To the editor:
I would like to share, with you, a truly Canadian (eh!) hockey story.
I am fortunate to be part of a wonderful group called The Wooden Sticks Hockey Club. With the exception of a much younger goalie, we are all retirees with ages ranging from 56 to 82. We have games among ourselves three days a week. Members can choose to play one, two, or three days each week. Wednesdays, however, are reserved for our 70+ players.
On Mondays, we play at Astorville Arena – just south of North Bay. Next door to the arena is Ecole St. Thomas d’Aquin.
Last month, something very different happened at one of our Monday games.
At 9 AM, as we were in the dressing room, one of our guys, told us that “a whole lot of kids were filing into the stands of the arena”. At first, we thought that there had been a scheduling error; but that wasn’t it. It seems that there was a gas leak at the school and all the students came over to ‘shelter in place’.
In Northern Ontario, we have quite a few Snow Days; but this was going to be a Gas Day.
When we got out onto the ice, the stands were packed with very excited young boys & girls. As we circled the rink for the warm-up, we got a lot of smiles & waves, and we were more than happy to return them. One of our players, who normally just skates around quietly, decided this would be a good day to practice lifting the puck and bouncing it up and down on his stick as he sailed around the boards.
Once the game started, the energy boost provided by the students became very apparent. Normally, goals are just a routine part of playing. Not that day. Anyone who scored celebrated with upraised arms and emulated Paul Henderson in Moscow accompanied by loud cheers from the stands.
They loved it… so did we.
At one point, we considered arranging a ‘fight’ to add to the excitement. Luckily, with age comes wisdom; so, we decided against it.
In the nets, we had never seen Goalie Ken make such leaping moves and sweeping glove saves. More cheers.
In the other net, was our young goalie - a wonderful athlete named Catherine (aka ‘Cat). For her, it became a special game. Her son was in the stands with his classmates.
It went on like this for the whole first half (50 minutes). At this point, the ice is cleaned. Most of us take off our gloves and helmets and retire to the dressing room for a 10-minute break.
As we were filing past the kids, I heard one of them say… “Hey! They’re all Grandpas”