Saturday, December 27, 2008


Oh! Gee you guys, I’m just feeling so friggin rich right now. I’ve got moola squirtin outta my ass if you know what I mean. I’ve got so much shit I don’t know what to do with it. Could you use a little? I’ll send ya some. Just send me $9.95 to cover shipping and handling and it’ll be delivered on your door step before ya know it.

Yah, I tried to sell “Fall Foliage” last year on the internet. It was one of my get rich quick schemes. All I had to do was rake it up outta the front yard and package it in 10 gallon trash bags. For $10.00 plus $9.95 to cover shipping and handling you could get your own sweet decorations just in time for Thanksgiving. What a deal, ehh? Including delivery, that’s less than two bucks a gallon. Cheaper than milk, until two weeks ago it was cheaper than gas. What a deal!

I figured that I’d sell out my own yard pretty quick-like and then hire my services to extract these colorful decorations from the yards of folks in town.

Of course it wasn’t just me, I hornswaggled my old pal and inventor extraordinaire Mr. Stinky Duval to assist with this golden opportunity. Stinky and I sat down towards the end of the summer last year and sorta planned the whole thing out. He a had a couple of industrial vacuums out at the junk yard that he had refurbished with bailing wire, duct tape and Shoe-Goo that we could attach to my yard tractor. Combining that with a hybrid snow blower he had converted we figured that we could harvest a hundred thousand worth of tree droppings in no time flat. Just gather it all up, haul it back to my place in our trucks and one of Stinky’s makeshift trailers, and repackage it out by the barn for shipping.

I checked into the costs for fuel, trash bags, colorful and arty labels, shipping cartons, UPS, and of course internet expenses on ebay. All in all we figured that what we charged for gathering in town plus the shipping and handling fee would cover all of this. The ten bucks a pop would be our pay for doing all the work.

Some things that we didn’t think about included the amount of dog doodoo that we had to separate out of our collection, the other useless and less than colorful fodder that got sucked up, and most importantly that maybe nobody was willing to buy our wonderful “Fall Foliage”. Needless to say we ended up with three piles of stuff out by the barn: one small pile of dog crap (that I have since hauled out into the woods and buried – it was really friggin putrid), a medium sized pile of twigs and other useless fodder, and one humongous pile of leaves that is still sitting there and here it is over a year later. The leaves have settled some but it’s still just as big as a hay mound.

So now I’ve got Stinky trying to figure out a way to convert or compress the leaves and fodder into some sort a very solid cylindrical shape so that we could market the stuff as fireplace logs. Who knows, we maybe could be successful some day.

And then this past fall we had whole bunch a folks that wanted to hire us again to clean their yards. Being pretty pissed off about the whole thing we of course turned ‘em all down. Based on the volume of calls though, it makes me think that we hadn’t charged enough anyway to do the jobs last year.

So Christmas 2008 has now come and gone. The economic situation in the world and especially here in the back woods is just about as smelly as that pile of dog crap I buried. Yup! Kinda sucks. So a get rich quick scheme would suit me just fine.

If you aren’t having problems right now, well kudos to you my friend.

How’s this all going to affect hockey? Well, things might change for a while.

I mentioned recently how the triumphant success of Gretzky in the ‘80’s and 90’s had recently created a growth in hockey. Because he ended up playing in Los Angeles it created a lot of growth there. We also have seen the former North Stars moved to Dallas and several other NHL teams have created homes in locations not conducive to natural ice hockey. These being Phoenix, Florida, North Carolina, Atlanta, Nashville, etc.

So your saying “Jasper, what ya mean ‘conducive to natural ice hockey’?“

Well, I’m talking about pond hockey, of course. The cheap kind of hockey!

Pond hockey is the fundamental, grass roots form of the game we love. It might be on a neighborhood pond, a flooded area in a community park, or a gosh-for-durn big old lake. Is pond hockey organized? Yup there are generally respected rules like maybe no lifts over the knees, no slapshots, no checking, take it behind your own net after a goal, etc. But is it ‘overwhelmingly organized’? No way! That’s what makes it so pure.

