So back in May I hurt my shoulder – wakeboarding, not hockey-related.  That put me on the sidelines for a few weeks, and then I was very busy planning and preparing for a trip around the country with my daughter.  That put me into August, by which time, of course, I’d gotten rather lazy and out of shape again.

After a year’s break, the boy-child is wanting to play again, so I had him dig out his equipment and see what fit … at thirteen, after a year, what fit would be shin pads.  So $600 later he has all new equipment.

The girl-child has been saying that she wants to play as well.  When she started saying this, she was heavily involved in dance four or five nights a week, so it wasn’t an option.  Now she’s less involved in formal dance lessons and she’s still been saying periodically that she’d like to try it. 

She has a busier schedule, though, with work, college soon, and a teenage girl’s social life – but the hockey options for someone sixteen-plus are less formal than for the younger kids, with drop-ins and clinics where you can just show up for one instead of signing up for weeks of them.

So I figured what the hell … I’ll let her try it a couple times and see what she thinks.

First we went to Play it Again Sports to look at used equipment, but two things put me off.  First, nothing there is organized, and I hate trying to find things in a disorganized mess; and, second, the thought of putting my little girl in someone’s old, sweat-stained castoff gave me qualms.  Now, I’d put the boy-child in a used jock if I needed to save money, and not think twice about it, but girls are different.

Another shopping trip and another $600 for gear and the girl-child’s fully equipped.  I took a chance that she’d actually like it and I wouldn’t wind up wasting the money, because she’s never played a team sport before. 


A few days later, off to the skate and shoot we all went.

Apparently, skating on hockey skates is different than figure skates (the only other skating the girl-child’s done).  Who knew?

I didn’t think it would be that different, but I’ve never worn figure skates, so that was an assumption.  The girl noticed it, though, and that, plus the pounds of equipment, made her considerably less graceful than a decade of dance training would lead one to expect.

She was also a bit wide-eyed and seemed nervous.  Her only experience on-ice has been public skates where everyone goes ‘round-and-‘round in the same direction.  The chaos of a skate and shoot, with scrimmages at either end and skaters at center ice, was a very different experience for her.

The boy and I spent some time chasing each other around the ice, then the three of us practiced passing a bit.  That went better than I expected it to, with the girl-child never having held a hockey stick before.  She missed some, but she was generally on target and had good speed on the puck for her first time.

I spent the last fifteen minutes of the skate practicing a hockey stop with my left foot forward.  Something I still can’t do, so it’s more like a just barely controlled skidding turn. 

I think the gamble on buying her equipment was worth it, because a few days later she came over and asked: “So when’s the next hockey?”

I assumed she meant the next Solar Bears games we could go to, so I started reading off their schedule.

“No, no, no,” she said. “Hockey.

So it’s harder for her to find time to do something and she doesn’t want to go alone yet, which complicates it further, but it looks like there’ll be three of us on the ice when we can all make it now.