Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quality time

On most every Wednesday for the past four to five years, I've taken Colin to TBSA Countryside for a skating session. Over the years, these weekly sessions have gone a long, long way to improving his skating. They also serve as bonding moments for father and son.

Sometimes, though, the hockey planets align and the day, or the drill, extends between a couple of hours of ice time. Yesterday was one such instance. And our time, more than eight hours, was truly top shelf.

With Bauer releasing its 2012 line of skates, we've been trying to get Colin a new pair. His current set of wheels, a pair of Bauer Supreme One 100s, have, like his other skates, logged many miles over the past 13 months and are pretty beat up, sustaining gouges and slices from games and practices. The blade, too, is down to about 5/16ths inch deep, the result of many, many sharpenings.

So, after skating for nearly two hours yesterday, we headed to a hockey shop in Oldsmar. With two particular models in mind, we wanted to see if it had any in his size. For him, the skates would be an early birthday present. To keep this long story short, the store had new skates, just not any in his size. His new skates, I'm afraid, will have to be ordered.

Undeterred, we headed onto our next adventure -- the opening night of the Tampa Bay Lightning's summer radio talk show tour at an overwhelmed Chili's restaurant in Tarpon Springs. The featured guests were Tampa Bay's Marty St. Louis and Dwayne Roloson.

As expected, the players drew a long line of people (easily 200-plus) wanting an autograph. Rather than wait in line, Colin started playing street hockey. Before long, I joined him within the "rink," a 50-year-old "kid" trying to stay out of the way and not get hurt.

After three hours of street hockey (in which Colin said he scored 47 goals), with only a short break for a quick walk to grab dinner at a nearby McDonald's, the radio show ended and the autograph line for St. Louis and Roloson was down to maybe 20 people. Thanks to a contact within the organization, Colin was able to get into the line, despite it being cut off about 30 minutes earlier.

Rather than getting some pucks signed (we had two each, tucked away in the hounding bag), Colin had the players autograph his well-used Mission Widow stick, the one that he had just used playing street hockey. To me, that's the way to retire a stick.


  1. Now that does sound like quality time.

    Great read.

  2. Thanks. We had a great time. I must admit, I'm still feeling the effects of my limited play two day after doing so. I need to either hang 'em up for good or play more often. For the record, I scored six goals, mostly on backhands.