You can tell where this post is going right from the title, can’t you? I was thinking the other day of the most painful hits I took when I played contact hockey, which is thankfully a long way back in this hockey player’s rear view mirror. Ironically, and perhaps it’s a good thing, I can actually remember the biggest hits I took. At 145 pounds soaking wet, it didn’t take much to knock me down and still doesn’t. However, I have always liked to carry and handle the puck so I’ve taken more than my fair share of hits over the years.
One that actually had the most serious impact on me was one I took playing University rec hockey. It was a late night game and I took one of those suicide passes up the middle, right near centre ice, from a teammate coming out of our end behind me. I actually did get turned just in time to see my ugly future and ugly it was. We were playing a Meds team, (ie. future doctors or perhaps coroners as was almost the case) and a great big monster guy just filled me in. I took his shoulder squarely in the face and don’t remember whether I was down long or simply limped off hurting.
What I do remember was that I darn near starved to death over the next week. I was living in residence at the time and was on a meal plan. My jaw was so sore I couldn’t move it for several days and so ate only very soft items like pudding and jello. I was quite scared I had broken my jaw at first but don’t even think I went to a doctor since by the time I rolled out of bed the next day, it was simply sore (and impossible) to move much it but caused little pain otherwise. How’s that for an upside – it only hurt when I moved my jaw?
Being small and skating with one’s head down is not a good combination in contact hockey. Gawd, I really did hate that side of playing the game. Like most of my posts on my memories of the game, I’ve got a couple of other gems like this one that I’ll save for another day.