Category Archives: Nets

Nets In Spring

There’s few Canadian who don’t love the arrival of spring.  Even die hard winter fans love spring.  However, as much as I love it, I also love to see remnants of winter sticking around as the days get longer and the suns brings people and leaves out.

One of these remnants is the hockey net.  Sometimes it’s at the end of a driveway, evidence of a spring game that just ended, or is about to begin.  Sometimes it’s a net against a garage door, where a game may have been hard to come by so the player in the house had to settle for taking shots.  Sometimes it’s a twisted broken old net at the curb on garbage day, a sad sight if there ever was one.

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The One-Boot Net

I was out for a walk the other night quite late and wandered through downtown Waterloo past the rink in front of Waterloo town square.   It was a fabulous winter night and on the rink a 5 on 5 game was in progress, fully ignoring the “rink closed, stay off” sign parked at the rink’s edge near the middle.

It actually looked like there were spares waiting for their shift although I didn’t stay long enough to see if they came on at some point.  It was just a good old game of shinny, university students I’m guessing by the age of them.

The interesting thing was, they had a unique way of setting up a net which I’m ashamed to admit I have never seen before.  I first noticed it when one guy beat the last defenceman close to the end of the rink and then sent the puck skittering towards the goal.  I saw it hit one post, which was a boot, and send it sliding about 5 feet away.  However, when they put the boot back in position, I couldn’t see the other post (boot) and realized at that point, they were only using one.  This was kind of like having to shoot and hit iron when you play on a real rink with no goalie.

Another example of Canadian innovation at its finest.

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Filed under Nets, rinks, shinny

When Old Hockey Nets Die

I’m not one of those handyman, McGyver types.  I hold my own when it comes to fixing busted clothes-dryers, replacing panes of broken glass and I’ll even change the oil on my own cars but I don’t build entire rec rooms, turn 4 cylinder engines into V-8’s with popular mechanics kits or wire the cottage in order to have ready-made ice in a fridge at cocktail hour.  Frankly, I’m either too lazy, not bright enough or just plain not interested in most cases.

However, when it comes to hockey, I’ve always had a bit of a strange streak in my genes when it comes to nets.  In our backyard rink at home several years ago, I deemed the standard Canadian Tire offerings just a little too bush league.  All but the mother-of-all-nets they sell just seemed to flimsy to suit me.  So…counter to my natural tendencies, I decided to build a better a bet hockey net and watch as the world beat a path to my backyard.

With my son in tow, (god bless little kids ‘cuz they get excited by dumb-ass ideas their dads cook up when they’re still too young to know any better), I headed off to home depot.  I went straight to the plumbing section, grabbed a bunch of sections of galvanized pipe, various elbows and with my tape measure, stood their ciphering for a few minutes before I headed for the checkout.

As I stood looking, one of the typical handyman guys that Home Depots hires to provide customer service to other like-minded gents, showed up and nodded approvingly at the raw materials in my cart that were obviously the beginnings of some leading edge plumbing project.

“Roughing in a downstairs bathroom?” he asked, sort of a mano-a-mano introduction.

“Nope, buildin’ a hockey net for the backyard rink” I replied.

What followed was a combination blank stare and contemptuous grunt.  He took a second look at the cart then at me and then walked away.

Knowing enough about the measure twice, cut once edict, I took one last run through my net specs that I had written before leaving home and satisfied, we had this thing nailed, we headed for the checkout.  A quick stop on the way home at a sports store allowed us to purchase the mesh and then off home we headed to assemble the home plumbing supplies into a net that would withstand the hardest slapshot any neighbourhook kid could take (and mine too, but no trouble there).

This net served many wonderful years in our backyard rink but as with all living things, it got old and weary and passed away this past spring, neglected in its later years by lack of physical exercise brought on by an absence of the backyard rink brought on by the addition of a dog to our family two years ago.

Sigh. I miss that rink and I miss that net in its glory days.  I read somewhere that Bryan Trottier, when growing up in the prairies, had a family dog that he taught to play goal.  At the end of the dog’s life, it was toothless like many an old hockey player.   Hmmmm.

The Net In Its Prime

The Net on Its Deathbed

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Filed under Driveway hockey, Nets, rinks