Over The Tracks

My earliest recollection of skating and playing hockey was climbing up a large incline beside our home and carefully walking over train tracks.

 With a firm grip of my grandmother and brother’s hand, we walked to the flooded barren field, it was our winter oasis it was our home rink. 

Hour after hour, day after day, we made the trek.

I learned so much in that farmer’s field about commitment, effort, but foremost I became passionate about the game.

I still remember my feet being like ice cubes after what seemed liked an eternity playing shinny with my brother.

I remember the feeling of putting on the partially frozen boots that were exposed to the elements as goal posts and the sense of relief shoving my foot to the very bottom.

She had to be frozen, but she never complained, standing there watching and cheering us on. The odd time she would throw her skates on. She was a very good skater in here own right, she had a strong stride and great balance and a matter of fact would keep skating well into her 70’s.

The walk back home seemed a lot longer, but the discussion would be centered on the game and what we were going to have for lunch.

She was always there for us.

 As soon as we were warm enough to feel our toes and had enough to eat the anticipation for the return trip over the tracks for the matinee would consume us. She never complained, never once said, “now boys it’s too cold, or we can’t do that again.”

 My brother is four years older, so while he was at school, my grandmother took me on a whirlwind tour of the local rinks in Moncton in search of free ice.

Obviously, no sticks or pucks were allowed at these “family and tots” skates, but there she was negotiating with the rink attendant, moments after they slid out wooden barricades and sure enough I would have one end to myself, so I could hone my shot and puck handling skills.

She was always there for us.

From taking us to American Hockey League practices at the Coliseum, to our own practices and games, she was relentless in her pursuit to ensure we played the game.

https://firstdownsportspodcast.com/2019/09/24/a-final-salute-to-the-moncton-coliseum/

From picking us up at school and feeding us before practice, to tightening skates and fixing our gear, she did it all!

As the years went by, we would always talk about the trips over the tracks, the memories and experiences of where it all began.

Our journey in the game started with her unwavering support, commitment and encouragement. Her impact and influence lives on.

We love you and miss you so much,

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