What was the best game of shinny that you’ve ever played? Was it on a frozen lake in the middle of nowhere? Was it under a bridge on the Rideau Canal? What made it so good? Did you score the winning goal? Did your opponent fall through the ice? Did you fall in love (with hockey)?
Since we’ve been sharing our outdoor hockey experiences with you for a whole month now, we want to open things up a bit and hear about your best outdoor hockey games.
Entries can be of any length, but at least 150 words would allow you get some description down and communicate the awesomeness. Points will be awarded for poetic descriptions of scenery and lack of hockey cliché (nothing that would make Don Cherry cry, please).
We also accept fiction entries! For that category, humour will be the primary criterion.
The winner(s) will be featured here on the blog and each will receive an OUTDOOR HOCKEY ULTIMATE PRIZE PACK. You’ve got ten days! Entries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, February 10th at NOON (Ryan says noon is a serious deadline time so we’re going with that).
The way that people interact with each other on the outdoor rink is pretty interesting. Unlike most of our social situations, outdoor rinks are places of self-organized play: no bosses, no defined roles, no time limits. Outdoor rinks are experiments in communication and cooperation.
We spoke to UNB sports sociologist and historian Fred Mason to hear his perspective on how outdoor rinks are sociologically significant places. This podcast is part one of our tour of Fredericton’s outdoor rinks, in conversation with Dr. Mason en route. LISTEN UP!!!!!
You may have heard the podcast we produced last week where we handed out first and worst stars to some of the people we had been playing with in Montreal. Having received very positive feedback (from Mark’s father), we decided to formalize and codify the precepts of outdoor hockey etiquette.
Now you might interject, “there can be no rules for outdoor hockey! It is precisely its unregulated nature that makes it so wonderful!” Yes, you are right. But we feel that, like any unregulated activity, there are certain conventions that must be appreciated in order for everyone to get along and perform at their best.
Having traversed the frozen land and seen what is Good and what is Not Good, we bring you this wisdom! Behold, the Ten Commandments of Outdoor Hockey:
I. Thou shalt shovel
II. Thou shalt not raise a puck against thy neighbour
III. When there are many, thou shalt share the ice fairly and in equal amounts of time
IV. Thou shalt divideth all the peoples unto two squads and those squads shall be equal in strength
V. Though shalt pass and let pass to your neighbour’s son or daughter
VI. Thou shalt not mixeth thy stick with the snowbank when another doth mixeth theirs
VII. Thou shalt not swing thy stick in the air like a lunatic
VIII. Thou shalt not worship thine own skills
IX. After the flood, thou shalt wait for the waters to turn to stone before you walk upon them with your blades
X. Thou shalt love those who cast the water upon the earth and bring life to the world of hockey
On our highway drive to Trois-Pistoles today, we caught a glimpse out the window of cluster of ice fishing huts arranged around a sprawling hockey rink on a neat little lake just past Quebec City. The scene was carnivalesque, with what looked like hundreds of colourful shacks connected by avenues of ice.
Try as we might, we could not find a turnoff to the riverbank; our efforts to reach the rink were foiled and we were left with the impression that the thing had been a kind of winter mirage. Perhaps because our emphasis has been primarily on manufactured rinks, this tantalizing peek got us thinking about the many places like it that exist: naturally occurring ice surfaces, just waiting for hockey.
There are many ways to dichotomize outdoor ice: boarded vs. unboarded, hose-flooded vs. zambonied, public vs. backyard. But this is surely the division that is deepest and most interesting: found vs. made.
Found ice is pure magic. To find a perfectly smooth ice surface is enough to make one believe in a supreme power: a body of water that has frozen over sufficiently to hold the weight of a skater, without having been snowed on. Meteorologically, the odds are stacked against such an occurrence—but when it happens, it is a gift.
Made rinks are a different beast. They require time and energy: planning, rolling, flooding, shovelling. These rinks are intentionally crafted by people. They represent labour, artifice and cooperation.
Each kind of rink has its own beauty: the former, the majesty of coalescing natural elements, the latter, the dignity of human industry and the finessing of nature.
Made rinks stem from found ice. But it’s interesting that when we return to our lakes, ponds, and frozen puddles, we tend to create “rinks.” Either through setting up two pairs of boots at opposite ends of the surface, designating boundaries with trees, or making a time clock out of the sun, we superimpose our artificial settings upon our natural ones.
Thanks to Chris McKendy and Geoff McCaldin for sending us the vids!
We were really hoping for a snow day today. That is because, as compensation for letting us stay with him in Trois-Rivières, our friend Scott requested that we do a presentation for his grade seven class about our trip. Scott is a language monitor with the Odyssey Program, which in his case means that he helps francophone high school students to learn English in a fun and interesting way.
The presentation went pretty well, other than the fact that the grade seven students refused to believe that we were real journalists (understandable) or that any of the content on the blog was actually produced by us. Listen to us try to convince them at the end of this part of the presentation.