Wednesday, October 05, 2005

October 5th

It's my fathers 73rd birthday .. happy birthday Dad .... and it the first night for hockey in over a year.

I grew up in Bracebridge Ontario in the late 60's and early 70's. Life in winter time was centered on hockey. There was only three teams that mattered. Toronto, Montreal and Boston. In 1972 we had two players from the local Junior B Bracebridge Bears living with us. One was the brother of Steve Shutt. One of my classmates was the younger brother of Roger Crozier My claim to fame was a distant cousin who made the NHL and my white turtleneck sweater that was bought at Bobby Orr's store in Parry Sound.

Weekends were hockey practice in the morning, my coach was Bucko McDonald. I wore white plastic and felt knee pads on the outside of my corduroy pants, hockey gloves with the Toronto Maple Leafs logo them, hand me down skates (they belonged to my cousin), a helmet that only covered the back and front of my head, the crown was wide open. No shoulder or elbow pads (just a turtle neck and a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey sweater), and no jock. I played between 1969 and 1973. Dad would walk me to practice, I think that was the reason I quit playing .. I hated that cold walk first thing in the morning. I loved to play, or at least I think I did. I remember Bucko teaching me to stop on one foot, I remember scoring my first goal, I remember after practice running around the rink and through the stands with my friends, I remember my sisters taking me for the afternoon skate at the rink, all the boys would play ice tag and get the older kids pissed off at us. I remember going back to the rink and watching the Bears play towns like Huntsville and North Bay. I remember listening to the Habs on the radio as we drove home, then watching the Leafs on TV once we got home. This is what hockey means to me .. chasing your friends around the rink, watching incredible skaters playing a great game .. I want this for my kids .. memories that will last a life time.

I want to say thanks to the player and the owners for coming to their senses and bringing the game back .. Have a great season and may the best team win. (I really hope that its finally time for the Leafs)