Everyone has that one smell. You know what I’m talking about. The smell of cookies being baked in your mother’s kitchen. The smell of freshly cut grass. Or your father’s favourite cologne. These smells take you back in time. A time where you felt safe and loved. When you smile and remember good moments in your life. A happy time. A simpler time.
Well for me, it’s the smell of the ice.
It doesn’t matter where I am, what city, what rink, what country. As soon as I enter the arena and the smell of the ice hits me, time seems to suspend for a moment, I inhale deeply and I feel at home. It’s almost magical. Scratch that, it’s pure magic.
In a sense, my drug of choice is hockey. And yes, I’m addicted. But no, I don’t need rehab. I just need more hockey. All the hockey.
So when did this all start for me? Well, it was September 15, 1987. The Canada Cup was taking place and I was GLUED to the television screen. I danced around the living room with my mom’s feather duster, using it as a stick. If you asked my mom, she would tell you that I was playing in the game that day. Lemieux, Gretzky, Messier, Oh My! I was 5 years old.
From that day on, I was hooked.
So how hockey am I, you ask? Well, in OAC (grade 13) history class we had to pick a topic from a list of historical events, such as The War of 1812, Prohibition, The Great Depression, and so on. I took one look at the list and thought, “Well, I’m going to fail.” Suddenly, a light went on. I should write about The Inception of the NHL. Brilliant, I know! I approached my teacher with my proposal, and he was almost thrilled at me thinking outside the box. While he had to have it approved by the head of the department, it wasn’t long before I was nose deep in the history books. The hockey history books that is. It was my best work to date. Not only did I ace the paper, the teacher had sports added to the syllabus. Not bad, eh?
Now, I actually never played organized hockey because girls hockey wasn’t really popular back then and I was heavily involved in other sports. Such as, track (short distance), long distance running, baseball, wrestling and paddling. Though I did play more than my fair share of pick-up and pond hockey. I even used my free period, in my last year of highschool, to go down to Scarborough Gardens Arena and play with the boys.
At age 18, I went and got certified as a Hockey Coach and Level 3 Hockey Trainer. Securing my very first Assistant Coaching job with The Markham Waxers. A team that my dad had once played for in his early years. Though he had nothing to do with my being hired, as I did that all on my own. When I want something, I go for it, all in.
From there I went on to join the Toronto Jr Canadiens U15 AAA, as the trainer. While I did not spend a long time with that team, due to issues from some of the parents about the close age gap between me and the players, I did enjoy the opportunity. Even more so because future San Jose Sharks (one of my teams) Jamie McGinn played on the team.
Oh how I love seeing players that I once worked with going pro. It’s a very satisfying feeling. And there have been many.
I have worked in an abundance of hockey schools/camps over the years. Those were always a blast. Helping to develop young athletes is oh so rewarding.
One of my most favourite experiences was helping to build the 3HLTOUR a couple of years ago. It was a 3on3 mens professional league, sanctioned by Hockey Canada. In my first year with the league my duties included, acting as the Director of Player Personnel and Game Day Operations. In my second year with the league, I became the General Manager of one of the teams, the Guelph Brewers. Some recognizable names being, Theo Peckham and Brett MacLean. Two solid players. As we won a few tournaments. The league folded due to financial reasons, but will be back up in running sometime in the near future. I cannot wait for that, as it was some fantastic hockey. With a fantastic group of players and personnel.
My last coaching job was with the Wexford Raiders Jr A team. Right back to where it all started at Scarborough Gardens Arena. Known alumni being Anson Carter.
I have had many other coaching jobs that did not end well due to some “not so nice” management. If you haven’t read my blog titled, My Trials & Tribulations – Hockey Edition, I urge you to check it out. I will include the link at the end of this article. It really captures some of the, to put it lightly, crap that I had to endure.
Speaking of that blog, that is now why I am here, writing this to the readers on Dean Blundell’s site. As they reached out to me after I guest starred on Deans podcast discussing my blog.
An opportunity to write and eventually host my very own podcast, sign me up all day long! As I will be using the next couple of months to find my voice and figure out the direction I will be going with this opportunity. Safe to say it will be directed towards hockey. My journey, my learnings/teachings and some kickass hockey interviews with some kickass hockey pros. Focusing on women in hockey, women’s hockey and general hockey thoughts and opinions.
I should end this with what I am working towards, continuing my journey in the hockey industry, my dream. Since 11 years old I have made it my life’s work to, one day, coach in the NHL.
And coach in the NHL, I shall.
So I hope that you readers and listeners will join me on my journey in hockey. Because hockey is more than just a game, it’s a way of life. And I accept and embrace anyone that shares my love for the game. Especially the fans.
So buckle up Ladies and Gentlemen, as it will be a wonderful, though sometimes bumpy ride. But I can guarantee that you will be entertained, informed and even educated.
If you have any questions, compliments, complaints or just want to suggest to me some content that you would love to see me cover. Please don’t hesitate to contact me on twitter. Even just to shoot the breeze with me, I can always make time for hockey talk.
As I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it many many more times;
Hockey was my first love, and what a love affair it has been!
For my blog regarding my journey in the game click here.