Saturday, February 02, 2008

Playing their game!

I know you’ll see this post today and perhaps you’ll mutter under your breath … “More hockey?”

Coming to my own defense, I will let you in on a little secret. Psst… Our family is so ridiculously intrigued by ice, roller and/or ball hockey; all of the children indulge in this sporty game whenever they are able. Yep, some families are soccer families, others are baseball families; we are a hockey family to be sure.

"The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places - the school, the church and the skating-rink - but our real life was on the skating-rink."

— Roch Carrier

(1937-) Canadian writer - Quote is from The Hockey Sweater (1979); also appears on the Canadian five-dollar bill.

No matter the season, hockey is fun to play.

Included within this post are just a bitty few of the photos we have on hand of those memorable hockey times from both the present and the past.

Our motto is simple - “Play hard, Have fun”

Roller or ice hockey?
He loves them equally.

Only in a homeschooling family could a mother claim her oldest son learned his math facts from sitting on the front porch with a neighbor while reviewing the sports section of the local newspaper his family subscribed to. His first jersey was an “Edmonton Oilers” t-shirt look-alike hockey jersey, but no matter. Wayne Gretzky was on the ice for the same team and he was following his stats. Not only did the great Gretzky become a favorite for him, the memory lingers on the day Gretzky was traded away from the Edmonton Oilers to the LA Kings the exact date of this young man's birthday. He was quite upset with the trade.

Some people skate to the puck. I skate to where the puck is going to be.

~Wayne Gretzky

When my husband took him to his very first Vancouver Canucks game at age seven, he knew every player, their team number and could rattle off their performance stats from memory – on both teams before him, to the amazement of the people surrounding them. Though he himself did not actually begin formal ice hockey until age twelve, no one could guess, because he was a hockey fan extraordinaire and knew positioning well. Years of ice and roller hockey later, and almost his entire life of neighborhood ball hockey behind him, he still plays, but then, so does his wife. He’s her assistant coach! We knew he’d have to marry the perfect match, another hockey and sport lover, and she’s the one for sure! In fact, that's how they met! She was employed by the North American roller hockey championship tournaments he played in, all seven years until at last, they decided to court one another. The rest as they say, is history.

Speed was his specialty.

Our next son began to play ice hockey around the same age as his older brother, and was one of the shorter players, but mighty fast on his skates. He was the one his older brother placed in the goalie net when the neighborhood gathered round, and he was the one who loved whatever his current passion was. Hockey was his passion for much of the teen years, accelerating in so many disciplines to play hard and have fun. Winning was good too. And then…he discovered the game of golf and one very solemn day, he shared his decision to leave hockey for golf with his father. Not good days at our home…laugh. He was a highly esteemed player, as his brother, and many out of town teams wanted him to join their team and play away as his older brother had. But, just as he excelled in gymnastics and was asked to be in the summer games, hockey was a “good season” of his life, golf next and now it’s pinning for the next certification for another discipline in scuba diving. He always did like Jacques Cousteau anyway.

Mom, he's almost two, time for a helmet!

If you’ve followed my blog thus far, you will know our family tends to be diehard Vancouver Canucks NHL ice hockey fans. It just happened that way, especially after the 1994 season when they almost went all the way for the Stanley Cup. We were there. We had season’s tickets and everyone took turns hitting the next home game. That’s when our older daughter became more interested in the sport and the game in general. Oh, and just this week, our eldest granddaughter attended a game at the GM Place in Vancouver to see the Vancouver Canucks in action for the first time, so it continues with future generations already.

She loves ice hockey too,
as do the other grandchildren.

Whenever I think of ice hockey, I’ve known for many years our boys loved the game. Imagine the great surprise when our oldest daughter managed to acquire her “Ballet Elementary certification”, and promptly decided soon after, it was time to join a ladies ice hockey team. (Our grand-daughter shown above is her eldest daughter.) Well, rewind for a moment to the fact her brothers and their joint friends used to gather to play roller hockey on fine weathered afternoons, so she was playing a bit before this grand decision came into play. She loved it. What could she say? All those years of not wanting to take part in certain sports in case she hurt one of her “ballet legs”. Smile

There you have our older children, all of whom are married, some with children of their own. Guess what our grandchildren are interested in? Yep, you got it! Hockey!

On ice since he was three,
and he still loves his game.

