Friday, September 13, 2013

Four Games in Four Nights, Game One

As NHL training camps kick into gear, my own beer league season is under way as well. This weekend, I have a gruelling four games in a row Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Gruelling, if only for the fact that I am personally feeling older and slower pretty much every time I step on the ice.

Game One, Burnaby B.C.

Well, that didn't start well.
First game of the season for my higher level team the Generals H.C. (I'm pictured above modelling the jersey I designed). We're playing in the open age Division 5 of 18 divisions playing in the ASHL out of Burnaby 8 Rinks. We've been in this div for four or five years now and have fared well enough. The main issue that seems to be creeping up now is the "open age" aspect of our league. Where the Generals average age has to be close to 40, most of the other teams we play are around 30, if not younger. A ten year age gap is not too prohibitive between 20 and 30, but 40 to 30...that's when you notice some differences.

I've been trying to keep in some semblance of physical shape over the summer (at 42, I have no choice but to keep active, lest my body begin breaking down). I've been doing at least one, often two Grouse Grind hikes in the North Vancouver mountains each week. This is a hike that's 3 km in length but with a 1 km elevation game that's also referred to as Nature's Stair-Climber. On the ice with the Generals I contribute 8 or 10 goals over a 25 game season, kind of a Danny Cleary type of veteran, except from the centre position, and 7 years older than him, and slower...a lot slower.

Anyway, even though this was our first game of the season we shouldn't have looked as out of practice as we did last night. Most of us played in the Spring/Summer league and we even had a couple of high-tempo shinny skates the last few weeks. You wouldn't have known it last night with a 6-1 defeat.

I centred my regular Left Winger, Bidzy on the third-line and our pal and regular goal-scorer Craig was saddled with us for the evening. The old legs felt fine overall, but somehow we ended up minus three on the night. This was with the help of a goal from Craig, a nice backhand deke that started as I was jostling with the opposing centreman in front of our net. Honestly, the three of us felt there wasn't much more we could have done on the goals we allowed (don't they all say that?) Two of the goals were fairly sharp angle high corner picks that we as a line could do nothing about.

The good thing is we get to jump right back it Saturday at 5pm...apparently with a short line-up of 10 skaters. But first, I have a late Friday game today with my other team the Vancouver Flying Vees. On this team I'm expected to contribute a bit more offensively, we shall see about that after a sunny patio lunch that will likely include a couple of delicious IPA's.

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