Probably the most organized version of pond hockey occurs in the various regional tournaments that are held. Bronzy, Woody and some of the other Outlaws are heading over to Eagle River, Wisconsin for the Labatt Blue 2009 Pond Hockey Tournament starting on February 13th. As of this writing, they have over 200 teams already signed up. Four to six man teams, no goalies, and a minimum of three games guaranteed. Now that’s organized. Bring on the brews, ehh! And ya know it’s gonna be colder than poop over there, but that’s the spirit of good pond hockey. Brings out some good color in your cheeks.

But pond hockey can be nothing more than a game of shinny, two on two; to maybe as big as two pickup teams of ten each with even goalies in the net. But often times there are no goalies, just the nets tipped over or a couple of boots set out to shoot between, and no more than a line each side because everyone wants to skate instead of standing around getting frostbit.

The equipment for pond hockey ends up being a little different too. Generally, you’re never in full gear. If ya have a helmet on, then it’s been adjusted so you can where a stocking cap under it. If you’re gonna be out there for a long time then your gloves might be big enough to wear knit gloves inside of but more than likely you’re wearing big old leather mittens with heavy knit wool liners. Shin pads? For sure, but over your best and warmest long johns. And your skates, they might be size or two bigger than you’d use in an indoor rink because again, you’re wearing something thick and warm – on your feet inside of what ya lace up. The skates won’t be as sharp as you’d have them for perfect indoor use. Nope, no point in that.

Yep, when your playing pond hockey, there’s a good chance you might not be wearing as much gear. It’s more economical than club hockey, that’s for sure. Shit throw out those club dues, ehh. I checked around a bit and if you were playing at the Midget or Junior level in Rochester, MN it would cost ya $645 for the season. The same thing down in Southern California costs ya about $950. Good old neighbor hood pond hockey – zip! And ya can’t play that in Tampa Bay or Anaheim can ya?

So it doesn’t cost a bunch to play pond hockey. And if the pond is near enough to a bunch of houses that can shoot flood lights out there, you just might be able to play out there every night, not to speak of all weekend long. Sure, finding an errantly passed puck is a bit of a bitch at night, but it ain’t no piece of cake during the day either depending upon what type of snow you’ve got surrounding your playing surface.

So these kids that want to start playing hockey in the southern regions are up against some financial road blocks. And like I said with the economy hitting the skids its only going to be more cumbersome to their folks. And will all of the southern youth leagues survive? Don’t know. Will the rinks survive? Again I don’t know.

I dug into the economics of suiting up a player for league play. Below I present the cost of gear showing low end to high end for an approximately fourteen year old male player (non-goalie) with new equipment (in the northern regions there are countless places to purchase good used equipment with considerable discounts – this is not readily available to players in the southern belt area of the USA) using a wooden stick (yup – gotta be walking with wood). These are internet prices (USD) and I don’t indicate the store location or brand. Anyway, you’ll be able to see ice hockey isn’t cheap (and again, you’re saying “Well I coulda told ya that Jasper”). So here it is – in your face:

Helmet $30 to $150
Cage $23 to $130
Mouth Guard $3 to $34
Shoulder Pads $30 to $120
Elbow Pads $16 to $75
Gloves $40 to $200
Jersey $12 to $300
Long Johns $8 to $35
Cup/Shorts w/Cup $10 to $50
Pants/Breezers $30 to $135
Shin Pads $25 to $105
Socks $10 to $25
Skates $48 to $650
Gear Bag $20 to $125
Wooden Stick $13 to $85
Roll of Tape $2 to $4
TOTAL $320 to $2226

Wow! That’s not cheap, ehh! And some of this stuff you have to buy every year because the kid outgrows it. Some things last damn near forever – like shoulder pads (of course they end up smelling pretty ripe and that can be used as a defensive tactic – if nothing more than securing bench space in the locker room). And of course I didn’t include an undershirt, suspenders, garter belt, skate socks, or this or that doodad that ya just have to have. If ya belong to club team add the cost of dues; numbers, names and logos on the jersey and maybe the helmet; travel costs and refreshments. It all adds up.

