Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rink Rats

Skating behind and pushing a ice scraper between the periods and after the hockey game was a job done by the rink rats. In the olden days of the late forties there were no Zamboni's. The rink rats, of which I was a member, were proud to be noticed as we skated up and down the ice , caroming against one another,pushing our snow load to the big door at the end of the Kindersley arena. The biggest rat shoveled it out the door. We got to watch all the hockey games free. The Kindersley Klippers were a great Intermediate B team. We all had a certain pride with our small identification. I lived on 3rd Avenue east ,a half block from the rink and like all small town rinks, it was available most of the time. Rink rats did lots of other little go-fer jobs as well. The whole management was volunteer. It seems in retrospect we practically lived in the rink in the winter. There were PeeWee, Midget and Juvenile teams and there was nightly shinny in between times when the ice was occupied, usually on the road near the rink in front of our place. I don't remember any Junior teams of ours at that time. If we had anyone that was good at Junior age, they usually went to MooseJaw. Hockey was as natural for us as skiing for an Austrian and swimming for an Aussie. There was no money in those days for the players who made it big. It was love of the game. Players like the Bentleys and Geordie Howe and the Huculs would have made more money staying on the farm in those days. What was it that drove us? The pure love of the game, and the sure knowledge that it was our game, and still is in all of small town Canada. It had everything to do with participation and dreams. We played it in our sleep.

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