Sunday, February 13, 2011

...Not Just For Skating

When I first moved to northern New Brunswick many winters ago, the guys I played hockey with told me about another game they like to play up here, called "boot hockey."  Now, a quick review of Google search results of the term give many different ways to play, but up here it is, of course, hockey played on a sheet of ice - without skates.  I didn't really play it until I got here, because when I was growing up in southern NB if we had a sheet of ice good enough to play hockey on, you can be darn sure we were going to put our skates on.  Anyway, one year they got me to play in an organized boot hockey tournament.  Some guys wore regular winter boots, some wore work boots, and some even wore sneakers.  After a weekend of running on ice, slipping, sliding, crashing and banging - and the occasional refreshment between games - I pretty much vowed never to play a boot hockey game again.  I don't hear too much about boot hockey any more, which is definitely a good thing as far as I am concerned.

Another thing you can do on the ice, as demonstrated here by Joey, is have some fun with the snow-removal aspects of outdoor rinks.  The prevailing winds blow from the northeast corner (behind Joe) to the southwest corner.  So, no matter how much snow we get, and if there is any breeze at all, the northeast corner of the ice has very little or no snow on it and the southwest corner can have several feet.  On this day, Joe kept busy clearing the shallow end while I went at the deep end with the snowblower.

*     *     *     *     *
By the way, I recently finished reading Home Ice by Jack Falla.  Several blog posts ago, I mentioned that I would like to read this book sometime.  My very astute wife noted this and set to work looking for a copy of the out-of-print and hard-to-find book (published in 2000) as a Christmas gift for me.  She managed to find one through an online book store, and I am very glad she did.  What a wonderful book, as in it Mr. Falla recounts some great stories about skating outdoors in general, and particularly about his own backyard rink in Massachusetts.  Certainly, anyone who has ever built (or tried to build) their own patch of ice to skate on, or has ever skated on natural ice in the fresh air, will enjoy this book.  I'm not a book reviewer, so I'll just let this line from the foreword by Bobby Orr describe it: "It's a book about the heart and soul of hockey - a backyard rink, a frozen pond and the families and friends who play on them."  And, as Dickie Dunn might say, Jack Falla certainly "captured the spirit of the thing" in Home Ice - which is what I am always trying to do in this little blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment