Whatever happened to …


… road hockey?

Thanks to Peter Cameron for this suggestion via the Whatever happened padlet.

I enjoy your Sunday “Whatever Happened to” posts. Have you ever done a Whatever Happened to street hockey. Back in the 70′ and 80’s when I was growing up in Thunder Bay street hockey was all the rage. Although I didn’t play organized hockey, it gave me the opportunity to play the game. When driving into my childhood neighbourhood to visit my parents yesterday, I saw a street hockey game happening. I think it’s the first one I’ve seen in 10 years. As we passed thekids yelled “car” and moved to the side of the road. It brought back so many memories😊

Peter’s memory moment brought back memories of my own.  You’ll notice that I called it “road hockey” above.  That’s what we called it.  Maybe because our roads weren’t paved when we started playing!

Organized hockey for us was “house league” and that took place on Saturday mornings.  If I remember correctly, we practiced for 20 minutes and then played a game.  It was “straight time” which meant that the three 10 minute period gave us exactly 10 minutes whether we were playing or not!  The last 10 minutes in the hour was a chance for the arena to clean and flood the ice.

But that didn’t mean we didn’t practice our skills.  During the winter, it was done on the street outside our houses.  What street we played on depended upon who we could get together to play.  If we played on our street, it was a challenge since we were on a bit of a hill.  So, halfway we “changed ends” so that everyone got a chance to attack going downhill!  If we played one street over, it was flatter and fairer to both teams.

Usually, the slowest kid had to play goal.  Our nets were either a pile of snow scooped up from the road or a big chunk that we got from the side of the road the last time the Zamboni, er, snow plough went by.  We’d step off the distance to make sure that the nets were the same size on either end of the playing area!  The top of the net was at shoulder height.  So, to score, you had to be between the piles of snow and the shoulders of your goalie.  (It always paid off to have a short goalie)

We used the same sticks that we played with on Saturday.  I have a recollection of a variety of “pucks” over the years.  I can remember playing with tennis balls, real pucks, and a sponge rubber puck.  Real pucks could be a killer because we didn’t wear any pads!  We didn’t use our hockey gloves either.  Our regular mittens did the trick except for the goalie who used a baseball glove as a trapper.

Being highly technical wasn’t a priority.  It was just a chance to play outside with friends.  We were ahead of the times too.  Typically girls figure skated at the arena but we enjoyed having them play road hockey with us.  The timer?  It was either the setting sun or a game would “go to 10” with the first team to score 5 meant that we changed ends.  At times, the game was suspended because of lunch or supper but we picked up after that.  Now that I write this, I find it kind of odd that we all had meals roughly at the same time.

As Peter notes, often we weren’t the only people using the road.  Keeping an eye out for traffic was the job of the two goalies and a shout of “CAR!” meant the game was paused and we headed for the benches, er, snowbanks.  For the most part, drivers were courteous.  It could be a different story when the police came by.  The Chief would go out of his way to drive over and flatten a goal post.  One of the other officers would occasionally stop and chat or join in and play a bit.  (Some of us had two hockey sticks and there was usually a few stuck in the snowbank by the side of the road)

How about you, kind reader?

  • Do you have memories of playing road or street hockey?
  • Did you have real nets and equipment or did you have to make do like we did?
  • Did you have any local rules to make playing a success?
  • How about today?  Do you see kids playing street hockey or do they go to the town’s fancy double and triple ice pads for games and practices?
  • Do you know what the term “rink rat” means?

Please take a moment to share your thoughts via comment.

Thanks, Peter, for the suggestion.  I hadn’t thought about this in quite some time.  Living on a concession road, any road hockey done here is on the driveway.

If you have an idea for a “Whatever happened to …” post, please leave it in the Padlet.

All of the articles in this series can be found here.

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OTR Links 11/05/2017


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.