I was never a hockey fan.
I started the CanSkate program at age 4 or 5 in Minden.
Efforts to convince me to play hockey bounced right off my pink helmet.
I had my heart set on dancing on the ice like Kurt Browning and Joannie Rochette.
So that’s what I did for the following 15 years until I moved away for post-secondary school.
Fifteen years of waltzes, spirals, back spins, loop jumps, sparkly dresses, and tights at the old SG Nesbitt Memorial Arena.
Unfortunately there wasn’t a single time in those 15 years that I enjoyed watching a hockey game (feel free to come at me for that).
To me, it was just a sweaty sport that endorsed too much contact.
Why is everybody yelling over the placement of a little rubber disk on 60 metres of ice?
And I didn’t like sitting there, cold, for a long time.
Did you know that even though the scoreboard says 20 minutes, each period actually takes way longer? What kind of prank is that?
Since attending my first Huskies game last year though, things are a little different.
I’ve become an actual hockey fan, and not just for the hot chocolate and people-watching.
I truly did have my eyes opened to the hype over the country’s most popular sport.
It’s more than just sweat and yelling – so much more.
You forget about the rest of the world within the walls of the arena.
It’s an experience in itself to take in everything around you: music blasting through the speakers above your head playing snippets favourite after favourite songs, sitting in those seats high above the ice with a perfect vantage point, watching the talent on the ice – players who have worked hard their entire lives to get to that point.
I think the best part, though, is experiencing that with close to 300 other fans.
A true collective consciousness.
It’s impossible to not get into the game.
The first home game of the Huskies 2023/2024 season against the Pickering Panthers was definitely an exciting one.
The lights dimmed on the ice, and two aspiring Huskies skated, in uniform, with huge Haliburton County Huskies flags rippling behind.
Next, this season’s roster was introduced – nearly an entirely new slate of talent in addition to familiar names.
Local singer Ella Gooley sang the national anthem, and her last note was hardly audible underneath the foot-stomping standing ovation from the crowd.
Nobody minded being in the chilly arena on a sunny summer day.
It’s clear the team has been practicing hard and have excellent compatibility despite only knowing each other for a few months.
A close game finishing the third period in a 3-3 score meant nail-biting overtime.
After only two minutes, forward Johnathon Mead eased the crowd’s anxiety with a goal, starting the season off with a thrilling win for the boys in blue.
Between the celebration horn and the screaming crowd, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole town knew about the win before it was even announced.
Right Back Where We Started From blasted through the speakers.
I’ll always be a figure skater, but thanks to the Huskies, my mind is forever changed about hockey.