The scent of a fermented hockey bag after sitting with wet gear. The sounds of blades slicing the ice and cheering parents are some of the constants through the decades of hockey.
I’ve been told the smell of a hockey bag could rival anything on Fear Factor, the television show from the 2000s. I know the odor of goalie hands after a game is enough to warrant cracking a window open in the vehicle, no matter the temperature outside (sorry babe).
Yet even after the constant running and busyness with one or more children, the end of the season seems abrupt. The feeling that something is missing lasts for a few weeks. For those of us with kids who no longer play the game, the feeling often still hits during the seasons that continue without us.
We do what we can to get our hockey fix. Some volunteer, others attend games.
I attended a few of the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls hockey playoff games this year. I experienced a bit of a deja vu as I watched the girls wearing the same jerseys my daughter's team did. The feelings of anticipation were familiar as I drove to the rink. I even recognized a few people in the crowd who used to attend back in the day.
While most of the names on the current roster are unfamiliar to me, one was not.
I stood next to Brad Hanson at the final section playoff game in Proctor and greeted Lori Hanson like I have many times in the past.
Their daughter, Lilly, plays for CEC . Her sister, Savannah, played the last time the girls went to state in 2009.
I did what I love to do and took photos. It was a good game, and the girls did what they do: win.
While it has been fun to watch, I felt an absence when I drove home alone afterward. There was no excited daughter to greet me and chatter about what happened.
I continued to get my hockey fix by writing about the coaches going against each other at state, as well as the Esko hockey program, which all three of my kids came up through.
Finally, I realized I am sated, and my hockey withdrawals are gone, at least for this year.
Thanks for the hockey fix, girls, and congratulations to the next generation for getting to state.
Jamie Lund is a reporter for the Pine Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.