The time I’ve spent around hockey and the amount of time I’ve vested in the sport has given me so much and so many great memories. However, there are a few that stand out and few that I actually cherish more than any other.
Incidentally neither of these memories has nothing to do with a rink, an arena or a player. My fondest memory is a new years eve, when me, my dad and my brother played a game of shinny in our drive in Finland, many years ago. I can’t remember the year or anything as it is a while back, but it was years before we moved to Amsterdam.
We had been talking about doing the game for quite a while and the teams had been set. It would be me (as I was cocky back then) against my dad and brother. I think we had agreed that the winner would be the first to score ten goals. I’ve always maintained an affinity with the outdoor games and playing outdoors, because that is where I learnt to play and its how I spent majority of my free time in the winter and summer.
Anyhow that game on new years eve is one of my favourite ones, even though I lost by one goal when my brother took a slap shot from their goal and I slipped and fell and didn’t have time to get back to my net to play as a goalie.
The thing about the game was that it wasn’t one of those between father and sons where the dad would let the kids win. It was competitive all the way through, accompanied by the smack talk and some light contact as well. We didn’t have proper goals and we literally made them by stacking some snow to make posts and that was it.
Whether it was the post game Sauna that made it memorable, I don’t know, but it sure did feel good. You’d first played outdoors in what felt like -25 degrees and then you go into the warmth and you feel your skin tingle.
To cap it all off, our mum had made an awesome meal (Mexican) in the meanwhile and it felt was awesome just to tuck into tacos and all afterwards. To be honest I’m not sure I made it past midnight that new years as I was so wiped out from that game.
Otherwise, few of my other favourite hockey memories are also from the shinny games we played during the winter with the kids in the neighbourhood. We’d always have to have impromptu breaks because we had to watch out for cars that were coming and going, but it was great to play games like that. I hope that one day if I have kids that I can offer them the same kind of experience, because at the end of the day it is where I learnt the beauty of the game and where the lifelong spark for the game was born.
It wasn’t about winning a championship or anything like that. Those days it was all about having fun and that’s what hockey is all about. It’s about having fun and making new friends. Hopefully those memories from the game will help me in the coming season and make me a better player in the long run.