Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Hockey Life: Three points

Random thoughts, in no particular order, that I'm taking away from the Holiday Invitational hockey tournament last week at Germain Arena in Estero:

~ OF ALL THE PICTURES we've taken of Colin playing hockey this year, from Lightning Made Clinics to the P.A.L. Stars to the Jr. Bulls, the one shown above is my favorite. It's not game action, so to speak, but it was taken during a tournament game.

Though I'd seen this picture before, showing members of the East Coast Hockey League's Orlando Solar Bears in a game against the Florida Everblades, I knew I had to take one of Colin and a few of his teammates when they played on the big rink. Pretty clever marketing, if you ask me.

I'm hoping, too, I wasn't the only parent to take a picture like this.Certainly, I could've waited until the kids were lined up better, but I felt it was best to use the opportunity when it presented itself. It was there for the taking.

Years from now, I'm sure Colin will still get a chuckle out of it, as it represents a comedic highlight of a season that hasn't been the most fun.

~ MAJOR STICKS TAPS for the Brandon Jr. Bulls Peewee A squad and its performance during the tournament. The kids swept their division, winning all four games. Even more commendable is they won despite scoring only eight goals. The fact the team and its red-hot goalie, Troy, gave up only two goals went a long, long way toward winning their division.

Unfortunately, they lost their first semifinal game, 6-5 in overtime. They fought back from a quick 2-0 deficit and, with three minutes remaining in the game, led 5-4. Still, there was absolutely no reason for the kids to hang their heads. It was a solid and completely respectable effort.

We'll see how their performance carries over with tournaments in Atlanta in January and Charlotte, N.C., in February.

~ THE JR. BULLS HAD a bit of a scare in its opening game when it started out with a very thin bench. All told, only eight players had arrived by the time the puck dropped on Wednesday's first game. It seems a traffic jam, brought about by an accident along Interstate 75 north of the rink, delayed the arrival of a number of players.

It wasn't until the second period that all players arrived for the game. In a way, it was kind of funny seeing them stand at a rink door awaiting a whistle so they could join the team.

Thankfully, we missed the traffic, as we left earlier in the day so we could scout the team's first opponent. That luck, however, disappeared as we headed home Friday. Another accident, this time at the I-75 and I-275 interchange north of Ellenton, backed up traffic for miles.

What should've been a two-hour ride home turned into a four-hour adventure that included a ride around Tampa Bay before we finally made it home in time for The Missus' birthday.

By the way, Carrabba's is overpriced and overrated.

P.S. Colin scored some autographs from University of Maine and Ferris State players during the tournament. Look for a post about that this week.

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