It all began with some uncertainties.
The original plan was for me to take my kid and drive him to the rink at 5:30 pm.
“Too early, dad always makes it in 15 minutes”, the hockey kid said.
“When was the last time you played at this rink?” I retorted.
He doesn’t remember.
Of course not, because the last time he went to that particular rink was two years ago, for a camp just prior to the preseason. With a team he is no longer with.
But I know that route well, I used to work at the airport, located just a few minutes east of that rink.
“There’s always a lot of traffic below the airport”, I said. “We’re leaving at 5:30, better early than late. I don’t want to be the cause of stress for the coaches.”
My son grumbled something and disappeared.
At 5 o’clock, my partner walked in. By chance, he managed to make it home and didn’t have to drive directly from work to the arena. This allowed him some dinner, and a chance to change his clothes.
I told him about my departure plan. Immediately he stated there was no need to leave that early.
“5:50 is plenty of time”, he said.
I stopped talking. Last thing I wanted was for my boy to feel stress right before this very crucial, important playoff game.
Why bother, I thought to myself. I’m just a spectator, they’re the ones who are IN the game.
Of course this is all a preamble to what happened a half hour later. If you’ve read this far, chances are you’ve already predicted what went down next. But I’ll spare you the long-winded details and say only this:
We got there about ten minutes late and in the last few minutes, once we got off the highway, I refused to take my eyes off my phone to prevent cardiac arrest what with the way he drove to get us to the rink.
In case you’re wondering, I’m still be waiting for someone to say I was right.
Then, the game began with two goals into our net by the first place team who won almost all the games during the regular season. We were down 2-0 right off the bat. That could have set the tone for the rest of the game.
Tween boys can be a bit fickle at times.
But our boys kept it together. Nobody lashed out, nobody retaliated. By the second period we started scoring and tied it up.
It was now 2-2. We went into the third period…and both teams played hard.
Playoff hockey is not for the faint of heart, I’ll tell you right now. OMG.
Given how the teams were situated in the standings, us a fourth place team out if 12, them in first place, it could go either way. We worried about penalties, especially unnecessary ones.
The coaches kept the boys calm. Focused. There was very little drama on our bench. No yelling, no arguing.
It was refreshing.
Kudos to the coaches, and way to go to our 12, 13 year old hockey players for maintaining their focus!
The other team kept the pressure on with some great skaters. They battled us fiercely. They had a very capable goalie, and he stopped most of the pucks, including several of my kid’s. So many chances!
Finally, close to the end of the third period, one of our wingers and my son’s closest friend scored the winning goal and earned himself a hat trick. 😊
What an amazing end to this series!
In all the years of hockey with the GTHL, we have always made the playoffs, but rarely made it into the second round, and the one time we did, we got bumped out. That was with a previous team; for this team, this age group and category, this is the first time they made it this far.
So now we wait until the other two teams in the west GTHL established a winner so we can battle for the western final prize….that winner will then play the eastern conference winner for the ultimate crown.
So, worst case scenario, at least three more games are on our horizon, potentially more.
Hockey, hockey, hockey!