Because of this and the situation with our economy will we see a major reduction in organized club hockey? I think so. And even the great play of Sidney Crosby and his super skilled teammate Evgeni Malkin, or putting all of the Staal brothers on the ice at once will not help this forthcoming skid.

Yep that neighborhood pond sounds like a good deal. Wish I had one in my backyard, uh-huh.

Maybe I should figure out how to market pond hockey in Florida, ehh. Could be my get rich scheme. Or maybe not. Seems as though they’ve got outdoor roller hockey. Is it the same as freezing your nookies off playing pond hockey? Uh-uh, I don’t think so. Don’t want to rag on that perspective of our sport, but it’s not even close.

In closing I say this to all of my crazed out puck buddies – skate hard always, and play pond hockey as often as you can. Use it or lose it.

Jasper here until next time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I didn’t actually write this myself. I did edit it a bit to keep it aligned with my other tales though. I’m told that it is an article submitted to a 1999 Louisville Sentinel contest to find out who had the wildest Christmas dinners. It won first prize.

As a joke, my brother Jingles used to hang a pair of pantyhose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. Yeah, right, you guys, he needed a skirt and pantyhose would just get in his way.

What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jingles’ kids' stockings overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty. Needless to say those pantyhose had also gotten a little groaty over the years.

One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses and an old Outlaws jersey and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Wal-Mart. No sirreee! I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown. (Actually I had to go down to the Cities cuz there shit as shit ain’t any store like that around here.)

If you've never been in an X-rated store, don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I was there like an hour or so saying things like, 'What does this do?' 'You're fuckin kidding me, ehh?' 'Who would buy that?' ‘No way, you guys actually sell this shit?’

Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section.

I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane when I drive down in the Cities sometimes during rush hour. Or maybe we could put her in the nets when we needed a goalie during pickup, ehh.

Finding what I wanted was difficult. 'Love Dolls' come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for 'Anna Nickel, the Gal with the Big Nips.' She was at the bottom of the price scale, or so I was told, but it still cost me an arm and a leg to get out of the damn store – of course I had to get something for myself too. Now hush your mouth you degenerate fools.

To call Anna Nickel a 'doll' took a huge leap of imagination.

So anyway on Christmas Eve and with the help of an old bicycle pump, Anna Nickel came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours (well it was late and I had been kicked out of the bar because they closed early on Christmas Eve). Long after Santa had come and gone, I filled the dangling pantyhose (yeah “dangling” like Crosby douching your defensemen) with Anna Nickel's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. Damn near threw up cuz I’ll tell ya that warm milk really stirs up a gut full a beer.

Anyway, I went on home, and giggled and puked for a couple of hours.

The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy, but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more. Damn good thing old pooch didn’t sniff and lift a leg, ehh.

We all agreed that Anna Nickel should remain in her pantyhose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner.

My grandmother noticed Anna Nickel the moment she walked in the door. 'What the hell’s bell is that?' she asked. (They say that my gutter mouth comes from her side of the family – Norwegian-Irish mix the mongrel bitch is!)

Jingles quickly explained, 'It's a doll.'

'Who would play with some kinda shit thing like that?' Granny snapped. I kept my mouth shut but my gut was about to bust.'Where are her clothes? Is she supposed to be some kind of floozy doll or what?' Granny continued.

'Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran,' Jingles said, to steer her into the dining room.

But Granny was relentless. 'Why doesn't she have any teeth? Crappininee Jasper boy” as she turned towards me, “Barbie dolls don’t even have tits that big'

Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted Granny to flash her floppy ones again this year!

My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, ' Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?'

I told him she was Jingles’ friend.

A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Anna Nickel. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home. Yup, might have to put him off the farm next year.

The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Anna Nickel made a noise like Pops doing his dooty in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the mantel, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa.

The cat screamed.

I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Didn’t know he knew how to do that shit. Nope!

Jingles fell back over his chair and wet his pants.

Granny threw down her napkin, flashed her sagumsush love sacks at her kneeling husband and stomped out of the room to sit in the car with a half-gone bottle of gin.

It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember.

Later in my brother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Anna Nickel’s collapse. We discovered that she had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh.

Fortunately, thanks to some all purpose and ever ready duct tape that Jingles dug out of his hockey bag, we restored her to perfect health.

I can't wait until next Christmas.

Have a good one gang!

Jasper here just walking with wood again.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Christmas is almost here and I have decided to write about it more so than the humor of hockey in this edition of my blog.

For those of you that don’t really know me, my real name is Bob O’Dea. I currently live in California along Interstate 80 between Sacramento and San Francisco. You can find me on myspace where my tag is Hockey Bob. If you’re a member on myspace then you can send me messages or comments there and I’ll usually respond. If you want you can email me at also. Again, I’ll usually respond.

But the humor of hockey is usually my trade in words. I’ve lived in places where this sport can be played on frozen ponds as well as the indoor rinks that are so prevalent now days. There are rinks all over the place now and I believe that we can thank the superstardom of the Great One for the growth of hockey over the past two decades and of course the current cream of the crop hasn’t hurt anything as I now write this.

So Christmas – this is the celebration of the birth of Christ our savior. It is a Christian celebration. Yup, that includes me. Check out my page on myspace. It says that I am and I certainly don’t deny it.

“What?” you're saying. “Hockey Bob, the writer of Jasper Wheats stories and all that tom foolery and swearing; he can’t be a Christian. No sirree!”

Well truth be told I sure am. Handed myself over to the Lord back in the seventies. And ever since than, this season has inspired me immensely. Much more so than the decorations, trees, lights, Santa Clause and gift giving ever can. Those are all nice things mind ya but they are so much more so if we remember and acknowledge the reason why we celebrate.

I said that Christmas is a Christian celebration. It is for sure, but Christ, who we celebrate, is for everyone. With this in mind I just really want to wish all of my readers to have a really great and Merry Christmas.

I say bah humbug to that ridiculous “politically correct” requirement of not using this terminology. I’m not trying to stuff my religion down anyone’s throat. I’m just trying to share my joy of the season with all of you great folks regardless of your personal beliefs.

Enjoy it. Love it. And hopefully don’t turn your nose up because of it.

So there are a lot of things going on where folks are celebrating this season. This is not just in my neck of the woods, but yours to I’m sure. So get out there and be entertained and enjoy the things being offered.

Saturday, my honey and I went downtown to our little community center and got to see some very, very young kids performing some Christmas songs and dance numbers. So much joy and so much fun for all involved. And then last night we got to see Faith Hill singing just a whole bunch of my Christmas favorites. What a beauty and what a great voice! Kinda makes my heart all purr like a great big old fuzzy pussy cat.

Our church has a children’s Christmas program. We’ve been to these just for the joy of them. Our own grandkids our clear across the country and we will miss them dearly again this year. Don’t miss your kids’ programs.

I’ve been through the malls and have seen all the decorations and the folks shopping.


And I’ve driven through the neighborhoods and have seen how the yards are decorated and the houses are all lit up. Hmmm … doesn’t seem to be as many of them this year. Our lights aren’t going up – a little tough on my financial status this year – but it’ll get better. I have faith!

So maybe it’s a tough time for you this year too, or maybe for someone you know. Don’t let it get you down. Put a smile on your face anyway. You’d be surprised how much that will lift the spirits of others that get to see that smile. And give someone a hand. Volunteer yourself to someone less fortunate. It will warm your heart!

And if ya really want to have a blast you can always organize a group of folks to go around singing Christmas carols in your neighborhood. Don’t worry if you’re like me and can’t carry a note. So what. It just gives ya something more to laugh about between houses, ehh.

Last year we visited a house in the Sacramento area that had just scads of lights all synchronized with a computer to Christmas songs. It was a blast to see this, but I wonder, did the people that arranged it really know what they were celebrating? I sure hope so.

Well it’s tough to close a Christmas tale, but I’ve got to now anyway.

The Sheriff came by yesterday and said that Tidwilly and the Wanker boys were going to get released from the county lock-up later this week. Great, I’m thinking – just in time for Christmas. Sure hope that they don’t act up like the toads that they did last year.

Ok you guys!

Have a Merry Christmas!

And skate hard all of you sweet little puckers!

