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Nova Scotia

November 10th, 2011

Six weeks in Canada over the course of four months came to a close with my final province: Nova Scotia.  It was fitting that the trip should spend its final days north of the border in such a hockey-mad place.

It’s relatively common knowledge that hockey was born somewhere in Canada, but did you know that it was Nova Scotia where students first moved the field game of hurly onto a frozen pond?  In the 200 years since, hockey has flourished there, and indeed one of the modern day stars of the game, Sidney Crosby, hails from that same land.

I was fortunate to have strong allies for my 48 hours in New Scotland.  David of Hockey Family Advisor put me in touch with Todd and Sandy, who organized skates, as well as the Stardust Motel, which (sketchy name notwithstanding) provided me comfortable accommodations for two nights, gratis.

Todd happened to have connections to multiple hockey games.  Early on, he invited me to tend goal in his main event, a long-running private pickup game near Halifax.  Upon learning that I would be arriving earlier that afternoon, he floated an even more interesting opportunity.

The older of his two sons had a hockey practice that afternoon, and his team had only one goalie.  Todd was an assistant coach, and he thought it could be fun if I were around to fill the other net. Would I be interested, he wondered? Of course!  I mean, I expected the 12-year-olds to skate circles around me, but at least I’d be a more challenging target than a piece of plywood.

And so, after taking the overnight ferry from Newfoundland, I drove directly to Sackville, near Halifax, and met the Harold T. Barrett Junior High hockey team.

At the HTB Jr High hockey team's practice. I'm the taller goalie. (Credit: Todd)

It was indeed fun skating with the kids.  I think they had me beat in the skill department, but the fact that I filled so much more of the net than they were used to gave me something of an advantage.

Later that night, I went over to the Halifax suburb of Bedford and skated with the kids-at-heart.  It was a decidedly upbeat, relaxed group.  Even the added pressure of a TV cameraman gathering B-roll (which I’ll get to later) didn’t put them off their game.

In a nice touch, the group wore the jerseys of the Sackville Flyers, a local minor hockey team, and they gave me one as a souvenir.

It was a fun skate, and I spent a long time talking with a bunch of the guys in the parking lot after the game about life, travel, and hockey.

Skating with Todd's group in the sweaters of the Sackville Flyers. Todd is in between the other goalie and me. (Credit: Rodney)

One of the guys at the game, Pete, was generous enough to put together a logo for the trip. I think it looks really neat. Not only is my mask the right color (red), Nova Scotia is visible, and the right side of the American flag looks vaguely like the East Coast:

One of the guys at Todd's skate, Pete, drew this logo for the trip. I think it's awesome. Notice how my mask is the right color (red) and Nova Scotia is visible. (Credit: Pete)

The next day brought even more hockey-related excitement.  A producer named Leo at a major regional TV station, CTV Atlantic, had been in touch with me about doing a segment for their “Live at 5” news magazine show.  Even though I wasn’t exactly sure what that would entail, it seemed like it would be fun, and so the afternoon of my second day in Halifax, I met Jim the cameraman and Felicia the reporter at the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame.

I expected that Crosby, as the current hometown hero, would be mentioned in the Hall, but I was a bit surprised to find that about a quarter of the total display area was dedicated to him.  Notably, they had the dryer that Sid the Kid used for shooting practice at his parents’ house.

The filming and interview took about an hour, and although I haven’t seen the finished product, I’m told that it turned out well.  Not only did it get aired on TV, it was also played at an intermission for the Halifax Mooseheads, the most popular hockey team in Halifax.

The CTV Atlantic Live at 5 clip about my trip playing at a Mooseheads game (Credit: Todd)

But wait, there was more!  One more hockey game, to be precise.

Sandy (who, as you recall from above, was introduced to me by David) let me join his skate in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, across the bay from Halifax.  The group there had been skating together for about 20 years, and though the faces had changed a bit over the years, it was clear that they were close-knit.  In fact, one of the skaters was an orthopedic surgeon and had done knee replacements for several of the guys.  (Kind of reminds me of when my teammate Marc, an attorney, helped me out with a speeding ticket back when I first started playing.)

The guys in Dartmouth gave me a souvenir, too: a sweater for the Dartmouth Whalers.  Once again, a great group of guys.

The next morning came, and I departed Canada for the final time on the trip, better for the experience.

  1. mom
    November 10th, 2011 at 09:38 | #1

    Wow! You sure did alot in such a short time. Fun and exciting! The new logo by Pete is wonderful 🙂

  2. Todd
    November 14th, 2011 at 21:57 | #2

    glad your mom liked the logo! nice blog post on your trip to NS. Hope you are having fun in Hawaii, 6 time zones and away and 30 degrees warmer!!

  3. Jeff
    November 17th, 2011 at 20:00 | #3

    @mom Yup! It was a busy couple of days.

    @Todd Hawaii was niiiiice. Fun fact: the soil there is red, just like in PEI (and perhaps other parts of the Martimies). Turns out that pineapples like iron-rich soil.

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