Rec Hockey

Cherry Hawks: Champions

Cherry Hawks: ChampionsI played in the Swansea Hockey Association when I was young. I played until I was 13 and I never won the championship once. In fact, my strongest memory is going winless one season while playing for the CN Towers.

I returned to playing ice hockey several years ago, be we just rented ice for an hour, formed two teams and had fun. There was no championship to win.

This winter, my buddy Muzzin invited me to play for his Cherry Hawks in the ASHL. It was a blast and resulted in a championship won last night. Even better than a trophy, we got $200 to spend at the Thirsty Penguin. Beer and wings never tasted so good!


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Hat Trick Hero

PuckI'm playing out the tail end of my second season of hockey after a 21 year hiatus.

I'm on the ice every Friday night, working my ass off and having a blast. Although my skating needs work, I'm pretty decent with the puck and I'm usually good for two goals a game. Only once, however, have I recorded a hat trick, and shortly after potting that third goal I left for the hospital with a separated shoulder.

Yesterday, it all came together. A hat trick and not a cheapy in the bunch. And no injury to speak of.

Hat Trick Hero

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Visor / Cage Combo Implemented, No More Full Cage

PuckI play hockey every Friday night. This is my second season of adult rec hockey and I absolutely love it. For 75 minutes every Friday, I'm playing in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Until last week, I played with a full cage. I always felt it blocked my peripheral vision and held me back. I decided to open the wallet and buy a new visor cage combo from iTech.

I only have one game under my belt with the new visor, but it was a completely different game. I could actually see everything. It was as if somebody turned a light on and gave me full vision without sacrificing safety.

I blew the budget, but if I'm going to be playing in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals every Friday night, I'd better bring my A game.


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The Thrill of the Ice

HockeyLast fall, I joined a rec hockey team and played on ice for the first time since I was thirteen. Despite separating my shoulder in January, I had a blast.

We kick things off again this season on October 2nd, but this afternoon I'm joining a scrimmage to shake off some rust. I can't wait to hit the ice again.

There was no way I'd let another 21 years go by between seasons.

Blades of Steel

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Goal Celebration Idea or What I'll Try Tonight

PuckI've got a hockey game tonight and I plan to score. Thanks to Alexander Ovechkin, I now know what I'm going to do after I pot my first of the night.

I'll call it "Too Hot to Handle" and it'll look a little something like this...

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My First Composite Stick

PuckWhen I returned to playing hockey after a 21-year absence, I bought myself a wooden stick for $9.99 at Canadian Tire. That stick lasted me until last Friday when it finally broke.

When a wood stick lasts you almost five months, it's a good indication you don't have much of a slap shot and it's a rec league. Both are true, but it was $9.99 well spent. I got fifteen goals out of that sucker, but some things aren't built to last.

Today, I bought my first composite stick. I found a good two-for-$99.99 deal and found a buddy to go in with me. I'm told it's worth the fifty bucks... we'll see tonight when I break it in.

It's a Nike Bauer Hockey Vapor XII Senior Composite Ice Hockey Stick- 87 Flex with an Eric Lindros curve, in case you want to tell me now that I just threw away $50.


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Time Healed This Wound

MedicalA little over a month ago, I suffered a first degree left shoulder separation. It was my first separated shoulder, and I had no idea how the healing process would go. The doctor told me it would take eight weeks to heal and I could start playing sports again whenever I could handle the pain, because I couldn't make it any worse.

It seems time heals all wounds. Here's a quick breakdown of the healing process.

Week One
Pure hell. Two percocets every four hours just to stay ahead of the excruciating pain. It hurt to sleep, I couldn't come close to touching my nose with my left hand and I didn't think I'd ever be able to lift my four year old daughter again.

Week Two
The pain is dulling! Still riding the percocet train to wellville, but I'm getting my range of motion back. Look, ma! I can touch the top of my head!

Week Three
Great improvement! I can use the arm, I just can't put any muscle into it. For example, I can push the snow with the shovel, I just can't do the lift part to dump it on my neighbour's lawn. I think I can play hockey, though... Yeah, I'm crazy, but it's a good crazy. The percs are now only for sleeping.

Week Four
The separated shoulder now feels more like a bad bruise. I'm playing hockey and, for the first time since grade school, I played three sets of volleyball. I'm back, baby!!! Although I still can't sleep on my left side....

I considered suicide as an escape during week one, but now I'm glad I held on. I'll be 100% by spring training.

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My First Upper Body Injury

medicalI play a lot of sports, and always give the proverbial 110%, so injuries are nothing new to me. Three different times I've broken bones in my legs, I've torn my ACL and I've suffered a complete shutdown of the posterior kinetic chain that plagues me to this day. Until last night, however, I've never suffered an upper body injury of significance.

At the tail end of my hockey game last night, I fell awkwardly on my left shoulder and the pain was excruciating. I couldn't pull off my jersey without wincing and shedding a manly tear. At half past midnight I realized I wasn't going to be able to sleep on this thing and went to the St. Joe's emergency room.

The good news is nothing is broken. The bad news is I've separated my shoulder and am now enjoying a steady diet of percocets. There's essentially one position in which my left shoulder doesn't kill and that makes it tough to sleep, impossible to drive and don't even think about tying up those boots.

It'll take 8 weeks to heal, but I don't plan to be on the disabled list that long. As soon as I can tolerate the pain, I'm getting back out there. I've got a ball tournament at SkyDome in a couple of weeks that I don't plan on missing.

Before I conclude this percocet-inspired, exhilarating tale of my broken left wing, there's an interesting side note. I've scored two goals in each of the past five hockey games I've played. Last night, once again sitting on two goals, I burst free on a break-away. I remember fighting off a defender to ensure I controlled the play, and then everything slowed down... Seriously, it was slo-motion and I put a killer move on the goalie to secure my first ever hat trick in a tight 8-7 win. Without a doubt, it was the best game of my life.

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Goal Three: Score a Goal

HockeyI just finished my third week of recreational hockey. The goal in week #1 was to survive, and my modest goal in week #2 was to accept the fact I wasn't Mario Lemieux. Tonight, I wanted to score.

I don't remember scoring a single goal in my entire house league career. I played for several years at Swansea, and I'm pretty sure had I scored it would have been rather memorable. Going goalless my first two weeks meant I'm goalless in a lifetime of ice hockey. That's pretty remarkable. Tonight, I intended to break that streak of futility.

I actually scored twice twice tonight. The first was a breakaway as I faked to the back hand and slipped the puck in alongside the opposite post. It was pretty sweet because this was no garbage goal. I shaked and I baked.

The second goal was on a nice pass as I waited in the slot. I let go a nice little snap shot that bulged the twine. I actually think I'm getting the hang of this.

I have one more goal to accomplish, but more on that next Friday. For now, I'm basking in the glory of my two-goal effort and the demise of 34-year shutout streak.

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Goal Two: Don't Be Magnificent

HockeyLast week I played my first game of hockey in about 21 years. My goal was to survive, and I accomplished that objective with ease.

Ok, it wasn't with ease. I was pretty winded by the 40 minute mark. We only had one sub, so I was out there for the bulk of the hour and I was pretty beat before the final buzzer.

My primary objective this week is to realize I am not Mario Lemieux. Last week, when my defenseman had the puck, I'd rush on the wing and look back to receive the pass on the fly. I found it awfully tough to skate full steam ahead while looking back to take the forward pass on the tape of my stick. You see, I was trying to play the way I see NHLers play, and I just ended up with a sore neck and no goals.

Tonight, as I lace up the skates for game #2, I won't try to take the pass in full stride. Tonight I will not attempt to be magnificent.

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