Jasper Wheats

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Well, we’re into the Holiday season for this year. Thanksgiving is just over and Christmas now is less than a month away with New Years following a week later. It’s a good time of year to celebrate with family and friends, ehh? With hockey season in full swing it’s the durn burn best time of the year!

Reminds me of a time way back now. Can’t say for sure what year it was but I was still taking my bruises while skating with the original Outlaws. Both Jingles and Bronzy were skating with me so it must a been the early 80’s.

We had a really good team back then. After my bro’s joined the team and some of their former team mates from youth hockey had also, we just seemed to kick shit with regularity. It was a good time, shit for sure! We were rowdy, nasty and skilled. We had jelled this season after being just a smidgen on the loosey-goosey side the season before.

As it was, and is typical of most amateur seasons, in the previous season the league had shut down for about three weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years. There was the occasional shinny and pond hockey sessions to get involved with but most of us got together on the off nights and drank our fool asses off; whining about the lack of competitive play during this idle stretch. And of course the lack of strange tang to conquer here in the backwoods of the far north.

On one particular night, before he got just snockered, Woody boasted loudly “Next season ya fuck heads, were gonna go to a Holiday tournament. I seen in an advertisement over to Ole’s Skate Shop that they’ve got tournaments in Denver, Florida, and California every year during Christmas break. We gonna do this next year or what? Ehh?” He raised his mug and we all clinked in and immediately yelled for several more pitchers of the suds.

To cover a lot a ground quickly, we held Woody to it. He was and still is really great at organizing shit and got us set up in a tournament in Southern California. We were guaranteed four games minimum and a trip to see the Rose Parade as part of the package.

It took us almost two days to get there with all the connecting flights and layovers. Nothing but a continuous drunk for all of us along the way. Woody had booked some especially cheap flights; mainly on airlines that ain’t no longer in business now-a-days.

We were all booked into a Super 8 hotel in some town north of the freeway and we had rented two passenger vans for the eleven of us that went. That was two full lines and Guy, our goalie. We had four rooms: One with four guys sharing, two with three, and one for Guy by himself (Shit, everybody knows ya can’t room with a goalie, right? – They’re just too fuckin nuts). There was a bar right next door, Lucky Johns I think, as was a liquor store and a Denny’s was a few blocks away with some burger and taco joints within walking distance. We were set as set can be. Bought some cases and filled the tub up in one of the rooms so that we could continue being just absolutely trashed.

We had to check in for the tournament and get our schedules. Our first game was the next afternoon at 2:00 pm at the Ice Capades Chalet. Sign-in was at Klondike, a nice cold rink, NHL size it looked like, with only glass at the ends. So we got directions to the other rink a couple a miles away and went over to it to check it out too. Both rinks were about five miles from the hotel and as they say out there in California, “Freeway close”.

Ice Capades Chalet, ehh? Oh what a little piece of shit this place was. Not even full size, but I’ve played on pond ice that was smaller, so we decided to quit griping. But it had no glass at all, just fishnet, no defined benches or penalty box, and the friggin far side from the entrance and one end had brick above the boards with protruding pilasters. We were told that special rules applied and any real physical contact along these areas would end up in boarding calls. Shit it looked like panty waste hockey in this rink, ehh. Plus the damn place smelled like old vomit, ammonia, the refrigeration system must leak a bit we figured.

We stuck around for a bit watching a B division game between a local team and a team that had come down from Iowa or somewhere. We chatted with locals and they said that there was a fair bar outside and around the corner of the building, Bilbo Baggins. They said that Friday and Saturday nights were pretty good for chicks and that the place had a band. We gave it a look see and pounded a few drafts. They had an outdoor court and if you left your drink at your table you could walk a couple a yards over to windows that overlooked one end of the rink. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Woody’s slurring his words by now, he’s pretty tossed as are most of us or getting there anyway. Shit we’ve been drinking solid for almost three days now. Woody tells us that he got directions for a bar and grill at the beach where we could get some grub, drink schooners and check out the Pacific Ocean. So we piled into the vans and headed off to Newport Beach, I think it was, to this beach-boy bar called Mutts or something like that.

