There are a lot of things that I really love about New England.
Fall foliage, apple picking, and cider donuts.
Springtime strolls through the Public Gardens and late summer games at Fenway Park.
But perhaps my favorite thing about New England is backyard hockey rinks.
My favorite college professor (and former hockey writer for Sports Illustrated), the late Jack Falla, wrote a wonderful book titled “Home Ice” about his own beloved backyard rink, the Bacon Street Omni.
In his book, he writes about how his rink and the sport of hockey not only brought his neighborhood together but also how it influenced his relationship with his wife and strengthen the bonds with his children.
- In watching the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, it was hard to imagine any player out on the ice not thoroughly enjoying himself – its how they grew up, after all. On the backyard rinks and frozen ponds of New England, the Midwest, and Canada.
- Stinging wind in their faces.
- Rifling wrist shots into the snowbanks that lined the rink.
- Practicing their triple deke while their little brother plays goalie.
- Saying “5 more minutes, Mom” even though the winter sun is fading and dinner is waiting on the table.
I don’t have any children, but when I do, I want them to grow up like this.