Category Archives: Cars and Trucks

A Hockey Friend Gone

I received word today that a childhood friend and teammate passed away this past Thursday.  His name was John Cowling.  The news has saddened me terribly.  Although I had not seen him in 20+ years, nor kept in touch with him, I know that he was a very good man.  It is funny how there is always a strong connection with friends made very early in our lives.

We played together for several season on those house league St. Anne’s teams I have written other posts about.  He was part of Ed and Brian’s teams.  For several of those early church league years, we played on the same line, him on the left side, me on the right, David Allen up the middle.   I remember John had those new Lange skates that were all the rage at the time.

John was one of the guys that was always there when, in our teen years, we’d spend a Saturday night playing shinny on the canal in the heart of a Peterborough winter, or as part of a pick-up ball hockey game on the tennis courts at Bonnerworth when we were home from around the province in our University years at Thanksgiving, Christmas or Reading Week.

One of the funniest memories I have of hockey in my teens is the last year we played for Ed and Brian.  We must have been midget because one of the guys on the team had gotten his drivers license and had a beat-up old Triumph as his first set of wheels.  Crazy cool car to a bunch of high school kids.  Anyway, it was late in the winter, or perhaps even early spring and Ed had scheduled the end-of-season team party at his house for a Friday night.  Ed’s house was about a short drive from John’s house.  Problem was, John had also decided to throw a party at his house for that night.  This was a scheduling problem of some complexity.

The team gathered at Ed’s place early in the evening but being teens, we were a bit more interested in the ladies on a Friday night than on being regaled by each other of the season that was behind us so John’s party beckoned.  The thing was, John didn’t want to let the coaches down so he actually went to the team party while the party at his parents joint went on without him…and his parents weren’t home so this started to take on a real-life “Risky Business” feel to it.

Teenage boys can be pretty inventive though so the compromise was that as the party rolled at Ed’s, the Triumph-guy took a couple of guys out for a spin in his wheels about every half hour, and one of those guys was always John.  They’d zip to John’s place and John would check in with the buddy he’d left in charge to ensure the place was still standing, and then satisfied all was well, they’d head back to the party at Ed’s.  After a half a dozen trips, I think Ed and Brian figured this gig out but by then their party was winding down anyway and we all headed off to John’s bash to close the night out.

John, I will remember you as a friend and a hockey player and I will miss you.



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Filed under Cars and Trucks, Friendships, High School


A great rant took place in the dressing room last night in Elmira.  Something about a poorly dressed guy driving a mazda at excessive speed who blew by one of our defencemen as he left work for the day in his own wheels.  Like any good d-man, our guy then scrambled to catch up to this guy and was determined to not let him….well…actually I don’t know what he was determined to do but he was pretty surly about it.

There’s a lot of this story that cannot go into print but I took this from it – defencemen just never like anyone to beat them wide.

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Filed under Cars and Trucks, dust-ups, WOHL

Getting to the Rink

In the late 70’s / early 80’s, I can remember fall days like this one where the St. Pete’s hockey tryouts would begin after school.  We couldn’t wait to get school over with and get over to the Kinsmen arena where the tryouts were held and where we had the bulk of our practices and home games.

In the initial years on the team, not many of us drove as this was grade 10 and 11.  The McDougal brothers (Mike and Dan) were driving from the moment they turned 16 and I can remember they had a beautiful maroon Chevy step-side pickup.  They would load as many of us as they could into the cab and bed and off we’d go, taking back streets as much as possible since we were probably breaking some safety law or other.

Heckling those walking on sidewalks, yelling at girls for attention and the occasional hard stop or quick start at intersections were all part of the journey.

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Filed under arenas, Cars and Trucks, teams


As I drove down the street yesterday, I approached two boys and a girl playing ball hockey on the street a few houses down.  They had a net and one was playing goalie and the other two shooting.  I could read their lips as they called “Car!”   Ah, one of the great battle cries of hockey on the street in a quiet neighbourhood.

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Filed under Ball hockey, Cars and Trucks, Driveway hockey