HOCKEY and TIM HORTONS
HOCKEY and TIM HORTONS
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY RJ BRUNI
The reality is, hockey and Tim Hortons are in our blood.
Canada may be known for its frigid long winters, but on the west coast of BC, our winter can truly be described as a cold snap. It leaves us just as fast as it appears. Knowing that our world won’t stay frozen for long, we make sure that one specific activity makes it to the top of the to-do list: pond hockey. Work is left unfinished, the garage is ransacked to find the ol’ hand-me-down blades, and a 40 pack of Timbits with some double-doubles are a mandatory pick up.
In one way or another, every Canadian has a connection to the sport. A lot of us played (some of us still do), most have a favourite team, and everybody honours the maple leaf. At the first sign of a cold spell on the weather forecast, group chats are buzzing to investigate where the outdoor arena will be this year. Some years we hike into the mountains. Others, we head to the flats. This year, we found an epic untouched spot ten minutes from home. A body of water too big to call a pond but just small enough to create a thick layer of pristine ice, with striking mountains looking down from the background. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.
The feeling is like no other. The first few cuts on flawless ice feel meant to be--like it’s in our blood. With the crisp air getting stronger and stronger with each stride, it feels as though there’s nothing that can hold you back, especially with the only barriers being Mother Nature. A feeling so good has to be shared with company. Relationships are bonded over games of shinny. “Ok sticks in the middle!” One by one, each player tosses their twig in a pile to be randomly chosen for a team. All jerseys and all levels of skill are welcome. The rules are unwritten but morally bound within us. The level of competition is beautifully matched with the comradery between all players on the ice, even the ones on the other team.
With moments like this, you play till you can’t see the puck anymore. No matter the blisters, sore feet, wobbly ankles, or broken sticks, you keep playing. We know that tomorrow our rink might not be there, and if it is… we do it again.