It’s been a tough season for hockey nets.
As my family and I drove back to Ottawa from the Collingwood area last weekend, we decided to take smaller two-lane highways in an attempt to avoid all the long weekend traffic along the 400 series of highways. It was a beautiful drive with our furry canine who occasionally reminded me of his presence by sniffing into my ear, and headphone-sporting teenagers that ignored me altogether.
The route took us over ponds, streams, lakes and rivers. On several occasions, I noticed the parts of hockey nets sticking out of shallow waters or partially submerged in the remnants of backyard hockey rinks.
It’s easy to visualize what the scene must’ve looked like a few months back: kids in skates, throwing their sticks onto the ice in a big pile as the designated captains picked up half of them to determine the teams for that afternoon. An afternoon shinny game ensues with all the neighbourhood kids and possibly even a few grown-ups. Inevitably, someone overshoots the net and has to hike over the snowbank to dig the puck out of the snow, to the groans and complaints of his or her teammates and opponents. I could almost year the squeals and cheers amid someone doing a simulated play-by-play. You know – our typical winter scene!
What’s left over after the kids all go home? Those poor hockey nets. The ones I saw on our road trip looked woefully abandoned. Clearly someone forgot to retrieve them from the before the ice started melting. I got to thinking how often this might happen season after season and said to my husband, “I wonder how many hockey nets are sitting at the bottom of lakes and rivers across Canada?”
“Oh yeah,” said one of my teenagers from the back seat (guess he was listening after all). “Ron says he often has to haul his nets out of the Rideau River in the spring!”“Ifhe can find them,” I thought.
I can only imagine the TLC these sunken treasures need upon their rescue: a thorough hose down and cleaning, followed by careful cutting away of the netting (if there is any netting left) which no doubt also needs a pretty careful wash. Then, a fresh new coat of red paint for the posts, and the reattachment of the cleaned netting (or perhaps brand new netting). Boom! Ready for road hockey!
Perhaps this restoration is also an annual event that plays itself out year and year. I wouldn’t know as our own backyard rink’s nets always found their summer home in our driveway long before the spring thaw. Ah well, as long as they’re in shape for next season, right?
And what of those poor hockey nets that are never recovered? Do they not deserve a little respect for the service they provided throughout the season? And what would be an appropriate memorial for them? What if there was an intense game of walleye and bass hockey going on somewhere right now? Only the hockey nets know for sure!
Three cheers to all those rescued outdoor rinks hockey nets and those we’ve left behind – ’tis the season to save their souls!
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