Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Neighborhood Arena = Free Hockey Fun!

Neighborhood Ice Arena

Saying the National Anthem before play? (smile)

Last week some of the children and a visiting friend discovered a treasure trove near to our home. It was a friendly neighborhood arena and honestly, it was so much better than even I had ever envisioned when I had heard about its existence.

The country "General Store" across the street features an arena schedule listing either skating only or hockey times by the hour, seven days each week. My eyes almost bugged out when I realized this wasn't any ordinary ice arena, nope, no hokey thing at all. In fact it was surrounded by boards and its size was that of an official ice skating arena. Man was it big!

The sign said it was open, and the door ajar welcoming skaters or hockey players alike. Two hockey nets were already in place and the brick building adjacent to it all offered benches to skate and suit up, washrooms, heat for the frigid air breaks and a sound system for playing favourite music through the loud speakers on its outer rooftop.

As far as we knew this was a free venue offered to neighboring families, completely manned by volunteers. One could tell it had been recently snow ploughed and shortly before we left a man arrived to re-plough the walkways and turn on the night lights surrounding the arena.

Having a blast and hockey nets are even included!

Inside the building another arena schedule was hung on the bulletin board with a note requesting all participating families please donate 20.00 for the year per family. (What a steal!) The minimal fee would be suffice to pay for the gasoline used for the snowplough and assorted expenses if necessary for this pleasure.

When we arrived the temperature was hovering around -10c and the wind had just picked up speed. Being the mother that I am I worried about everyone becoming too cold, so I opted to sit in my vehicle and watch, ready at any moment's notice when they had had their fill. The younger children wore their snow clothing but the older boys worked out so hard playing hockey against one another, they soon layered down in a hurry. If I had known the beforehand the building would be heated, I could've waited in there but I had my fresh cup of hot coffee along and some pleasure reading.

Soon daylight began to darken and early evening fell. Time to wrap it up everyone and get home for dinner....

Dinner called with our guest in tow. He came on his own but first bought himself a GST to ensure a safe and timely passage. What a guy!

"Shall we return again I queried?"

The smiles should answer the question without words, however the replies were how about returning every day!