Friday, January 22, 2010

When it was never cold in Kensington

Like a bullet the black puck was
coming right towards my head.
You could hear the whizzing sound
as it cut through the ice-cold
Kensington air. I jerked my head
to the side as it whistled by my left
ear. I thought I felt something hit
me, but it must have just been the
breeze from the ice-cold “Scotch 88”
puck. BAMM! It hit the boards right behind my goal, and deflected towards the corner.

My left shoulder started to feel unusually warm, but I paid little attention to it. No, there were players in the corner jamming for the puck along with Randy Reis from the Blackhawk’s standing right in front of me, ready to take a centering pass and snap it past my frozen goalie stick and body.

Well, before you knew it Bill Webster (the referee) blew his whistle and stopped the game. He quickly skated over to the player’s bench and grabbed a white towel.

And then to my surprise started skating right towards me.

“Ronnie, Ronnie, get on the ground, get on the ground”

Not knowing why, I just got down on one knee
and waited for Bill to reach me.

He took the towel and placed it hard against my left ear.
As Bill moved the white towel back and forth over my ear I saw the bright red blood that was making everyone’s face on the bench turn a pale shade of white.

“Ronnie, you’re bleeding, you’re bleeding bad”.

“From where Bill, I can’t feel a thing, my ears are totally frozen”

Well, after a couple of minutes of defrosting, my earlobe started to sting a little, yeah that puck did kind of cut it open pretty bad. But hell, we got a game to play so just tape the damn thing up and lets get going.

So there I was playing the rest of the game with a chunk of cotton and white hospital tape on my left earlobe. Just looking kind of funny when I was trying to be oh so cool.

You know when the air was ice cold in Kensington back in the 70’s we never thought about staying inside where it was warm and cozy. No, we were either down at the hockey court by Avenue F or right on our own block puffing white smoke from our mouths as we played the game we loved so much. Either getting cut by pucks without even knowing it because my ears were frozen numb or having a huge icicle hanging off the bottom of my goalie mask from my sweat.

And the rest of the guys "suffered" too,
with frozen toes and hands they never complained.
No, they just laughed and played the game they loved
so much, and probably never knew it was cold anyway.

Ron Lopez

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