter Outdoor Shinny Tournament. The weather for the games last night was not optimal for shinny …drizzle and absurdly high temperatures. Many women had to take outer layers of clothing off by the end of the first period and were playing in single layer shirts. Because of the on/off rain and persistent high temps, the ice was pebbly – it was like skating on gravel. The puck was sticky and hard to manage. HOWEVER, a good time was had by all … our team won our first game, but no one is really paying too much attention to the winning/losing part. It is about playing and having fun.

I have a game this morning, then again this afternoon (early). If we win these, we'll likely make it to the championship game, late afternoon. Then, of course, I have my regular Saturday night "real" league (not shinny) game at 9:00 p.m., in a proper arena with proper gear.

What is the difference between shinny and "real" hockey? Well, some would argue that shinny is "real" hockey and that stuff we see on TV is a mere shadow of the original game. I won't get into that debate here. Here are some of the key differences between organized hockey and shinny:

  • shinny is usually played outdoors on ice that has not got painted lines on it. A pond, for example. In fact, shinny is often referred to as pond hockey.
  • because there are no lines on the ice, there are no pesky rules like offsides and icing. It is a free roaming game!
  • players wear minimal equipment -  in real pond hockey, some play just with a stick and skates and a puck.  I'm more comfortable with my helmet/cage, mouth guard, and gloves. Last night, some women were adding shin guards and elbow pads as they anticipated going for some spills on the rough ice. However, full gear is actually prohibited in this tourney.
  • no goaltenders and, in fact, "goaltending" is against the rules. In real pond hockey, the goal posts are usually someone's boots – which they don't need, of course, because they have their skates on. In our tourney, there are special shinny nets – 17 inches high, normal goal width.
  • no raising the puck
  • when a goal is scored, the team that scored has to clear the ice to half way and allow the other team possession of the puck

That is pretty much it. Basically, give us a sheet of ice and some boots, sticks and pucks and we'll show ya a game!

Power breakfast for three-four hockey games in a day? Mango juice, pasta omlette with spinach and romano, luscious coffee. The weather today is much closer to optimal … temps just below freezing, less enthusiastic drizzle that will likely turn to snow later. Drop that puck and let's play!

PS – Don't forget to de-lurk!

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Crisp 1 comment

Sweet, clean ice.

First night out.

Crisp.

Blades.

Hollow blades … round blades

I-hear-you-coming blades.

Crisp.

First intake of breath

Tasty wood smoke and the full moon.

Second breath … someone wearing musk.

Served on plates of air, purging the mind.

Crisp.

Grins behind grills.

Winks under woolly hats.

Sweat soaking socks, chilling

Smiles, warming.

Crisp.

(These images brought to you by The Women of Winter.)

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