My Favourite Hockey Memory

Sunrise Skate

Story by Mark Komisar

I have many hockey memories some earlier when I was learning to skate and some later as I have been playing throughout my life.

I do have one memory that stands out above all others and it is a contributing factor to how much I love this game. Some of you may recall practice during the week before school. I could not wait to get to the rink and was regularly rushing to get there even if it was 6:30 in the morning. On this particular morning we were practicing down the street from my house and I knew that my Dad would be happy to drop me off early so he could go back home to bed. I was already in my gear when Mom had finished making me some breakfast and a cup of Hot Chocolate to warm me up for the weather outside. After finishing breakfast I woke up my Dad to tie my skates and drop me off.

As I hoped we were about 10 minutes early for our ice time, the only other person at the rink was the attendant. I went to his office to ask if it would be all right for me to go on the ice early. He got up from his chair and flipped the big switch on the large metal box on the wall. I big thud and a few flickers and the rink lit up. Upon looking out the window onto the ice all I could see was a ring of fog hovering above the ice. This was the coldest rink we played in and had frost on the block walls from November straight through to February. The attendant turned to me and said “We did a heavy water flood last night and with the cold temp it created some fog, you are welcome to go out it will lift once the air starts moving.”

Over to the door I go and take off my skate guards, open the rink door and look out to the ice.

It was dead quite, the fog started about a foot from the ice and up about five feet. As a 6 year old I stood in amazement of what I was seeing and experiencing. After a brief moment the excitement of being the first on the ice all by myself took over. I threw my puck out on the ice and instantly realized I was not sure where it had gone. I stepped on the surface and was instantly hit with a smell that has stuck with me to this day. The smell of the ice and refrigerant in the air mixed with the sweat of the game. Looking back you could almost identify it as what a hockey players hopes and dreams would smell like. As I began to skate for a few strides it began to feel like I was skating very fast and flying down the ice. Of course this was because of the lack of depth due to the fog being above my head. As a six year old I instantly believed it was the fog, smell and the crisp ice no one else had been on. I decided to see how fast I could go on this ice and began to give everything I had.

With each stride and push I could hear the crack and whoosh of the ice followed by a light crisp tingle of the cut ice landing down on the fresh ice almost sounding like a wind chime. After two and half laps I ran out of gas. As I glided resting my stick on the top of my shin pads like every NHL player I watched on Saturday night I noticed the fog starting to disappear, I could see my a few of my team-mates coming on the ice. They immediately came over to talk about the fog and how cool it was, I smiled and went to get my puck.

The smell, sound and achievement of that experience given to me that day will be something I am always grateful for. I think of this memory from time to time and sometimes it just pops into my head, no matter the circumstance, situation or lesson I am learning…it always puts a smile on my face.

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