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Thanksgiving in Canada

October 25th, 2011

I don’t know if hockey is a traditional part of Canadian Thanksgiving, but playing some puck was how I celebrated the holiday.

It was getting close to the time I needed to be in New Brunswick, and I still didn’t have a game lined up.  The most viable options appeared to be the rinks in Moncton or Fredericton, but I didn’t have any connections in either city and the rinks had nothing scheduled on the holiday.  I booked a hotel in Moncton and wracked my brain for some way to scare up a game.  Then it hit me: Kijiji.

Kijiji is basically like Craigslist.  While both services are available in Canada and the States, Kijiji tends to be the more popular option north of the border.

I ran a few searches for hockey in New Brunswick on Kijiji, and I stumbled upon a posting:

Players needed for pickup hockey

We are looking for a few players to join our hockey pickup games. every Monday at 12pm (noon) from October until March. $10 / skater for each game or $160 for the entire season. Open to all skill levels.

I was going to be in New Brunswick on a Monday, so it seemed perfect.  Two questions: would they play on the holiday, and would they need a goalie?  Only one way to find out.


Are you playing any pickup this coming Monday (Thanksgiving)? If so, are you looking for a goalie? I’ll be in the area from out of town and am looking for a game to play in. Let me know. Thanks!


The response came quickly:

Hi Jeff,

We’re playing this Monday but should be covered for goalies. I’ll keep you in mind if one of the goalies cancels before then.



I did not give up.  We had a bit more back-and-forth that didn’t get me anywhere, then I sent this:

Ok, thanks for the info.  I’m just passing through this weekend (I’m this guy: http://www.nationalpost.com/month+goaltending+odyssey/5497354/story.html ), but thanks for the offer to put me on the list.

Best of luck this hockey season!


Playing the trip card worked:

Hi Jeff,

I didn’t know you’re on a quest 🙂

For the Monday pickup I’m one of the goalies — I don’t mind giving you my spot if that means you can check New Brunswick off your list 🙂

Let me know,


Success!  For the third time on the trip, one of my goalie brethren yielded his net so that I could play.

Cosmin turned out to be an upbeat guy who had moved to Canada from Romania over a decade prior.  He walked into the dressing room wearing a Steam Whistle t-shirt, and I found him immediately likable.

In his day job, he was a researcher for Canada’s National Research Council.  With a PhD in computer science and areas of research in artificial intelligence and natural language processing, he was no intellectual slouch, but he interacted swimmingly with all of the guys at the skate no matter the colors of their collars.

He told me that there seemed to be an abundance of goalies in New Brunswick, so he had started his weekly pick-up game in part to give him a place to tend goal.  I felt honored to take his place for a week.

Thankful, even.

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