Reminiscing about my goalie skates, I was thinking back to when I received my first pair. I must have been 10 years old. Was it Christmas or my birthday? I remember they were black with white laces and the shiny silver blades gleaming. I was so happy, and they were also my first brand new skates. Before that, I wore my older brothers hand-me-down player skates.
I started skating at 1 ½ years old. I grew up in Northern Canada, where it snowed from September to June some years. So skating was a second nature. Where there is snow, there is ice and lots of it.
I started playing goalie at 3 years old, following my father’s footsteps, but still wearing player skates until age 10. I don’t recall it being a huge transition--nothing memorable. I don’t recall falling all the time or anything significant. Why am I telling you this? Because I decided to start skating again. I have goalie skates and have played with them, but they weren’t the best for skating the rink. Last week, I got player skates. They are black with white laces and the silver blades gleaming, just like my first pair of new goalie skates.
I headed to Wesley Chapel, Florida to the ice rink to see how they felt. Me being confident in my skating ability, as I should be, I stepped on the ice. Hands in my windbreaker pockets, I glided around the rink. I went round and round the rink, zig zagging around the 200 kids. It seemed like that many pushing their trainers, but maybe it was 100...probably 50. I was skating precisely--beautifully, one might say. Until I wasn’t.
Hands still in my pockets, all 6’8” on skates went down. My only thoughts were don’t smash your face, don’t smash your face. Having played for so many years and never losing a tooth, I didn’t want to start now. My shoulder took the impact with my hands still in my jacket pockets. Embarrassment on my face, my cheeks red. Maybe I could blame it on the cold ice. Maybe no one noticed. Like a tree falling in in the forest...except I was not in a forest, I was on the ice.
Player skate’s blades are rockered in shape. They are designed for the players to go fast. Goaltender skates are flat and smooth. A point that I had clearly forgotten.
© Daren Puppa