This local reporter is looking forward to another memorable hockey season
This past Saturday, I got my very first assignment of the fall/winter season that sent me to the Ron Ebbesen Arena.
Having grown up in Airdrie playing hockey, I know that building like the back of my hand, but there is no better feeling than the moment you walk through the doors and smell the scent of fresh ice.
Many will scoff at that comment, but in my defense, when you spent so many years playing the game and smelling like a hockey player, the smell of an ice surface in the fall months is real.
This assignment was to gather a bunch of photos of the Airdrie Thunder Heritage Junior B Hockey Clubís training camp for a story you can read in this weeks sports section.
I look forward to the local hockey season so much. I donít know if itís because of my history with the game in Airdrie, or just because the money-grubbing owners of the NHL keep fans on their toes as to whether there will be a season or not.
Back when I was playing hockey, the rink was called the Airdrie Twin Arena, and it held some of my favourite memories of my childhood.
I remember the nerves I felt in my second, third, and maybe fourth year of playing when I showed up for tryouts and wondered if I would fall flat on my butt as soon as I stepped onto the cold, yet welcoming ice surface.
I didnít fall, but I definitely could have put my better foot forward and been noticed by a team a peg or two higher in the hockey tier system.
I remember that first practice with one of the teams I was on (so many years and so many games makes it tough to pick out the year) in which I started the first drill and realized my hockey pants were way to roomy. The realization that I wasnít wearing my Ďcupí sent me to the dressing room fast.
I made it back to the ice before the shooting drills started. Phew.
I remember the first practice of my Peewee career where the head coach had to show us players how to properly take a body check.
Being the biggest guy on the ice, I thought I could cement my position on the team by showing off what I could do by taking a reasonably soft hit from my coach.
I spent a couple days in a soft neck brace with minor whiplash. Instead of staying low and taking the hit along the boards, I panicked and stood up ending up on my butt.
My fondest memory in the Ron Ebbesen Arena would be from my goaltender years, winning the Atom House League Championship.
I remember being able to play on the blue ice surface, a Saturday afternoon game, which was a rarity for the house league teams.
Mostly, I remember the team photo after winning the game.
If I recall correctly, we won 5-2. I remember the red jerseys sponsored by local business Rainbow Salvage.
While I am not making $1.5 million each year, or sitting in National Hockey League Players Association meetings right now, I loved my time playing hockey and get in a game or two of shinny each winter.
Most of all though, I love spending time at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.