A Tribute to the Good Old Game of Hockey and Hockey Families – Summerland Review

I spent much of my childhood at our local hockey rink watching my big brother play the sport he loves. I remember being dragged at an appalling hour to practices while I was napping on the hard blue bleachers.

I remember mornings so early, even the birds weren’t up yet.

I remember instead of watching him play games, I was jumping on all the benches and running around and playing hide and seek with other rink rat siblings.

I remember cheering on my brother as he scored a goal and seeing heartbreak when they lost a tournament. I remember bleacher heaters and blankets, hot chocolate and candy from the slot machines. I remember the team talks and the smelly locker rooms, the bulky hockey sticks and hockey bags.

I also remember playing on the big ice hills behind the arena. I never got to ride the Zamboni but I really wanted to.

My brother was always looking forward to it – eager to get on the ice and play the game he loved with the teammates he loved. If it were up to him, we’d be at the rink every day.

Such is the life of a family of hockey players.

In today’s paper we have a special feature on the long history and glorious future of the Penticton Minor Hockey Association. So many families, parent coaches, teenage referees, amazing volunteers who do scoreboards or raise funds call Memorial Arena home and their hockey families – well, family.

The Memorial Arena was built in 1951 and quickly became the home base for budding hockey players and their families. Many children, parents, grandparents and siblings have spent days and weekends in the old barn arena, making memories and playing Canadian sport, cheering on the teams.

My nephew, my brother’s son, became a hockey kid, just like his dad, even taking his dad’s number 16. He dressed in the Memorial Arena locker room and spent years with Penticton Minor Hockey – his hockey family.

He made friends for life and memories too. He went to the Okanagan Hockey Association and played Junior B with Summerland Steam, then Junior A with an Alberta team.

Once again, I found myself on those blue bleachers cheering on another family member.

For Penticton Minor Hockey to exist and succeed as it has, it is thanks to the dedication of volunteer coaches and caring administration, board members and the community.

They are the volunteer coaches who give so much heart and soul and who instill the values ​​of teamwork and respect on and off the ice. Not to mention the morning practices they are ready to organize.

There are volunteers at the concession, on the scoreboard, in the penalty box. Those behind the scenes make sure every shoelace is tied, every helmet is in place.

These are the referees and the administration.

Whether hockey players become superstars is never the question. It is the journey along the way. The good old hockey game is the best game in the world.

British Columbia Minor Hockey

Catherine J. Martinez