The NHL announced the cancellation of the January 1 outdoor game. As a kid I grew up playing on ponds, cricks, outdoor and backyard rinks. I shoveled a section of the Detroit River every winter just so I had a practice rink. The outdoor game was special, not just for new fans of the game but also for anybody who warmed their hands by a wood burning stove while smelling bad cherry pipe tobacco permeating the air.
In Ottawa I played goal on outdoor rinks for my grade school team St. Christopher’s. It was often -20 degrees during those games. Imagine what it was like for the coach!!! Snow banks capped at the boards served as benches. Players changed lines by dropping 5 or so feet to the ice and getting pulled up and over the boards.
We never once thought it was difficult or hard. It was hockey. It was fun. We also played street hockey. We began interrupting our Stanley Cup Final game which always went into overtime for the mock bench clearing brawl. Grownups who misunderstood would come running out of their houses to break up the pretend fights LMAO. Eventually they caught on and mumbled about how hockey players set a bad example for the youth of today.
So they cancelled the one event that reminded so many of us of the joy of our youth. I know hockey will survive, though I’m beginning to have doubts about the NHL. An observation made by former Montreal Star and Gazette reporter Red Fisher is appropriate today;
Hockey must be a heckuva game to have survived the a-holes running it.
Aside: BTW, just did a series of google searches for the aforementioned quote. No attribution anywhere. Hmm, I once called into Duck Calls to ask Stan Fischler of its origin. He denied having made it but thought it was something Red Fisher might say. The origin is now something of urban legend. Jeez, I must have CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff.) Could have sworn that came from Red Fisher or Stan Fischler.
I first read it a decade or more ago on McKeen’s chat board. Thought is was a great quote and carried it in the memory bag but had forgotten who said it. Apparently, it was an anonymous poster.