Hockey Time

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Sarah Palin and I have several things in common: we both have roots in Alaska; we were both photographed by the Mendenhall Glacier, and we were both hockey moms.

My life as a hockey mom got started when my son, Robert, was about six. He started playing  in roller hockey in Brooklyn, skating at a rink at 53rd Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway. Joey Mullen, one of the best American born ice hockey players ever, got his start at that same outdoors  rink. It was cold, gloomy and had no place to sit. You had to stand to watch. The only refuge from the cold was a  pizza place across the street.  

A year later, Robert was playing at Sky Rink in Manhattan.  The “old” Sky Rink on was on the  16th Floor of 450  West 33rd Street, not far from the equally famous  Cheyenne Diner. Hockey players, cabbies, clubbers, mobsters, hookers, parents, European tourists hit the Cheyenne for coffee and breakfast at 4 and 5 am.  I miss the old Sky Rink: it was grungy, unfashionably painted a hideous blue, and stunk of hockey just like a skating rink should.

From his father, Robert developed an affection and fierce loyalty to the New York Islanders. Growing up in New Jersey, I am a strong advocate of all New Jersey teams, so that means I became a Devils fan. His whole growing up we rooted against each other during the regular season, and bet all the way through the Stanley Cup Finals. We both hated the Rangers; although I have to grudgingly admit a respect for some great Ranger players: Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, Mark Messier, Mike Gartner, Mike Richter, Wayne Gretzky,  and Jaromir Jagr.

My favorite Devils player in those days  was Claude Lemieux — crafty, cunning, a yapper — he won 4 Stanley Cups with the Devils and went on to play elsewhere. I lost sight of him after he retired; but this year he’s back playing with the San Jose Sharks.  They play the Rangers tonight, so that’s the game I’ll watch instead of baseball.

Now, living on Long Island, I’m only 15 minutes from the home of the NY Islanders — Nassau Coliseum.  In contrast, it’s a long schlep to a Devils game in Newark, New Jersey.  I hope to get to one or two Devils  Saturday games over the course of the season; but for ease of travel if I want to watch hockey I have to go see the Islanders play.  Now that I’m getting older, I don’t want to get into any unnecessary scrums with other fans, so I’ll leave my NJ Devils jersey home.  

If rookie John Tavares lights the place up, or if  veteran forward Doug Weight, the new captain, plays with a lot of heart, I may break down and buy a cap.

Any hockey players or fans out there!??

4 thoughts on “Hockey Time

  1. My fondest memories growing up are of watching the Philadelphia Flyers. All of us were glued to the tv set for Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals, when Macleish scored the only goal of the game against the Boston Bruins to give the Flyers their first cup. For me the best moment was watching Bobby Orr get called for slashing Bobby Clarke with about a minute and a half left in the third period. When I moved to NYC years ago I gave up watching because I coudln’t bring myself to root for the Rangers (not to win, anyway). The best I could do was a few seasons ago when I really wanted to watch Eric Lindros with his new team, I managed not to clap whenever a goal was scored against the Rangers.

  2. Started playing hockey at about 6 too! Bigger fan of playing down at our local outdoor rink than I am of watching these days. Looking forward to teaching my 1 year old to play some day. Kids from 6 to 60 all playing together. Can you believe we have a Zamboni for our outdoor rink? Donated by one of the 60 year old kids. It’s a blast.

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