Posts Tagged ‘saskatchewan’

From Saskatoon to Calgary

June 25th, 2011 Comments off

After a pleasant couple of days in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in which I had my first experience with AirBnB (thanks Valerie and Terry!), I continued on to Calgary.

Three buildings in the distance, west of Saskatoon

I’m not sure how many museums I plan to stop at along the trip, but the two I have visited so far have been enjoyable.

The first was the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon, which looked at life and farm equipment for early settlers in Saskatchewan.  They had  a nice collection of old tractors, some of which were positively gigantic.

The second was the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta.  Drumheller is situated in the badlands of eastern Alberta, and it happens to be the location of a number of major fossil finds.  No wonder, then, that it is also the location of a major paleontology museum.

Alberta badlands. Note the golfers in the distance.

The town seems to be well aware of its dependence on dinosaur tourism.  Small fiberglass dinos are on many streets, and occasionally larger sculptures peek above the rooftops.

One of the world's most complete Tyrannosaurus rex specimens. At the Royal Tyrell Museum, Drumheller, AB

Dinos in space!

Dinos in Space! (Children's art at the Royal Tyrrell Museum)

When I reached Calgary, the hustle and bustle was a shock to my system.  It had been nearly a week since I had last been in a major metro area (sorry Winnipeg and Saskatoon).  The sprawl, aggressive driving, and mountains in the distance reminded me of Los Angeles.  Or maybe Phoenix.  Or perhaps any number of other southwester American cities.

A traffic jam in Calgary! Oh, the novelty of it all.

Some more hockey tonight, and then it’s off to Banff tomorrow.  It will be a month until I’m again in a city as large as Calgary.

Canadian hockey

June 23rd, 2011 9 comments

The pleasant surprise in the email far outweighed the initial disappointment.

I had emailed a guy named Adam from in an attempt to find a place to stay in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  He wrote back: “Unfortunately we are renovating our rooms and are sleeping on the couch/living room right now,” so the couch was unavailable.  That was a bit of a let down.  However, he continued: “So, instead I’ve got a great offer. How would you like to play a real game tomorrow night? My team’s goalie just msg’d me that he can’t make it.”

Would I like to play hockey in a real game as a sub goalie?  Of course!

The little catch was that I was in Winnipeg at the time, and Saskatoon was a 9-hour drive away.  On top of that, I still had a drop-in game to play late that night.  It would be a busy 24 hours.

My Winnipeg shinny session got done around 12:30 a.m., and I finally got to sleep around 2:30 a.m.  The alarm clock’s clamor came at 8:00 a.m., and I was on the road by 9:30.

How to dry hockey gear in a dumpy (aka cheap) motel

Nine hours of driving later, including a time change and a major detour to avoid the flooded Trans-Canada Highway, I arrived in Saskatoon.

Nine hours of this...

...and sometimes this (better large)

Two hours to spare before ice time.

I was to sub-goalie for “The Eh Team”.   (What a great name!)  It was composed of an enthusiastic group of 20-somethings playing in the ASHL, the local adult rec hockey league.  Sadly, enthusiasm had not translated to much success during the season, and the team went into Wednesday night with a record of 1-8.

Before the game, the story of my trip was greeted with surprise and excitement.  “I wish I could do that,” somebody said, to which another lamented, “I wish my wife would let me do that.”

I felt good on the ice in spite of the short previous night and the long day of driving.  I think that the Winnipeg pick-up game helped, since it gave me an opportunity to calibrate to a slightly faster game than I was used to.  D2-level in the Saskatoon ASHL seemed about the same skill level as C2-level in the Minneapolis AHA (my league last winter).

Things went well.  That’s not to say that it didn’t get a bit hairy at times: I was making virtually all of my first saves, but I got burned by a couple of shots off rebounds and front-of-the-net scrambles.  Still, whether it was the clarity of instinct that comes from mental exhaustion, the large bolus of coffee I had downed, or my freshly sharpened skates, I made enough saves to not lose the game.  (Or at least that’s what I like to tell myself.  Really though, it was the rest of the team’s offensive and defensive talents that saved the day.)

That’s right: we won!  The team’s record improved to 2-8, which was cause for much celebration.  It helped that a beer cart came around to the dressing room selling refreshments, which was something that I had never seen while playing in the States. (Oh, Canada.)

The Eh team

Team photo to celebrate the win, eh?

My first game as a sub goalie in Canada was great fun.