No ref­eree, no score­keeper, no prob­lem

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Front Page - BY GARY SHAW

We all know where hockey stands in the hearts of our com­mu­ni­ties and our en­tire coun­try.

It’s Canada’s game. All of us have, with the pas­sage of all of the years, wit­nessed the evo­lu­tion of our game.

From the old days of pond hockey, to the many out­side rinks that were built and the many hours given by the folks who en­vi­sioned the place where kids of all ages and gen­ders could gather and learn how to put their skates on and take those first few strides on the ice. Young play­ers were ap­pre­hen­sive as were the par­ents who en­cour­aged them to step out onto the ice and be­gin their jour­ney down the path of our na­tional game.

Hockey and the masses among us who are par­tic­i­pants on the ice, and just as many who are en­gaged in our game off the ice, all play an im­por­tant role in en­sur­ing that our love of the game con­tin­ues.

Make no mis­take, hockey is still hockey, but a lot has changed. We are now blessed with arena’s that have ar­ti­fi­cial ice, rows of evenly spaced seat­ing, a can­teen for hot drinks and snacks, a place within our com­mu­nity that en­sures the health and fu­ture of our game.

We have struc­tured age groups, coaches who are trained to teach youth not only the me­chan­ics of the game, and the les­sons of fair play and team­work that all goes with the game. It’s all good, and en­sures for­ward mo­tion in the growth and suc­cess of the game.

The play­ers have all the nec­es­sary gear, the lat­est in the de­vel­op­ment of equip­ment that en­sures that they are pro­tected at the high­est level from as many in­juries as pos­si­ble. It’s a huge com­mit­ment to our chil­dren and the game, from a fi­nan­cial per­spec­tive as well. To fully out­fit a player top to bot­tom with all the gear and the sticks that go with it makes us older ones shake our heads. It costs more than the first old car that many of us had.

We have come far in the evo­lu­tion of our game for sure, and it’s all good.

Once in a while though, there can be com­fort in tak­ing a look back. Re­cently I was in the stands at the Labrador City Arena, and as it turned out, it was the best hockey game I have seen in years.

The Labrador West Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion or­ga­nized a game for each of their three Atom teams. It was a game that saw as al­ways, the sup­port and en­cour­age­ment from their pres­i­dent, direc­tor, or­ga­niz­ing team and vol­un­teers that was a trip back in hockey time.

It was a game where the young play­ers, boys and girls, played with and against their par­ents. The par­tic­i­pants brought all the nec­es­sary en­thu­si­asm to the ice and played their hearts out to have the op­por­tu­nity to win with, or against in some cases, to “out hockey” their par­ents. Their en­thu­si­asm right down to the post goal cel­e­bra­tions was con­ta­gious.

The par­ents who played were an ex­am­ple of gen­eros­ity to­wards all of the chil­dren. The per­fect passes that they de­liv­ered at ex­actly the right time and the “missed checks” that seemed to hap­pen in just as timely cir­cum­stances that saw the chil­dren score was a trea­sure to see. The bit of ex­tra ban­ter be­tween a player and one of their par­ents made it hard to mea­sure which one was hav­ing the most fun.

The en­tire ef­fort was a won­der­ful gift to the chil­dren and an equal gift to mom and dad who were out there with them. The wis­dom and ef­forts by the Labrador City Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion in this game was an in­cred­i­ble gift. There was no fancy gear and no match­ing jer­seys on the par­ents, it was just enough to be in the game and share it with each other and the com­mu­nity. In the old days when the benches cleared there was al­ways a brawl. In this game, how­ever, when the benches cleared in the last minute or so of the game, ev­ery one of them, chil­dren and par­ents alike, were all in the game un­til the fi­nal buzzer.

Thanks to the Labrador West Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion and its many or­ga­niz­ers. It was an old fash­ioned game of “pond hockey” shared by youth and par­ents, a mo­ment in time that they will all look back on as the years pass with great mem­o­ries.

A game with no ref­eree, no no prob­lem. score­keeper,

GARY SHAW – SPE­CIAL TO THE AURORA

Par­tic­i­pants in a fun game of hockey.

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