Once upon a time, we called it our family’s “Hockey Fever”, an illness that hit our home and never left. Temperatures would rise while watching their favored teams climb the ranks in statistics, hoping for that all glorious Stanley Cup season once more. Now you know why it meant so much for some of the gang to hit the International Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto while visiting there this past fall.

Part of the family during our first
ice arena rental tradition.
(note - yet another daughter in the photo)

It gradually became a family bonding time, a little love in for the game itself. An impulsive decision to rent an ice arena during Christmas break began a new tradition of sorts, offering the entire family to get out on the ice together and have a splendid time. It was a first to have little ones with the big ones all together on the ice at the same time ever. The big ones brought their hockey sticks and a goalie net was placed at one end, the other side was for the younger ones, those too little to even walk were also included.

Yep, our youngest daughter has a bit
of pressure to get that stick in hand!

The wee ones were pulled around in snow sleds, or pushed around on top of wooden chairs. Some were painting the ice with colored spray bottles drippings; others were working their way around the orange cones sectioned out for a practice skating obstacle course. One year, relatives were in town to celebrate our son and his wife’s wedding, joining the fun and getting on the ice with the whole family…except for the newly married couple who left town.

What a memory! Good times!

Family Ice rental with family
from out of town joining us.

Hockey continues in our home, much to my husband’s delight. He loves it all, watching, keeping stats on his children, ensuring their equipment is in safe mode and fits them well, and is currently escorting our older son on his travel hockey team games this hockey season. He also takes charge of all the homeschool hockey driving, and this is a lovely afternoon for me to catch up at home, all alone. All of our married family extension members (smile) are hockey fans, some are hockey players and get out on the ice as well.

Within this family, I can't imagine that the love of the game will cease any time soon, but surely continue in earnest. Naturally my hubby laps it all up. As I type this blog writing up, our older son currently residing at home is participating in another hockey tournament a distance away. Call it a father and son bonding time, which appears to be exactly what happens at these functions.

Daddy was a hockey player too
(see front of this shirt for proof! smile)

Not to jump on the bandwagon, as mentioned before, the younger children play hockey too, girls and boys. As posted before, our older daughter here joined our homeschool hockey team this year, mostly because her older brother grew out of some major gear she could wear.

She's known as "the tripper".

High sticking, tripping, slashing, spearing, charging, hooking, fighting, unsportsmanlike conduct, interference, roughing... everything else is just figure skating.

~Author Unknown


She wasn’t sure about her skating skills on the ice beforehand, yet she is a real trooper and loving it all, even though she is well known for the amount of times she falls while zooming back and forth when trying to keep in her position. She’s also obtained a funny reputation since the first game played against a local school, one of tripping an opponent, though he had no clue it was just that she lost her balance. But, nevertheless when the same team returned for a rematch last week, she was singled out as a dangerous player to some…snicker.

There you have it, younger sister stuck in net.

It always seems to be the youngest in attendance that gets trapped or duly coerced into becoming the net goalie, and recently our youngest daughter was the one. Before we moved, our grandson was the goalie, and his hockey protective padding was almost as tall as him. Very cute.

Our grandson stuck in net and loving it!

Our travel hockey son is thoroughly enjoying his winter sport this year. The others are enjoying their hockey too; the recreational aspect of it gives them incredible sportsmanship mentoring by volunteer dads. Soon, spring three on three hockey leagues will be something they are all hoping to participate in, and if not that, late spring roller hockey will suffice.

He's having a blast out there!

Hockey captures the essence of Canadian experience in the New World. In a land so inescapably and inhospitably cold, hockey is the chance of life, and an affirmation that despite the deathly chill of winter we are alive.

~Stephen Leacock

There’s something so endearing as to watch your child play a sport so demanding in energy and attention to detail (follow that puck), it becomes so invigorating to them, they can hardly wait until the next time they can lace up their skates. They tell me they can "smell" the ice and it's such an inviting smell they can hardly wait to get on it and skate hard.

What a great team they play on!

And when they remove their protective helmet, their hair is all drippy and wet. Yep, they played hard and they truly had fun! All is good….until they take off their hockey gear and hang it up in the garage. Eww……..what a stink! To think how long that smell has grabbed my nostrils, but to a hockey player, it’s a mighty fine stench they handle so much better than the parents do.

After the game...

There you have it folks. Hockey fun will be updated from time to time here, and with this little blip, now you know why that just has to be the way it is around here. smile

Play Hard – Have Fun!

That folks is what this whole thing is all about!

Heading into the arena for yet another hockey session.