The snow was blowing hard across the road, creating a temporary white out every time a truck passed by. A Friday night road hockey trip up the QE2 Highway to play in Olds against the Grizzlies. Sportsnet 960 The Fan was broadcasting the first period of the Calgary Flames game from New Jersey. One of the Devil’s players, Travis Zajac had been struck in the face by a deflected puck. Not in action but while he was on the bench. The commentary colourfully described the unfortunate event as the player headed off to the dressing room, a towel wrapped around his bleeding face. For a while, we thought about helmets. In women’s hockey, a full cage is used, providing greater protection than the half visor from poking and slashing sticks, pointy elbows and flying pucks. As the Calgary Girls Bantam 1 White Hawks got settled into the dressing room, the thought abruptly reappeared in our minds. There was no helmet in our player’s bag.
Semi-panic kicked in as the Olympia rolled off the ice. We had minutes to go and without this essential kit, the team was one defenceman down. Out of the confusion, stepped in Jeremy, one of the volunteer coaches with the Grizzlies. Normally, he would have been out with his team on their away game in Camrose. But he had decided to stay at his home barn on this snowy night. Lucky for us, he found a spare helmet. A cage was rescued from the lost and found stash and the two were screwed together in time for our player to get on the ice before the end of the first period. Thank you, Jeremy. Thank you, Old’s Grizzlies for helping us out.
And so to the game…
The Olds’s Grizzlies had a solid first period, scratching up two goals. The travelers from Calgary were flattened as the Grizzly girls went further ahead ten minutes into the second period but managed to get back up with a score three minutes later. It was 3-1 as the players headed off the ice making way for the final flood.
The break was a good thing for the Calgary team. Numerous hard rushes at the net were countered by a series of desperate icings by the home team. After nine minutes of pressure, the Grizzlies defense cracked, then again with 2’21” to go on the clock. A tied game and a fair result for the night.
For more sports photography, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography