OUT ON A LIMB: Freezing our toques off in the great outdoor game

Reflecting on my great outdoor hockey game experience of one cold, clear winter day in the Yukon

In light of last Sunday’s outdoor Heritage Classic, I reflected on my great outdoor hockey game experience of one cold, clear winter day in the Yukon in 1976/77.We were playing the outdoor ice “rink” in Ross River and I was a rightwinger for the Ed Lambkin Construction Hornets. It was a road game for us, having driven the 30 miles down the Campbell Highway to the predominantly First Nations village. We were a team of junior-age players and we played in the dramatically named Wild Moose Hockey League – I’m not making this up – a men’s league in Faro, Yukon. One of the teams in the league was a squad from Ross River and they occasionally hosted games on their home rink – an open-air ice surface in the village.This was roughing it for the rest of the teams coming from Faro, where we had just had our new indoor rink completed the previous summer. No more outdoor stuff for us. In a year or two we would even get a Zamboni but I would have fled to university in Vancouver by that time.So there we were on a bright sunny day – much like last Sunday’s Heritage Classic in Calgary – dressing in the unheated change room. This was a wooden shed that had so many holes and gaps in the walls any heating fixtures would have been a waste of time any way. Our team of 14-17 year old players were hollering our heads off freezing our behinds while we got into our hockey gear. It was more adrenaline than real cold and we were laughing at each other as much anything. Still, one Ross player scornfully told us to quit complaining. We ignored him and continued to holler and kibbutz. I’m sure the whole village could have heard us through the plywood walls.Anyway, we went out there and resumed our stellar league play against men’s teams. I think we came close to winning one game once. Yes, there was one game where we made a second-period surge and scored a couple of goals.It was the 70s and we were a bunch of kids from a rough and ready little mining town. I remember playing a Whitehorse team our own age once and one of our players, feeling neighbourly and sportsmanlike, went into the opposition dressing room and offered cigarettes all around the room. He came back to our dressing room amazed and a touch offended that none of the Whitehorse players took him up on his kind gesture.“I offered a cigarette all round the room and you know how many took me up on it? Not one!” he said incredulously.Oh well, I fondly remember that outdoor game in Ross. It was actually beautiful. A snow clad village in beautiful sunshine and blue skies. The timeless Pelly River rolled by. I was probably in the best shape of my life and could skate for hours. It wasn’t great hockey but we weren’t playing for professional contracts either. We played for the pure love of the game. It was my quintessential heritage moment. My Winter classic.

Just Posted

Interest high in final all-candidates’ forum in Campbell River

As the campaign winds down, candidates make final push for votes Monday night

Campbell River supportive living facility celebrates 25 years amid housing crunch

Willow Point Supportive Living Society provides rental units to low-income seniors

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Chili Fest raises funds for Campbell River community group

Jack-o’-lanterns take over Spirit Square during Halloween event

Campbell River RCMP catch youth with stolen handgun

Gun was allegedly stolen in break-and-enter on Dogwood St.

Rick Mercer says pot is ‘excruciatingly boring’

Comedian hopes Canadians will move onto something else once marijuana is legalized

2 charged for feeding B.C. bear Tim Horton’s timbits

Court documents show that Randy Scott and Megan Hiltz have both been charged with feeding or attempting to feed dangerous wildlife.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set for parole bid after 25 years in prison

Bernardo’s parole hearing at the Bath Institution is expected to attract numerous observers

Feds aiming to select preferred design for $60B warships by end of month

Defence insiders say the government wants to select a design by the end of the month from among three options submitted by several of the largest defence and shipbuilding companies in the world.

B.C. city wants control over its cannabis advertising rules

Without a say, towns and cities risk Washington-State-style flood of advertising, proponent says

Defence cautions against mob justice in Calgary child neglect trial

Jennifer and Jeromie Clark of Calgary have pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death

Feds eyeing options to expedite pardons for minor pot convictions

Internal discussions have focused on an application-based process for speeding up pot pardons

Island pot smokers won’t be allowed to light up on the ski hill

Mount Washington maintains smoke-free policy in light of marijuana legalization

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to dominate North American marijuana industry

Cannabis producers claim the U.S. is “rapidly losing” its competitive advantage to Canada

Most Read