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Hawaii, part 4: The Game

November 20th, 2011

(The thrilling conclusion of a multi-part look at the Hawaii leg of the trip.  Start at the beginning.)

The Game

It was a fun game, and fairly even.  I stopped some shots, I let some goals in, I switched nets with the other goalie halfway through.  In other words, it was remarkably similar to games I’ve played elsewhere around Canada and the States.  Even the ice quality was nothing new; I’ve played on some really horrible swimming pools of rinks in Minnesota, too.

After playing hockey -- ice hockey -- in Hawaii at the Ice Palace

That the whole thing could have easily been taking place in California or Michigan helped to reinforce one of the themes I’ve seen emerge during my travels: hockey is universal.  The players loved the game just as much in Hawaii as they did in Quebec.  The written rules were the same; the unwritten traditions were consistent.

But never mind the similarities.  I couldn’t get one thing out of my head: I was playing HOCKEY!!! In HAWAII!!!

I had a big smile on my face the whole time.  When I stopped a shot, it wasn’t just a save; it was a save IN HAWAII!  When I allowed a goal, it wasn’t just a goal; it was a missed save IN HAWAII!

I felt like I should have been wearing an aloha shirt instead of my jersey.  I’m sure there are shirts made big enough thanks to our obesity epidemic.  Thanks to vanity sizing, I bet a size medium would be about right.

Sure, Hawaii wasn’t as exotic as some of the places Bidini went for Tropic of Hockey, but it was the furthest south I’d ever played hockey.  Heck, it might have been the furthest south I ever play hockey.

After the game, I lingered around the party loft/dressing room talking with the other skaters before packing my bag and heading back to Waikiki.  Thirteen hours later, I was on a plane to Virginia.


If I were to evaluate my Hawaiian junket in objective terms, I could say that I paid about $1500 to play 80 minutes of hockey, which sounds expensive or even selfish.  But that would be missing the point.  The trip to Hawaii, and the trip as a whole, cannot be evaluated based on cost alone.  It was a wonderful experience.

I do not mind spending money on experiences.  You can’t take money with you, as the saying goes, nor can you take any of your accumulated material goods.  But experiences?  Experiences are different.  Sure, they blink out of existence in some way at the end, but in another more important way, they never die.  They live on as stories, as art, as the advancement of culture.

Nobody cares if you leave behind a nice dining room table.  But a good story?  Now that has value.  Even better if it’s somehow related to hockey.

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