When Hockey Was Simple: Ricky's Story

It used to be a huge deal to get in the local paper.  You truly felt like a celebrity if you could see your name in print.  If there was a picture to go along with it you were really doing big things, or at least you thought you were.  Nowadays with social media, you can post a picture of yourself all day long and write your own caption.  People are making themselves famous every day.  Years ago, you had to work just a little harder.

As someone who loved hockey, having your name or picture in print because of the game was the ultimate dream.  I had a great group of friends in my neighbourhood.  We played hockey every day and every night.  My friend had a rink in his backyard.  I used to have to wait until he finished supper to skate with him.  I used to shovel the rink while he and his brothers were eating so that as soon as they came out we could all play.  In the summer the same neighbourhood gang took to the streets to play road hockey.  We had so much fun! 

One of us had the brilliant idea to try and get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest road hockey game ever played. When we presented the idea to our parents they all supported us whole heartedly.  I think they realized if we were all playing road hockey, none of us were breaking things in their houses.  One of the neighbourhood Mom’s did up a schedule for us so we could ensure there was someone playing at all times. We had to ensure that someone was playing for 24 hours at a time.

One of my shifts was in the middle of the night. I remember my Dad waking me up at 2am. It makes me smile now.  I don’t know if I’d let my son go out and play a game of hockey out on the street at 2am today.  Times were different then and I’m so glad he did.  I was out on the street playing with my neighbour who also go the night shift. He passed me the puck and hit me hard. He took me right in the eye and knocked me to my butt. Needless to say, that was the end of my shift.  I can’t remember who took over for me but it didn’t matter, sadly, we didn’t beat the record but we did make the local paper!

During the three days that we did play we had people line the street to watch us and cheer us on, we had people bring us pizza and one of the “locals” set up lights for us to use at night.  It was such an exciting time, we all felt like celebrities.  I miss those times so much.  Life was much simpler back then, I never once took a break from a road hockey game to check my phone, get on Facebook or see an Instagram photo.  I often wish my boys could have been raised with a bit more simplicity. 

When I think of “When Hockey was Simple “I think of my Dad letting me get up at 2am to play road hockey. I think of my neighbourhood gang that are like brothers today and I think of getting in the local paper feeling like a celebrity.  We may not have made the “Guinness Book of World Records” but we certainly made bonds and memories to last a lifetime.

—Written by Allyson Tufts