Where is the best place to spend a hot August day when the temperature soars to 30C and humidity takes it into my brain has melted temperatures? The rink, of course.
My family and I were invited to attend the BioSteel hockey training camp sponsored by Mazda for their #MazdaFan campaign. How do you get teenagers to wake up early in the morning? Lure them with promises of seeing NHL players in action while surrounded by the irresistible aroma of an arena. They’re hockey players, so that smell is scientifically proven to elevate their endorphin levels, or something like that. The point is it was easy to get our son out of bed so he could see some of his hockey heroes up close, unlike getting him out of bed on school mornings where I lose count of how many times I run up the stairs to make him move because no human can count that high.
Our son began playing hockey as a 5-year-old, but his love started much earlier when he began dragging around a cut-off, broken hockey blade my brother game him everywhere we went. Like many young children who begin playing the sport they’ve been mimicking since their toddler legs could carry them around on imaginary ice to whack at pucks (any small object lying in their path), he had starry-eyed dreams of the big leagues. NHL players became his sports idols and their names, jersey numbers, and saves to goals ratio stats became something we discussed around the table.
He’s in high school now and has hockey class — not gym class — this semester and his school coach is a professional player with a CWHL team, so hockey is still on his brain. Outside of school he’s played at the house league and rep levels and the only thing that changes is the colour of his jersey, not the intensity of his love for the game. It’s a love I support; hockey teaches work ethic, commitment, and sportsmanship, and he had a chance to see that up close at the training camp.
The players on the ice — all pros and many of whom we’ve watched compete for the big prize over the years — were there to work, but it was clear they were having fun, too. And watching these professional hockey players celebrate when the puck made it past the goalie’s pads during a practise scrimmage made me realize that inside they’re still the little boys who pulled battered nets into the middle of the street for impromptu road hockey games. They just get to earn their living playing the game they love.
“Disclosure: I am part of the Mazda BioSteel Hockey Training Camp Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”