Hey folks, the weather round this part of the world has been on the downright frigid side for the last few weeks. Fortunately, with the Devil’s minor hockey career coming to a somewhat premature end (more on this topic later), we have not had to endure too many cold rinks. However, I know there are legions of hockey parents who are braving the elements to stand in sub-arctic temperatures to cheer on their progeny in arenas across th. With it being the Season of Love, I’ve decided to run a small contest with much thanks to a fellow devoted hockey parent (see @kimi8 on Twitter) who has generously donated the hand-crafted wool infinity scarf you see wrapped around yours truly. I am going to randomly draw a single name one week from today from those who can use the Comment box below to share a short story about the coldest they’ve ever been at a hockey practice or game.
To get you started and perhaps prime painful memories you’d rather leave locked away, I have two frosty recollections of my own to share; one from my youth and one from my days as a hockey dad.
The first frozen tale is set around a game played on an outdoor rink on an Indian Reservation somewhere in Northeastern Manitoba (where I’m fairly certain Winter was invented) on a February afternoon. The thermometer stopped recording accurately after it hit -45º Celcius. I think the mercury may have actually frozen. A wee lad of 10, lacking in much-needed body fat, was wrapped from head-to-toe in equipment, extra socks, extra gloves, a balaclava and I believe even a scarf around the whole lot (albeit not nearly the fashion-statement of a scarf pictured above); all of which were decidedly insufficient based on the depths to which the temperatures had fallen. About halfway through the game, our hero battled for the puck against a much larger competitor (who may have even grown a full beard as an evolutionary barrier against the harshness of nature) and was swiftly dumped on the hard, frozen sheet of ice. A few moments passed as he lay there, not really feeling anything as the weather had an understandably numbing effect. A few more seconds ticked by as he weighed his options of getting back on his feet to continue playing in these frigid conditions or simply faking an injury in order to retreat to a warm sanctuary. Said sanctuary was merely a plywood shack with a wood-burning, pot belly stove, but it was a whole helluva lot warmer than where he currently lay. When the trainer arrived in the corner to check on our beleaguered protagonist, the little fella started laughing hysterically, but was able to relate to the onlooker he was too friggin’ cold to move. He was eventually helped back up to his feet and stalwartly finished the game against his better 10-year old judgment. The ride home saw our tiny trooper bawling in the front seat of his dad’s car as his frozen feet slowly, painfully thawed with the stabs of a thousand sharp needles. I’m also fairly certain his dad showed little to no sympathy as he himself stood stoically outside for over an hour watching his kid play a game. Hockey dad’s are like that.
Fast forward nearly 30 years to another February and a little, old-fashioned, rural rink with barn doors and icy player benches, where in a weak moment, a hockey dad turned assistant coach made the fatal flaw of choosing paper-thin Chuck Taylor high tops as footwear covering a single layer of sport socks. It was a very cold day (not Northeastern Manitoba cold, but cold enuff) and the parking lot of the rink was a slushy mess following a snowfall the night before. Undaunted our devoted, if not fanatical, puck father trudged through the slush in his inadequate attire to dutifully take his place behind the players’ bench, where he would stand for the next 60+ minutes on ice-covered concrete; all for the love of the game and his little Devil on skates. If challenged, he’d have no idea what happened in the game or the final score. His sole focus (pun fully and ingeniously intended) was on the cold-induced, near hypothermic pain emanating from his lower extremities. He could not recollect ever having been quite so bone-chilled. Then, on the ride home, it hit him, like the stabs of a thousand needles from days gone by in the passenger seat of his dad’s car. Once again he received little to no sympathy from his little Devil or her better equipped Momma as a 30-something-year-old father simply oughta make better winter attire choices.
So here I am giving you the choice and special opportunity to both shield yourself from the elements and make an unparalleled fashion statement in exchange for a few of your own chilly child or parenthood memories. Be the hot envy of all the other hockey dads and moms in their passé store bought accoutrements.
Keep warm y’all!