Maine parents with hockey players in the family know about dedication to their kids passionate sport.
When the Houlton Maine ice arena caved in from a too heavy snow load in 1998 much good came out of the building collapse.
First and foremost, the timing of that winter ice arena cave in is on top of my life blessings to be grateful for list.
I am so glad that my sons Elliot and Alexander’s brother-against-brother hockey game was not played. Because if Houlton Parks And Recreation Director Gary Edwards had not called it off, a local diaster, biggest area tragedy would have happened.
The two boys along with many other team players were scheduled to be center ice for the game face off and fast paced hockey offense and defensive maneuvers. At the very same time the arena collapsed, became a jumble, crumble of twisted I-beams and other building debris.
My mind can horrifically, vividly see youth hockey players, fans, coaches, family members in the stand, staff and even the referees dressed like zebras among the casualties.
I can picture over taxed funeral home directors scrambling to dig out bodies of loved ones, folks that all were at the game for one purpose. The love of a spirited hockey match up rink side.
You can not watch a hockey game sitting down either. Just for the record. And the best place to be in the game is working it. Annoucing the goals and penalties assessed for time in the “sin bin”. Keeping the books, running the clock, watching over the penalty boxes or tossing in a new puck when the game black circle goes in to the stands.
At this vantage point by the two opposing hockey teams and across from the fans, you can see, smell, hear, feel the reaction to a call.
Or witness what you don’t see in the stands that happens on the bench. Appreciating the intense hustle of your best line in the back and forth up close see saw tug of war.
How the coach keeps a lid on all the raw pumping adrenalin, emotions, tempers that flare when a player gets checked in to the boards, hooked, slashed, boarded or intentional unnecessary roughness call that gets missed. Can you say retaliation? Sure you can. I knew you could. That’s part of hockey too.
Being way way behind but the team as a unit stepping it up.
Moving their feet quicker, playing the weak side heavier, crashing the goalie. Taking full advantage of a clever pass when the other team’s defenseman player is screening, blinding the net minder wearing the same color jersey.
Playing all out with passion for the sport with the clicking lighted clock by the American and Canadian flag on each side like you are still going to win. And in some games the tustled hair, sweating players with all the expensive soon to be outgrown, passed down protective gear on do. Surprising everyone in the building as you come out in to blinding sunlight during an early morning winter morning parking lot.
That is one big take away life lesson for the team, coaches, family and fans that provides hope, dreams, stamina to stick with anything in life. Apply to your own up and down struggle of sunshine and a few dark clouds. Through thick and thin. Look for the good, stay positive and surrender to impossible situations you can not fix but God can.
The second blessing in the loss of the original Houlton Maine ice arena was it happened during a federally declared disaster.
So a big chunk of FEMA money from Washington thrown in the pot with the building insurance check meant the kids were on their way to a new arena. And with tons of donated materials, free labor the entire community of hockey fans supplied as they converged on the building project. Like Charlie Brown’s friends that came through on the scrawny pine tree.
The old arena had no ice unless Mother Nature felt sorry on the hockey program and her pity provided a sheet of natural hard surface. All to often with the old arena, the programs were stunted. At a disadvantage with other teams with artificial playing surfaces. That had weeks more “artificial ice” in their diet, running in their veins.
So back to the Me In Maine blog post title that got you in here read read reading like the wheels on the bus go round and round. I took many a 4AM trip to clear Canadian immigration going over. The same dog and pony questioning procedure on the way back coming in to Maine on the US side of the border crossing.
Our kid’s home ice for two seasons was at the Hartland New Brunswick Canada hockey arena.
Used like relatives with no place to go moving in to share your supper table. Getting a turn with the remote TV changer for a spell.
Or like a church lost in a fire that during rebuilding from the ashes up, gets a small window of time on Sunday to utilize another place of worship that offers the same Christian services. Shares the altar, organ, organist and all those pews for a non interrupted worship experience til the new church hammering, nailing is done.
Younger teams get the lousier early, early cock a doodle doo times as part of the right of passage from Mites to Midgets minor hockey league team progression.
But it is all still spending time with your kids as a parent. The kids don’t mind the time and just love the team sport of hockey. So do you as a parent with an Excursion loaded with players and gear. Some your own kids, always a few stow aways on board.
I had the best talks with my sons Alexander and Elliot on the hockey circuit. All six soap box derby racing. Or skiing kids where the same things happens on a lift after every run. And after a hard fought hockey win, lose or tied game, listening to the laughter. Banter because of a victory, a championship title trophy.
Or the licking their wounds and admitting they got beat by a team that was more talented, disciplined or just plain outskated them. Worked harder at practice. That was apparent to all in the arena witnessing the game from the drop of the first face off puck. All the way to the two over times, the final buzzer after three periods of back and forth, could go either way see saw ice battle.
Hockey is a family sport with a big boost of finances and time year round from parents.
A little more effort because unlike basketball gyms, tennis courts, or baseball diamonds that most communities have, ice arena require travel. They don’t grow on trees. Every area is not blessed with an arena like we are so proud of in my home town of classy Houlton Maine.
Houlton Hodgdon Blackhawks Beat Bangor ME Rams Hockey Team Video
Hockey, like skiing that all the kids enjoyed from the time they were wee little, is a sport for life. My two boys played hockey on the college level. And all those early morning trips to Hartland New Brunswick Canada when we had no local arena, the summer camps, Houlton Hodgdon Blackhawk hockey weekend games at the Alfond rink where the Maine Black Bears play.
Maine, kids get a great upbringing and most of it involves activities out doors. Not parked in front of the electric babysitter. And parents put them first, have fun raising them along with the rest of the village.