If you played organized hockey as a little kid, chances are decent you threw the pads on for at least one go in the cage. It might have only been for a practice, or a scrimmage or even a mother-son, father-son game. I never did.
I had aspirations of doing so. I was all queued for an early Sunday morning practice in the Holy Land (Ennismore) in my second year of playing. Can you believe my parents slept in for an early Sunday morning practice? They never slept in. And so my chance came and went and never came again.
I don’t know the exact date of my first real hockey game. However, I was eight and that would have made it the fall of ’72, which in hindsight is a pretty cool time to have begun playing hockey in this country. My first team was St. Anne’s in the Peterborough Church League (there was a rival league known as City League at the time but I think the Church League was by far the bigger league at that point in time). We played at Northcrest Arena on Saturday mornings and being just “little punks” (a favourite term of an older sister), we played on half ice.
The only other detail I remember is that at the end of my first shift, the buzzer went. Even then, for little punks, the shifts were preset at two minutes I believe. As the more experienced (or perhaps just smarter) kids on the ice headed for the bench (which is to say everyone but me), I just stood there because I didn’t realize the buzzer meant it was time to change. I was in the big leagues baby and was clearly having trouble keeping up.
An old-school St. Anne’s hockey jacket crest from mid 70’s Peterborough Church League. The club inexplicably changed their colours to Hab’s colours sometime many years later, the brain fart of someone with a lack of imagination and disregard for tradition in my opinion. Nothing against the Habs but this purple and gold look was pretty cool.
What a wonderful year that year of Pee-Wee was. Coaches Ed and Brian made coming to the rink tons of fun. Don’t remember a ton about that year but do remember we were pretty strong all season and the finals were against Northminister, a neighbourhood rival that we took down two straight in a best of three. Hmmmm….or was that minor bantam? Gad, the years do get blurry as one gets older.