Monday, January 3, 2011

The State of Hockey

Minnesota is the state of many great things: lakes, snow, canoes - but most infamously Minnesota is the State of Hockey. It's the theme of the Minnesota Wild Hockey Anthem.

We were raised
With the stick
And a pair of blades
On the ice we cut our teeth
We took our knocks
In the penalty box
Our mother was the referee

This sport was here
Before we came
It will be here when we're gone
The game's in our blood
And our blood's in the game
Lay us down under
A frozen pond

We will fight to the end
We will stand and defend
Our flag flying high and free
We were born the child
Of the strong and Wild
In the State, the State of Hockey

A big blue line runs around our state
A line that can't be crossed
The day they try to take this game
Is the day the gloves come off

We will fight to the end
We will stand and defend
Our flag flying high and free
We were born the child
Of the strong and Wild
In the State, the State of Hockey.

Now, full Minnesota-shame disclosure moment, I never played hockey. No pond hockey, no organized hockey of any kind. I would occasionally skate with a stick in my hand but it just wasn't my thing. But, I love to watch it. Part of my love of the game comes from my love of boo-ing the referee and the fact that my brother was raised between the posts, playing goalie for most of his life. If I wasn't off pursuing my
nerdy hobbies I was at the rink, watching my much cooler younger brother refined his skills. Hockey for me has always been about watching it, loving the game and appreciating the skill that is required to zoom around the ice and handle the puck.

But, I live in Minneapolis, and let's be real, Minneapolis itself is not an epic hockey town. There are legendary hockey names in these parts, Charlie Conway may have been from Minneapolis but most hockey players are from the suburbs. Let's be realistic, hockey naturally requires
an SUV or a minivan and those vehicles are naturally frowned upon here in the city. So, we don't get a lot of hockey around here.

But this weekend Calhoun and I were out in Andover visiting my grandparents and Calhoun had planned to play some old-fashioned pond hockey with some buddies and needed skates sharpened. Now, these aren't just any old skates, their quality Bauer's that I stole from my Dad. There was a period of time when I vehemently believed they were mine, but I have realized that they are not and since refuse to give them back. Anyways, they were in desperate need of a tune up so we stopped by the old Lettermen Sports in Blaine (you know, the Blaine Super Rink) to get them sharpened.

Apparently Sundays are not the days to get your skates sharpened, because it takes an hour.

So, we wandered around the hockey giant mega superstore for an hour. It was kinda fun, rows of sticks, walls covered in pads and skates, and even a test room for your stick, complete with puck marks across the window.
Now, I'm not getting too nostalgic here, the store was definitely a merchandise driven experience. But underneath that all, and despite the wait, everyone was really excited to pull their sharpened skates off the counter and head off towards that sheet of ice.

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