Thursday, 5 June 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - June 5, 2014

The Stanley Cup Final

It's June, so what's up with all this ice hockey stuff? Well it's the way it is here on the left side of the Atlantic Ocean. This season began on October 1, 2013; 1230 games (82 games per team) were played before the playoffs began in mid April. Since then, 3 playoff series (Round 1, Quarterfinals & Semifinals) have been played. The mind boggles, at least mine does, which is why I don't start watching until maybe quarterfinals and then only if one of our Canadian teams is playing. The semi's I sort of watch if I have nothing better to do, unless a Canadian team is on the ice. BUT the FINAL? Well that's where the real hockey is played and I never miss the Stanley Cup Final.

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I've written about my hockey dreams in this blog a few times before, but permit me to once again put on my gloves, Chicago Blackhawks sweater and grab my hockey stick...

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I loved the match up between Montreal and New York, two teams from the 'Original Six' of the NHL I knew as a child, but I was really cheering for the Chicago Blackhawks to prevail over the LA Kings. That was not to be, still I've always been a Chicago Blackhawks fan through and through. The likes of Bobby Hull, Stan Makita, Chico Maki, Pierre Pilote and goalie Glenn Hall filled my childhood dreams of triumph and greatness.

The best Christmas of my childhood, the most memorable was the one (1962 or '63) when I got not only a hockey stick and gloves, but also an official Blackhawks sweater (they really were sweaters in those days, not jerseys). I well recall the surprise, the absolute joy that rocketed through my body when I tore open the package from Auntie Lilian, to discover not yet another dress (blech!), but the red and black wool of the hockey sweater. I was in seventh heaven and couldn't wait to get out on the street for a game of road hockey with the boy across the street. He'd be Johnny Bower to my Bobby Hull, or Stan Makita.

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I had hockey dreams. There was just one problem. I couldn't skate. Try as I might I could not master those
bright white slender figure skates. They tripped me up every time; the damn picks dug in and sent my flying far too many times. Back then, figure skates were the only option for girls, after all every Canadian girl on the ice wanted to be Barbara Ann Scott (1948 Olympic champion), didn't she? Well no, at least not me. I recall my Dad considered buying a pair of real hockey skates like his, but Mom wouldn't hear of it - those were boys' skates!

No matter, road hockey worked the magic and in winter on our quiet street there was often enough snow pack to use my real NHL puck and stick handle my way up the road rink to face Johnny Bower between the pipes.

She shoots! She Scores!
The crowd went wild.

My Blackhawks didn't make it, but one of The Original Six did, so start spreading the news ... 
New York, New York!

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text ©2014 April Hoeller

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