Why I Play Hockey
Article by Erin
Erin is a hockey playing mother of two (4 & 1 year old boys) who dabbles in triathlons in the summer. She’s working up to an olympic length tri this summer so needs to stay in shape through the winter any way she can.
The best smell on earth is the smell of the rink. It hits you when you open the door with your heavy bag weighing on your shoulder and your breath clouding around your head from the winter cold.
The dressing room before a game is a nervous buzz of activity and conversation. The first game of the year always brings about that feeling of uncertainty – do I still remember how to do this? Inevitably someone breaks the tension by putting their skates on ahead of their pants and giving everyone a moment to remember that this sport is all about the team.
When the zamboni exits the building in a cloud of diesel, we hit the ice. The music pumps and we enter the rink like the Toronto Maple Leafs to a crowd of dozens. A few laps to warm up and get the blood pumping is all it takes to remind our muscles how the game is played.
The whistle stops the music abruptly along with our hearts as the adrenaline charges through us. The puck drops and we burst forward like a dam of pent up anxiety. The bench is cheering and shouting instructions we don’t hear as we focus on our only target – the net.
By the third period, our bodies are spent, our lungs hurt from cheering and breathing hard in the cold air. We sit on the bench longer and groan when the whistle blows and our teammates skate towards us to take our place.
But all it takes is a break away. The right winger has the puck and charges down the boards over the blue line. We are right there with her and deque the defense to get open in front of the net. The pass comes and with a flick of the wrist the puck hits the netting as the buzzer goes.
You realize you haven’t taken a breath since you received the puck and collapse into the embrace of your teammates as you celebrate the goal.
All too soon the zamboni starts up again and you are lining up to shake hands and congratulate the other skaters for a game well played.
The dressing room after the game is lively with good natured banter. Plays are relived and players from the other team are cursed for their perceived poor conduct. It is with the last ounce of our energy that we remove our skates, pack our bags and head back into the cold night air.
Next week is already on our minds.