So, it's that time of year again...hockey season in full swing, and it comes time to don my own pair of blades and hit the local arena.
I don't think I made it out even once last year. My main issue was how freakin' cold the arenas are. These are indoor arenas, yet my face felt darn near frozen, and even with a decent Therma-something toque on, it was too much for my ears to take. So I quit going.
This year however, I've decided to fight the good fight, and make my way back, if not into shape, then at least to a point where lacing them up doesn't wear me out!
After searching high and low for my old skates, and not finding them, I made my way over to Canadian Tire to have a look at new ones. Maybe I was just too early, but no one seemed interested in helping me out, so I trucked off to SportChek, where I had a good experience buying new shoes a month ago.
Wandering around SportChek, it makes you feel for parents whose kids want to play hockey...this stuff is expensive! Gone are the days of wood sticks, black skates, and one size fits all jock straps. No, we're now in a world of $100 helmets, $60 elbow pads (you'll need two of those!), $100 composite sticks (cause yeah, like those never break!)...and, you can spend as much as you have in the world on skates!
Fortunately, being the non-competitive, public skating participant that I intend to become, the options sort of limit themselves. I don't quite need skates built for Crosby or Ovechkin.
So here's the ones I got: Easton Synergy 500 SC
The salesman was very knowledgeable and helpful, which is rare these days.
However, you don't just buy a pair of skates and head out to the rink! SportChek puts them in the oven, bake 'em for 5 minutes, and then you put them on as tight as you can and wear them in the store until they cool down. This molds the boot and padding to the shape of your foot. It sounds believable, until you try it, then it's just weird. But it works, my ankles carved themselves a nice spot in the sides.
While I was waiting for the oven, I wandered over to the hockey jerseys and t-shirts and had a look. There were a couple Leafs shirts on sale, but for the first time ever, I paused for a few minutes, and realized that I refuse to put more money into the hands of MLSE (who care more about condos than championships) until they put a decent team on the ice. That starts with the Leafs making the playoffs this season...we'll see.
It's a weird feeling, falling out of love with your favourite sports team. Let me put it this way: On Tuesday I watched Montreal vs Florida, and Wednesday I watched Pittsburgh vs New Jersey...and I was much more entertained than on the previous Saturday when I watched the Leafs give up several leads to lose 6-4 to the Penguins. Watching the Leafs is just too upsetting these days...anger, followed by misery, but they hook you with a burst of excitement here and there. I'm much happier watching Crosby set up (or finish) beauty goals, or even just marveling in the speed of other teams. And since I don't care who wins, the stress and anguish are gone.
We'll see. Also helps that those other two games were on TSN HD, which production-wise puts CBC to shame...but I think I've harped on that before, and likely will again.
Anyway, I've got my new skates, so I'll make sure to dress warmly this time, and I'll see you at the rink!