There is something deeply Canadian and magical about an outdoor hockey game. Whether it is played on a beaver pond or at the local rink, shinny hockey is one of the many reasons winter is such a wonderful season. Personally, I have never had a bad experience playing outdoor hockey. It is somewhat of a miracle that even with terrible ice and random teammates, the game always ends up being an enjoyable experience.
Last night I played in my first “real” shinny game of the winter. I had already been skating several times and had played some hockey with my friends and family, but due to the unfortunate accidents and illnesses described in the last post, there haven’t been too many good hockey days that have coincided with good health days. Last night the moon was full and the air was clear, and when my brother and sister wanted to go check out what was going on at the rink I couldn’t say no. My post-concussion syndrome symptoms have subsided considerably in the past few days and I felt well enough to at least give it a go. Don’t worry: this accident-prone-walking-disaster-magnet has learned to wear a helmet.
The crowd at the rink last night was less random than is sometimes the case with pick-up hockey. Most of the players were around our age, and the skill level was good without being too intimidating. It’s always fun to play with my siblings because not only are they much more talented than I am (both have been playing high-level hockey for years), but they are also nice enough to pass me the puck sometimes. They make me appear better than I actually am, and for that I am extremely grateful.
If there is one thing Montreal does well, it is outdoor hockey rinks. In a city that lives and dies with its NHL team, it comes as no surprise that a lot of emphasis is placed upon the promotion and preservation of hockey culture. This is shown through good maintenance of the city’s many outdoor rinks, which are kept in admirable condition throughout the winter. The large number and good quality of these ice surfaces encourages Montrealers to get out and enjoy their city’s athletic obsession. The closest outdoor rink to the McGill campus is located in Jeanne-Mance Park, and I would strongly recommend checking it out during your next break between classes. Whether you are a beginner or whether you have a full childhood of 6am practices under your belt, a good time is almost always guaranteed.
If this post has not managed to convince you to sharpen the skates, tape up the stick and take to the outdoor ice, I hope you will at least consider coming out to support the McGill Redmen hockey team in their upcoming Carnival Game. You can read all about the shenanigans of last year’s “Fill the Arena” game in this post. The 2012 carnival game on January 20th promises to be just as exciting and action-packed. Definitely an event you don’t want to miss!
See you on the ice!
- Martlet Girl