SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this week, I had probably the one of the greatest moments of my fairly mediocre athletic career. This moment is right up there with kinda dunking a volleyball in the chapel gym on the first P-Day of my mission, which was also an awesome memory.
I shattered the glass at my local ice rink on a slapshot.
It doesn’t count for anything, it won’t go down in any record books, in fact, it was the direct result of missing the net big time, but it was still really, really cool.
I used to play a ton of hockey. From the time I was 8 to the last game of my high school hockey career, an overtime loss to future NHL-player Daniel Brickley and the Skyline Eagles, I’m guessing I played hockey at least twice a week, sometimes up to five times a week.
I absolutely loved it. Ask anyone who knew me when I was younger and they’ll tell you three times about me: I was skinnier, I was less hairy, and I was crazy about hockey.
While I wasn’t ever an elite player, I did a couple of things decently. I was a very “pretty” skater, and I could take strong slap shots which was odd because I was a forward and I liked to be more of a passer during games. I’m not sure if I ever scored on a slapshot or ever took more than a handful in all the games I played.
Even though it wasn’t really a part of my game, in practice or when I was just screwing around on the ice, I could rip a mean slapper.
Before this week, it had been a while since I had been on the ice, so I never could have imagined that I could fire one hard enough to shatter one of the nearly inch-thick panels of plexiglass that surround the ice.
My last game was in 2010 and then life happened, I got fat, out of shape, and busy with other things and it was hard to find a way to the rink.
However, the itch to lace ‘em up came back and I knew I had to get back out there. I headed to the hockey shop, bought a new pair of skates (last’s year model just happened to be on sale in my size, SCORE!) and a stick and headed to the SLC Sports Complex for an open ice session.
I hit the ice and was amazed at how natural it felt. I didn’t completely suck! I could move around, handle a puck, and put a wrist shot where I wanted it to go on the net. Then came the moment of truth, I decided to fire a slapshot.
Before I get to the aftermath, there are a couple of things non-hockey people should know. First of all, it’s usually not a good idea to fire shots at the sideboards of the rink. It doesn’t go over very well. The reasons being that you look stupid, sometimes the pucks can fly out of the confines of the rink, and also, the glass on the long sides can be a little weaker than the glass on the ends. That last thing said, it’s still about an inch thick and very, very rarely does a panel shatter on a shot, especially when a tubby, 28-year-old who hasn’t skated in 10 years takes a shot.
Still, I fired away. The shot sailed wide left of the goal and made contact with the glass which instantly exploded, leaving thousands of tiny places all over.
I was stunned and so were the other 10 or so people on the ice.
“Was that you?” asked one of the other skaters.
“Yeah, I’m sorry,” I said, worried they might kick us all off in order to clean up the debris.
“Don’t be sorry, that was awesome! You gotta get a picture!” she said.
So, I did, and it made for an excellent Instagram.
After taking the picture, I bent down and grabbed a piece of shattered glass, to save as a souvenir.
All things being considered, it was a terrible shot, way off the mark, but it was definitely one of the most memorable moments of my hockey career, which includes skating with Utah’s own NHL star Trevor Lewis, playing for a state championship in front of several thousand people, and appearing in a national hockey publication for some reason.
It’s good to be back, hockey. I missed you. Sorry about the glass.