Outdoor Pleasure Skating Winter Delights Hamilton
Tuesday January 4 2010
In Pond Hockey, a synonym to Shinny, the “Rink-rats” say: “Sometimes getting the puck and the goal together can be as difficult as nailing jelly to a wall!” Pond Hockey showcases stick-handling skills, emphasizing all you need is skill in skating and puck handling ability. HOCKEY WAS BORN IN CANADA! And, Canada features the image of “pond hockey” game on its five dollar bill. Hockey roots in Canada date back to 1788 where a group of students in Nova Scotia played on a pond. The origin of Pond Hockey ha its roots in early Navajo Native American Culture. In 2,006 the inaugural Canadian National Pond Hockey Championship was held at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. Now a woman’s division has been added, since 2,009. Winners acquire the Maple Cup. And these athletes then aspire to participate in the World’s Pond Hockey Championships, as the ultimate challenge.
Even the great ones – #99 (Wayne Gretzky from Brantford), or #87 (Sidney Crosby from Nova Scotia) in the Evolution of Hockey Documentary verbalize how important pond hockey or backyard hockey was in their development as NHL or “Gold Medal” Olympians. Currently we have Ryan Ellis from Freelton/Waterdown as Captain of Canada’s Junior Hockey Team and Mark Visentin from Waterdown as the goalie for this team. January 2,011 both Ryan Ellis and Mark Visentin are playing in the World Junior Championships with the IIHF. These two young athlete’s and the rest of their team keep national hopes alive in hockey. What does Pond Hockey provide athletes ? It provides (1) something special about enjoying the freedom of playing hockey outdoors on a pond or lake; (2) the silence of the natural surroundings being broken as the ice shifts under sub-zero temperatures and the crunch of the snow under players boots as they approach the pond or lake; (3) the irony of the human anatomy – that is, as sweat pours down due to two 15 minutes of play while the cold air burns your nose and mouth; (4) a camaraderie the athletes share with one another in their sport; and, (4) it is an experience. Pond Hockey lacks the physical roughness of NHL, and all ages become participants. So when you see young people and adults playing 4 on 4 teams at Princes Point which is off Cootes Paradise Marsh, any city park or pond ice surface, Dundas Driving Park, Valen’s Conservation area on any pond surface in the Hamilton Region they are playing Pond Hockey, which is a form of ice hockey, played as pick-up hockey on ponds and lakes We have Lake Ontario in Hamilton. At the end of the pond hockey game players will say “Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice.”
Outdoor Pleasure Skating has been a family favourite for generations in the Hamilton Region. The newest addition is the rink at Pier 8, and the Old Lawn Bowling Club at Churchill Park has outdoor pleasure skating until 10 p.m. just before you enter of the Westdale Ravine. Favourite spots for outdoor pleasure skating are Princess Point, Christie’s Lake where you can skate on frozen trout ponds, and the Confederation Park area.. The Canadian Geographic Travel Club and others provide Snowshoe Hikes and they usually start at Princess Point. In 2,010 the Engineering Faculty at McMaster University hosted the 36th Annual The Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR). It is the largest Engineering Competition in Canada. The hills of Princess Point and other locations, such as, Stonechurch Rd. and Garth and the Red Hill area are favourite toboggan hills for toboggans and sleds. Some of the hills are slow graded making them kid friendly. Skiing is popular locally at Chedoke Ski Area. And there is the ever popular Snow Boarding that many young people enjoy. There are many Winter Delights to enjoy during the long months of winter in Hamilton Region, so get out there and participate with your family and friends in the natural environment.
By Jacqueline Darby
Doug Worrall Photographer