Hockey on the Smithers Central Park outdoor rink. Tom Best photo

Game on at outdoor rink

Boys and girls – and dogs – of all ages hit the ice laid down by Smithers firefighters.

This Holiday break has had one of the widest ranges of weather that many of us can remember in recent times. It has led to cancellation of events, to the declaration of various weather watches and to communities opening special areas for people to remain warm.

The cold weather has been extreme at times and the moderate weather has been warm.

The hockey players don’t care. While some may think that the outdoor rink behind the firehall is a waste of time, those players will disagree.

The rink is tended by volunteer firefighters and this year’s version seems to be the best in a while. It has not been over crowded but those who use it have been more than happy for the chance to get out on an afternoon and play a little shinny.

Some of the afternoons have been cold enough to ensure that players never stop moving. One session had players of both genders and quite a range of ages. And a dog.

Not all of the players had skates but that did not seem to matter to any who were playing. Perhaps the dog was the referee.

Another visit a few days later came across a smaller group of young boys who seemed to be having a great time playing their own version of the game. No goalies (or dogs) but the game was just as lively. They were up and down the rink without stop and scores were counted by hitting the post, not just putting the puck in the net.

Isaac, Ethan, Thomas and Soren said that it was their first time at the outdoor rink in Smithers but that they had played a number of times at the rink in Telkwa. While all of them were very active in sports, only one of the boys was involved in organized hockey.

The day that they played in Smithers, the weather was warmer and the ice was not quite as good as it had been during the colder snap.

In past times, more youngsters developed their skating and game skills by playing hockey in less organized forms out on a nearby pond or in the backyard. Current research has pointed out that “play” as opposed to “practice” is a very important way for young athletes to develop their sport skills.


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