Is it really already the middle of March? It’s simply hard to believe how fast time flies these days.
It seems like only a couple of weeks ago Ty and I were trekking to Olympic View Ice Arena for his first hockey practices – neither of us really sure of what was in store for the upcoming season. I was as clueless as a Dad could be – I’ve never played hockey in my life and have only ice skated less than 20 times probably. I had no idea how to put on the equipment or properly tie his ice skates – thank goodness for YouTube because I was able to find a video demonstrating exactly how to put on the equipment (and believe me, it does make a difference if you try to put on hockey socks AFTER the shorts!).
The first few practices were admittedly a little rough for both Ty and I. For me, I was struggling trying to get him dressed and ready for practice – while trying to pretend I knew exactly what I was doing (even while putting taking off and starting over with some of the gear). I also had to learn how to properly layer him so he’d be comfortable on the ice during practice. I went from nearly freezing him to roasting him over a couple of weeks before finally figuring out the perfect layer of long underwear and sweatpants below combined with long underwear and a long sleeve t-shirt above.
Finally in January the big moment arrived: Ty and the Green Team’s first hockey game! The excitement in the rink was unquestioned as six rink rat teams squared off against each other in the ice arena (which was divided into thirds by pads so teams could play horizontally against each other). A local TV station was on hand for a special “Little Heroes” segment.
Ty was nervous because he developed an aversion to the loud buzzer in the arena (while he was in skating lessons). I tried to reassure him that the buzzer wouldn’t be too loud and that he’d be too busy playing hockey. Each team had two “lines” of six players and every two minutes the buzzer would sound off to signal a line change. All things considered, Ty did well in that first game. Even though he was nervous his coaches did a great job of encouraging him and getting him out on the ice for each shift and eventually it became much less of an issue. He spent most of his time during his first game skating on his own – not too interested or concerned about the location of the puck (or other players). But he had fun and was genuinely excited after the game – and that’s truly all that matters.
The boys got a special treat at the end of the season. Instead of having practice on the final Saturday as was previously planned, the league arranged for the teams to go to Comcast Arena in Everett and play a final game in the large (for them) stadium where the Everett Silvertips play their home games. It was really a fun experience. The teams got to use the locker rooms and watch the Zamboni machine clean the ice before the game. They played their final game of the season and Ty was again thrilled afterwards – and vowed to play again next season.