Last year Kingston had an incredible experience running for Kraft Hockeyville. I am green with envy that I was living in BC and missed it. I am so happy to be home in the Valley for my home rink's Hockeyville celebrations.
At first I was a little hesitant about Middleton's nomination for Hockeyville. The thought of sharing a place I find so sacred with the country was a challenge. Growing up the rink was my second home and honestly most of the time I preferred to be at the rink than at home.
I have heard people say that here in Canada we over romanticize our relationship with hockey. I've played hockey across this country and I can tell you that there is nothing like being the first person to hit a freshly cleaned sheet of ice at your home rink. The ice crunching underneath your skates as you push off, the cold air hitting you in the face and let’s be honest, sometimes in Middleton it was more like a warm foggy air that you could not only feel but taste and smell as well. It is such a personal, individual moment that is part of a sport that truly teaches you how to be part of a team.
When I look back at my childhood and teenage years that feeling was a key part of growing up; learning how to skate by sprawling onto the ice outside dressing room #2 and being equally as excited to see the tractor clean the ice as I was to skate, tripping on my skate guards getting onto the ice outside room #1 for figure skating and finally jumping down from the home bench too many times to count outside room #5 hosting hockey games for my seven seasons in minor hockey.
Everyone in Middleton has a memory of our rink:
- The late 80s mix-tape that was played well into the 90s during public skate
- The excitement and anticipation of your first Rink Drink
-Getting an extra penny candy (or two) in your bag from the canteen
-Saturday night double-header high school hockey games
-CanSkate lessons with lots of marker scribbles on the ice
-Waiting for the Zamboni to come out on the ice (they really seem to blow young children’s minds)
-Walking into The Pep, knowing every face and struggling to find a seat
- The annual parent-child hockey game
-Taking two bags to hockey so that when you finished at the rink you could head over to Sampson’s pond
-And getting to the rink with enough change in your pocket and time on your hands to get Adrian to sharpen your skates. I swear Middleton kids had the sharpest skates in the Annapolis Valley because of that man! It didn’t matter if we were heading off to another rink for an away game we always made time to stop off and get our skates sharpened by our Pro Adrian.
I had to take a break; I have now just come back to this blog after a few days.
I want to finish this blog by reflecting on my experience with Middleton Arena and playing hockey in Middleton. I started playing hockey much older than kids normally do. I was eleven and held back on the Atom team; taking the year to develop the skills and work my butt was one of the best decisions my parents ever made for me. I was in Grade 6 that year and it would end up being the only year that I played on a single hockey team. I cried when the season was over; I never wanted it to end.
The following year I was off to MRHS and not only played on my minor peewee team, but on the first version of the Middleton High School Girl’s hockey team. Many of the girls had never played before and the leadership from the senior girls who had played before was something I will always appreciate. For the next two years we lost brutally to teams that would go on to form our High School Girls Hockey League and other senior female teams in our area. When the league finally did form we started to reap the benefit of having younger girls leaving elementary school and moving on to MRHS. Yes, our league was dominated by young experienced hockey players who helped a large number of the more senior players develop. There were some seriously skilled female players playing that were older than me, but again the majority of the older female players were newbies.
|There it is!|
The moment that will always stick with me in a Middleton Hockey jersey was huge. Unfortunately it happened in Barrington Arena in the spring of 2007, my graduating year in high school. Our MRHS girl’s hockey team faced Kings Edgehill at Regionals. KES is one of the first actual high school teams I can remember playing. I was in the 8th grade, it was before there was a high school girl’s hockey league and we met them at one of CK’s first Christmas time tournaments. They killed us 17-1. Beating them at Regionals and advancing to provincials in one of my last games wearing blue and gold was such a vindicating moment; it was the first time we EVER had beaten Kings Edgehill and (I like to think) it was a big moment for the league. We may not have won the banner in the Middleton rink, but all the work to bring us that BIG “W” was done at home in our rink over the years it took to get us there.
I have many more photos from the era before Facebook at my parents house to dig up, most of them are during very awkward stages of life that teenage Kate hid strategically.
There ya go! My thoughts and my moments on why Middleton is Kraft Hockeyville 2015!
Use #khv_middletonnsforhockeyville and #MiddletonNSforKraftHockeyville to join the conversation, visit http://www.khv2015.ca/en/nominations/profile/middleton-district-arena-7/ to share your story!