Puck On My Stick

What’s your dream day? Most people picture tropical beaches. They want it sunny and 75 with sand between their toes. Maybe a nice ocean breeze blowing off the clear blue see. Most of the time they’re even alone. A nice little vacation from the harsh reality we live in. Doesn’t everyone want to go south for the winter just like the geese? Wouldn’t everyone kill for a house on the beach or a resort on a tropical island? I wouldn’t. In fact I would do anything for the polar opposite. Why would I want to be on a desert island? Beach resorts have nothing on a place in Canada like Prince Edward Island in the heart of the winter. Even that has nothing on my hometown Kingston, Massachusetts in January. I dream of something much better than beaches or even Canada. It can’t be any higher than 13 degrees. No sunshine needed. In fact I’d much rather a bunch of clouds in the sky. Perfection would involve a light snow flurry. I’d be on a bog. It’d be frozen over. And I’d have 2 skates on, a stick in my hand, and most importantly a puck on my stick. Of course I’m not alone. I want my brother out there with me. We need the Hurley brother’s there and of course the McNeilly’s can’t be left out. That brings us to a grand total of 8 bodies on the ice. No need for goalies, if you hit the pipe it counts. It’d be best if it was late at night, with the car’s headlights shining onto the ice. Whenever I tell anyone this they all say the same thing, “But, Why?” It’s almost impossible to put it into words but I’ll give it my best shot. The moment you step on the ice you feel like a whole new person. The way you can just glide away, I imagine flying feeling the same way. The soft breeze on your already freezing face. The way your hands fit so perfectly into your gloves. The stick just slides into place. Once I have the puck on my stick, there’s nothing like it. You get an adrenaline rush like no other while you’re flying down the ice, stickhandling through your friends. The feeling of a perfectly timed toe drag to make your little brother look ridiculous must be better than holding your baby son for the first time. All of these things are amazing feelings, but none of them are the best part. The best part of it all is that I’m with the best friends I may ever have. We all met through this beautiful sport we call hockey, and every winter we continue to grow our friendship through the same game that brought us together. I grew up skating next to my brother countless times. The feeling to skate next to him is just natural to me at this point. Being out there with my closest friends is worth more to me than anything else in the world. Hockey is by far the greatest thing we do, but it could be the company that really makes it the best day. Even after we finish skating, everyone shivering in the car, we find a way to have a great time. I can’t help but smile when I think of the 8 of us packed into one car on the way to the Hurley’s house. We get there and Mrs. Hurley makes us the best hot chocolate we will ever have, I can almost taste it right now. The best part about my day is that I know it will happen again soon. It’s happened so many times already, and it doesn’t stop getting better. The cold winter break is what I look forward to most because it’s certain that for at least 2 weeks of it the bogs will be frozen, I’ll be with my friends, and I’ll be making great memories. My dream has more to do with the people there than anything else. Through the years we have all become as close as brothers. The first people I see when I go home are the seven people I have been skating with my entire life. I wouldn’t trade them or the memories we share for the world. Why do I love hockey then? Well because I met all of these friends with a puck on my stick.