It all started with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I went over to the Lower Mainland to watch some men’s hockey, curling and speedskating, and while I was there I went ice skating outdoors at the O Zone in Richmond.
I hadn’t been skating in a couple of decades and I was pitiful. There were kids skating on their ankles faster than me.
Then last September the AV Multiplex hosted the Female Hockey Festival, and I got to wear the gold medal that Gina Kingsbury won with the Canadian women’s national hockey team in Vancouver.
Since then, the two Rons —Ron Doetzel and Ron Paulson—from the multiplex have been relentless in coercing me back into skates. Reluctantly, I concede that they won.
I first began skating when I was five or six years old and living in Brighton, Ont. It was a trying winter for my mother, as I whined every week about cold feet. I asked her once why I was figure skating and not playing hockey, and was told that “hockey was for boys.”
Last December I dug out my old skates to have the rusty blades sharpened (“What decade did these last see action,” Ron D. asked), and went to a Winter Wonderland session. I didn’t fall; I was hooked.
Then the Rons dangled the golden hockey stick in front of me: “come and take the ladies’ learn to play hockey session,” they said.
“Bad night of the week,” I said.
It took them a month, but they wore me down. I suited up in borrowed hockey gear and, looking like a giant red armadillo, I took to the ice.
It took my breath away (literally; I wasn’t used to the drills). Better yet, I realized that I can do this. If I wanted to, I could play hockey. Something my six-year-old self never really thought was possible.
The multiplex plays host to another women’s hockey “try it” session on Thursday, March 31 from 7–8:30 p.m. You need to be able to skate forward.
The Rons don’t make it easy for you to say no: they’ve arranged for free hockey equipment for women to borrow, including skates. All you need to provide is your own curiosity for the game.
You can register at the multiplex by calling 250-720-2518 or at Echo Centre at 250-723-2181. I’ll probably see you there. I’ve already had my skates sharpened.