Reality told a different story. It was the 1960's, the time before helmets and face masks. Little girls were not supposed to like hockey let alone play. More than that, girls were not allowed to play hockey. And no wonder - girls skates, those bright white figure skates with the sharp picks at the front, were not made for hockey. The little girl struggled in too narrow skates, hand-me-downs from a sister who skated perfectly through turns and twists, forwards and backwards. She never mastered the task, defeated by those blasted picks that dug into the ice and sent her down too hard, too often. The laughter and taunts from the sidelines didn't help.
The best Christmas ever delivered an official hockey sweater of the Chicago Blackhawks, CCM gloves and a Titan hockey stick. The dream lived on. Her father, cutting up the ice in speed and wide turns, encouraged the dream. The mother tolerated the dream, taking all this hockey stuff in her stride for the most part, but she drew the line when the father suggested buying boys' tube skates. It was a bridge too far for the mother of the not so girly daughter.
No matter, out on the winter street, hard packed with snow, the neighbourhood boys always needed an extra player and the little girl was always dressed and ready to go in sweater, gloves, stick and boots. Living the dream.
The years passed and girl grew and the boys grew and soon wanted nothing to do with the hockey girl who couldn't skate. She settled for Hockey Night in Canada to satisfy her desire, but mostly the dream fell asleep, and thirty years slipped by...
1998 - The Women broke onto the ice hockey scene at the Olympics in Nagano, Japan. A little girl's dream tucked inside a gown woman, stirred and stretched. Oh to have been born in the 70's instead of the 50's.
It's 2014 and though I have no stick, no gloves and still no skates, I've got my official hockey jersey and my heart skates along with Wickenheiser, Apps, Hefford, Johnston and all the rest.
She shoots! She scores!
The dream is alive again.
Go Canada, Go!
Story ©2014 April Hoeller