Category Archives: 2010 Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey Team

Skating in the Imaginarium

Noah’s pining for a skate. Since stepping off the ice at Parc Monseigneur-Nadeau’s outdoor rink, he’s been waiting to lace up again. Our regular morning outings at Cole Harbour Place aren’t happening for us this week.

His desire is palpable, bubbling, ready to burst. Noah usually pipes up once a day, “Papa, when are we going skating?” I don’t think we can wait until our next regular Cole Harbour date. I need to check other rink schedules for public skates.

In the absence of getting to the rink, Noah turns the family room and the upstairs hallway into his own private ice surfaces. This is a pretty standard move. They become the arenas for his beloved hockey games with myself, or Nellie-Rose as his doomed-to-lose opponents. The atmosphere here is quite heady with daily dosages of Olympic hockey and Noah’s own brand of early morning, mid-afternoon and evening indoor pick up games.

What is quite remarkable however is Noah’s invention of skates for floor surfaces. He fashions blades with Lego blocks and glides around the basement floor as if it was the most natural thing to do. By now I’m used to seeing Noah and Nellie on their multi-coloured blades but I continue to marvel at the inventiveness that has such transformative powers for Lego blocks. I no longer exclaim about the ingenuity of it all each time I see them but I still smile deeply at the imagination that makes this all possible.

Nellie-Rose is smitten with the new skating technology. She has no ‘real’ skates of her own and hasn’t been on the ice this year. These ‘skates’ put her and Noah on a level playing field. Her recent interest in hockey, gauged by her willingness to play with big brother, has gone through the roof.

The first series of the Lego skates was made with single blocks. Version 2.0 is made with double blocks making for a more comfortably fitting skate. There has also been some experimentation with the blades’ length. The longer blades are hinting at speed skates. Nellie is quite steady on her feet. She moves in an actual skating motion to get her and her Lego from place to place.

Noah takes his ‘skates’ to bed at night maybe in an effort to dream them into real blades. Our lad’s imaginarium is certainly hard at play. It’s great to see him fashioning the world around him and having fun in the process.

This morning he thumped me 10 – 4 in the Eastern Passage gold medal Olympic Classic. That’s right, he was Team Canada.

I’ve got to track down the manufacturer and get myself a pair of those specialty skates for our downstairs scrimmages. Maybe they’ll help me win a game or two.


Eastern Passage Coliseum

Except for a lone light in the office, the Eastern Passage Coliseum is quiet and dark. The star player is tucked snugly in bed dreaming of the games yet to be played. His new sticks are leaning upright in the corners at the end of the hallway right outside his bedroom door. I’m surprised the sticks aren’t under the covers with him. They’re ready to be grabbed though just four or five steps after he hits the floor. Within less than a minute of waking, he’ll be starting to warm up or be looking for a game.

The excitement won’t be quite as intense now that grand-papa has made it back to Sorel, home of Stanley Cup champion Marc-AndrĂ© Fleury. The couple of days prior to his departure it’s hockey pandemonium in our family room. Grand-papa Raymond and Noah are great rivals on the makeshift rink. The most uninhibited laughter booms throughout the house as they wheel about the cork floor looking to exploit a moment of miscalculation, searching for an opening to sail the puck through the goal.

This is magic time for them, a foundation for admiration, wonder and their ever growing love for each other. With each drop of the puck, the fun filled excitement pumps our little boy’s heart to bursting. His imagination blooms in the competitive atmosphere inventing new team names, rules and fake outs.

The Curious George motif on the just-after-Christmas sticks that maman found is cause for delight. George is a favourite literary and cartoon scamp for Noah and Nellie both. These sticks are about twice the size as the souvenir sticks we had been playing with previoulsy. This is a big help to the 50 plus gang as we no longer have to do the Quasimodo. We can nearly play in a natural stance.

About 30 days downstream from buying our family membership at Cole Harbour Place, I’ve finally made it to the cardio fitness centre. We’ve been swimming and skating several times but this was the first time for me on the machines. It was a modest 35 minute workout to get things rolling. I went shortly after the kids hit the sack last night. Noah wanted me to stay home. I told him, “With some exercising I’ll be in better shape for hockey.” That’s all he needed to be sold. He now wants to start an exercise program when he gets up in the morning. That will be a great way for us to begin the day.

I’m not sure what teams will be taking to the ice here later today. The traditional Penguins and Canadiens are losing favour of late to the likes of the Crabs, the Lobsters and the Whales. We’ll have to see what the day brings and what team selects me from the draft. Here’s hoping that I’ll go in the first round to a contender.

I’ll have to be careful that I don’t get bamboozled out on the ice. He’s now adopted one of grand-papa’s tricks. He calls out, “Look over there it’s a monkey.” Must be the Curious George thing again but there’s no monkey around. He just side steps me as I’m looking up at the ceiling and smokes a goal right through my legs.

Another favourite is the delay tactic. Grand-papa made me wise to this one before he left. After a few gruelling periods of end to end action we need to wind a game down. A favourite means is the ‘next goal wins’ clause. Now, in response to this call Noah slows down the action, gracefully stickhandling in an unhurried, unflustered paean to near inertia. He avoids the next goal, rags the time around the floor like a puck and extends play until that awful, inevitable final siren sings out.

Raymond had a sweet move just as he was leaving yesterday. He pulled out a small piece of carry on luggage and laid it flat on the floor. He positioned himself behind it and started pushing it forward while calling out, “Watch out, Zamboni coming through, watch out.” Noah’s a Zamboni nut waving madly at the drivers as they glide by. He found this to be very funny as did I.

We’ll be looking forward to Raymond’s next visit when hockey fever will sure to be raised several notches. In the interim I’ll take up the slack and make sure that Noah and I keep to our training regimen. We’ve got to be ready to play and to cheer on the Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey team, getting unveiled later today, when they take to the ice in February.

Noah has just arrived in the office – a big smile on his face, two hockey sticks in hand. Apparently I’m going to be the goalie and he’s going to be the player. Also just in case there is any doubt, Noah is going to win.