Monday, March 5, 2012

Hockey Night at Christie Pits

He shoots She scores!  that’s what we said on the bench all the time! We had skaters of all ages come out to play and even skilled women who showed there  hockey skills. The local park Christie Pits (Christie and Pool) has  baseball diamond, swimming pool, soccer field and basketball courts
 December  through February the ice rink is best place to be in town. Men and women and kids come out for pleasure skating and shinny hockey. A time to have fun and enjoy the winter weather.

It’s a special and memorable spot for me, because back in 1986 (day  the Space Shuttle disaster), I  had been skating with friend and  fallen and badly injured two front teeth. (required severe dental work).
Fast  forward  to  February 2003 and my brother and I decided to take beginner skating lessons to finally enjoy the sport of hockey the way it’s meant to be played. (excerpt of story is below)
Had played ball hockey for  10  years and had won two championship with two teams in two different leagues in the same week. ( experience to share another  time!)

It  had been a few years since I had taken the beginner lessons and felt ready that wanted to continue on my skating journey. Had gone out to play hockey with full equipment with a friend who has indoor shinny game that they play couple time a month up at the north part of the city, had not done very well playing there so needed  to go back to the hockey basics. 

Began to participate  in local indoor family skate(on Sundays)at  Bill Bolton arena (Palmerson and Dupont) and began to work on my stamina at the local gym.
Winter had finally arrived and was excited to start playing hockey more consistently so Christie Pit skating rink was the best place to go play and practice. There were also few other rinks in the neighbourhood that I visited occasionally (Dufferin Grove near Dufferin Mall).

It was great pleasure to watch talent skaters would showed their talents night after night. There were spectacular goals, passes and team co-operation.

We had a few special nights that were worth remembering. In mid-December the Red-Bull mini cooper car showed up near the rink (the one with the Red bull can on top of the car!) Two young ladies walked down the concourse and entered the room where we get changed, we were not sure  what  they were doing, we figured  perhaps  refilling the pop machines! We could see the two  City of Toronto workers talking  to the ladies (by the way Anderson , Jermaine and John were great in providing pucks an light hearted fun throughout  the evening) 

They ladies exciting the room and headed toward the outside the rink near the where the benches were. The were carrying the cylinder like cooler bags filled with drinks. They asked us “Anyone want  some Red bull?”  We all said “sure”. They started throwing the cans over the fence, which wasn’t the best of idea for a few of the cans! The cans were small so they passed them through the fence, which was better and faster! 
Everyone was happy and full of energy we had a very spirited game after that. I only had half a can and didn’t up sleep until 3:00am (the stuff is full of sugar and caffeine) not a great mixture to take late in the evening.
As the days and weeks passed I began to find my skating groove and got better and stronger on the skates. Playing in such a high skilled and fast paced game on most nights was the best exercise and environment  to learn and play.

Leadership and systems also played important part in having an evening  that we required participation by everyone to make the skating a success.

Someone had to separate all the  sticks into teams sometimes as many as four teams! Many nights  line changed system had to be used because we so many players show up. 5 on each side and 12-15 players on the bench.

On a few nights we had so many players we had three to four teams in order to get the game started, it was an amazing site to see how everything flowed so easily. Whichever team scored first the losing team would be out and the next team would play.
There was one special night where it snow so much that we  used three shovels and clean half the ice so we can play. There was great teamwork  in getting it done so we can have a mini game of hockey. Everyone was smiling and enjoying themselves. We still had a very competitive game, as it kept snowing. Even after I left they got the shovel out again and kept shovelling!  They were determined to play until 11:00pm (that’s when the lights turn off)

It was great 90 days of hockey and made some new friends and learned  some new moves to apply in my journey of becoming a better skater
Moral of the story- Go out and learn  a new skill and at the same time you will learn more about your own abilities and make new friends along the way

Thanks to everyone to make Hockey Night at Christie Pits a great experience.

Youtube video:  Christie pits Skating rink ( )

Exerpt from my book “How to Attract a Mentor for Business life and Success”


 The key focus of a coach is they give you “specific direction”, great example of this is a few years ago my brother and a friend and me decided to learn how to skate. So we signed up for beginner lessons and were very excited about the experience. The months prior to lessons we began to assemble the necessary equipment that we required. Most of the equipment we purchase new from skates to helmets, hockey pants etc. 

Prior to starting the classes we got dressed up with our hockey equipment to get used to the equipment, we felt like “gladiators” on skates! Very soon the lessons were to begin the excitement was growing as the days got closer.

We had assembled at the first practice and got to meet out teammates, we had variety of ages and backgrounds on our team. We had to pick a representative for our team to convene with the league and to my surprise they chose my brother and I provided some computer assistance.

As we got on the ice I quickly realized that this was going to be a very challenging experience. I had skated very briefly prior to this and did have many happy memories. The coaches put us through some drills and I and few other participants were lagging behind. Frustration began to set and I was beginning to have doubts. During the second lesson I had a friend come and watch me practice and this where I had a significant experience. I ended up falling on the ice very heavily headfirst and suffered a brief concussion and was in bed ridden for three  days. This was a turning point for me. My brother and his friend ended up quitting the three practices, and I also had a choice to make after suffering the concussion. 

I had a lot reasons to quit but many more to stay I wanted to learn how to skate and was willing to put the effort to do so. As I continued to go the lessons the coach’s made this statement. “You’re not going to learn how to skate coming on day week. You are going to have to go on your own time and practice”. I took his statement very seriously and that’s exactly what I did. I went to indoor family skates on Sunday’s and to open skating arenas in my neighborhood. We got some practice times at the local arena with our teammates and gradually we got better. Got some great tips from my co-worker who had been skating for many years. He told me to practice skating with puck and learn to control it also to overextend my skating to allow the body to feel the extra tension.

Began to apply this tips and suggestions and through practice and persistence my skating got better and better. Confidence and self-esteem began to grow and was more balanced on my skates when I was in front of the net. It worked because that’s been I scored most of m goals!

Great personality I like to watch is Don Cherry he does a first period rant with Ron McLean on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday Nights. Don Cherry was a coach for many years and share some great examples and highlights of players are persistent and achieved their goals.

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