Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hockey on the Brain!

I've got hockey on the brain and its not just that the NHL has finally gotten its act together to get a season going!  First, my little hockey freak is turning 4 tomorrow and has once again requested nothing but a hockey cake.  Well, my friends, this momma has come through on that big time and I'll show you more tomorrow...
We also spent a fun-filled weekend at the hockey rink this past weekend.  First, my brother had his high school hockey game.  We always have a great time cheering them on.  Even though they didn't win it was a hard-fought close game right to the end.
Then, we attended a fundraiser hockey game at our home rink between the Detroit Red Wings Alumni and my high school alumni (this is also the same school my youngest brother plays for).  My brother's team's assistant coach was an honorary player with the Wings Alumni for this game.  The crowd was in a great mood, as were the players, so it was a fun night.  My kids were pumped and my little hockey dude chanted for both teams as loud as he could and entertained the crowd in his old-school hockey mask.

Because this was an exhibition game, there was no hitting but it was amusing to watch the players sort of pull a fast one on each other in other ways.  I think both teams were surprised at the skill of the others - especially the speed and sharp skills of the retired Red Wings players - many of whom have been out of the league for more than a decade.  There was a lot of scoring and that always keeps the crowd engaged.
During the one intermission (they played 2 25-minute periods instead of the traditional 3 15-minute periods) some of the Red Wings Alumni players stuck around and played a shoot-out and scrimmage with the home team Squirt A kids (lower elementary age kids).  And let me tell you, those kids were pumped!  Their goalie was working the crowd and everything.  The coach of the Squirt A's is one of the coaches who skates with my kids and they thought it was pretty awesome.
After the game, my lovely parents took the kids home with them so my husband and I could stay for the VIP after-party with the players.  We bought some items for the kids and collected the signatures of several players, including Eddie Mio, a former Detroit Red Wings goalie.  We were a little bummed that some of the most famous Alumni players didn't stick around for the meet-and-greet with the fans but we still had a great time.
The next morning, we took the kids back to the rink for the Try USA Hockey Free session.  They got to dress in the locker room, try on full sets of pads loaned by the rink and run drills with the coaches that teach the higher level kids teams.  Several of the players of the Bantam level (middle school) team skated with them and helped lead them through drills.  It is pretty amusing to watch.  Partly because our son at almost-4 is by far the smallest kid on the ice.  The assumption by those who haven't met him is to put him with the one-on-one coaches to teach him how to skate.  It usually only takes a couple of minutes of him showing what he can do before they move him down to run drills with the big kids.  Everyone watching is usually laughing at the picture of this tiny guy out there skating drills with kids 2-3 times his size and doing it like he's been at it for years.
The kids had a wonderful time and got to take home their special Detroit Red Wings jerseys - jerseys are a big deal in our house!  Then, my daughter was aware that an earlier email had indicated one kid would win a signed Justin Abdelkader (Detroit Red Wings player and former Michigan State University player) hockey stick and asked who won the stick.  Everyone was pretty much packed up and out the door but I told her if she wanted to check with the instructors and ask what happened with the stick she could.  So she went and asked a volunteer who went to talk with the coach in charge.
A few minutes later, the coach walked up and handed her the stick and congratulated her - she was over the moon!  (I honestly think they forgot to do the drawing and it was too late since most people had left.)  My husband and I weren't quite sure what to do at first but I guess it just goes to show that it pays to ask sometimes!
So tonight is lessons and a big birthday surprise and tomorrow is more birthday stuff at school - wait until you see the cakes!

No comments: