As winter winds down, in some ways it will be sad to see it go.
Don’t get me wrong — I’ve had my fill of it but as the ice and snow melts, it takes with it a magic that brings a smile to my face every time I drive by a frozen pond.
There’s something special about seeing the array of home-made hockey rinks on most iced-over ponds in Island Lakes.
The dedication to keep these rinks clear and ready on any given day is inspirational. Some rinks are so elaborate they have lights for playing at night.
The games are unstoppable and teach kids a very vital lesson in life — that is, that it is possible to play despite all obstacles, even the cruel winter elements. Whether there’s a wind chill advisory, blowing snow, and even in -30C weather, kids of all ages can be found playing hockey.
Every time I drive by a rink I eagerly search for players. Same goes for the backyard man-made rinks that aren’t visible but can be heard as the clank of sticks, the scratch of skate blades on ice and the odd victory chant echo between the houses.
This is where it starts. Every child dreams of becoming the best hockey player there ever was. I have always admired the parents who get up early on weekends, earlier than they normally would get up during the week, just to make sure their sons or daughters get to practice on time.
I know from experience that getting my kids up during the school week is next to impossible, I can’t imagine the kids who have to get up at 4 a.m. for practices or tournaments.
Yes, hockey is always alive and well in Island Lakes. Winter disappears but hockey never really does.
As soon as the grass is uncovered it will be decorated with red hockey nets, resting curbside, ready to be taken onto the street in the blink of an eye.
Has the return of the Jets fuelled the dreams of the kids who play hockey year-round or is it the camaraderie that drives the kids to play?
It’s hard to say, but it sure is nice to see that the kids of today believe in something that will help form the core values and foundation for the adults of tomorrow.
Jasmine van Gerwen is a community correspondent for Island Lakes. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.