Yep, it was right on the boardwalk. Not summer mind ya but a nice afternoon and a lot of California girls to check out as they walked by or came in to the bar.

Sweet! Not in bikinis this time of the year, but they were fucking hot.

Eggman scored and said he’d get back to the hotel on his own. Me, not a chance in hell. Being short, lopsided and about as handsome as a horse’s ass I have generally accepted that all I ever get to do is look at the honeys.

So we’re all really toasted now. Woody decided to walk down to the water so most of us went along. He only fell flat on face three times. I stumbled once myself. Perdy-near cocked, I was. The second time, Woody gets up and pftts about like Elmer Fudd then lets us know that the sand tastes salty. We get down to the water, its past dusk now, and we can see lights on boats somewhere out on the ocean. Woody whips out his noodle to take a little drizzle and leans back to take it all in and falls over backwards. Pisses all over himself, he does.

Keats, driver of one of the vans says, “Fuck he ain’t riding back with us all pissed up like that. Guy, he’s gonna ride in your van. Probably smells like your gear anyway and you guys won’t notice the difference. Somebody help him up and let’s head back to the hotel.”

Jet lag and all had apparently set in as there was no argument from anyone as we shuffled through the sand back to the parking lot back by Mutts. I don’t know how we found our way back to the hotel and damn surprised that we didn’t get pulled over. Hell of a lot of traffic out there!

The next day we got up at varying times. In each room we had shook out the top mattresses on the floor; that way everybody had a spot to sack out by themselves and didn’t have to crash queer. Gave us all a chance to sleep reasonably well except for the guys crashed by the head that we all had to stumble over when it was time to whiz during the night.

We got our shit together the next day to play our first game. Eggman showed up at the start of the second period with the babe he’d hung with from the day before. Said he was too hung over to play. Woody just looked back at him and then threw up on his own skates and said “Fuck you, Scotty, we’re all hung over.” We won that game seven to five with no mishaps. Had a few beers at Bilbo Baggins and I drove one of the vans back to the hotel with guys that wanted to crash for a bit. Our next game was at 10:00 am the next morning and then we had our third scheduled for that same night with about thirty-six hours before our fourth game was scheduled. Tournament play, that’s how it goes sometimes.

We went back to Bilbo’s later that night and closed the place. And in the morning we were shit for shaky playing in the ten o’clock game at Klondike. I think our opponents had played the night before at Ice Capades and had helped us close the place. They played like shit and were puking all over the ice. Lightweights! We beat them ten to nothing or something. Pounded some brews in the parking lot then all headed back to the hotel to rest up for our evening game.

Keats is driving again in the van I’m in as we head for our third game. He plays D like me and originally hails from the New York City area. Married to a real cat-lady, with a pair of hooters and a hell of a accent. She don’t sound backwoods at all. No sirree! He’s a Rangers fan to the max but wears an Islander’s jacket out of respect for his inlaws that gave it to him a few years back. Woody’s riding shotgun and giving us a pep talk along the way. Eggman’s riding in the other van so that Woody doesn’t chew him a new ass-hole. Seems as though Bronzy is in this van too and I know Jingles is because he’s sitting behind me and keeps grabbing my shoulders shaking me and saying “Come on Jasper, gotta get ya hopped up and the adrenaline flowing! You gotta kick some ass tonight!” Not real sure who else was in this van but we were loud. There was not time for solace in our pain and weariness. Nope. We were jiving!

Guy drove the other van and they got to the rink about five minutes after us. Ice Capades Chalet again. After I dropped my gear inside I went back out in the parking lot. Guy was just pulling his gear outta the back so I offered to help carry some of it in. I grabbed his pads. Oh fuck were they heavy. Old style goalie pads. Leather, stuffed with horsehair and some other shit, but soaked through and through. No wonder they were so heavy, he hadn’t had a chance to get them dry. Goalies, I’m telling you they’re nuts cuz his pads musta weighed about thirty or forty pounds each. How do ya move in that shit????

The game ahead of us as I recall had about a period to go. I found their snack machines and got a Snicker bar and a double shot a sugared up coffee. Needless to say I had the jitters and this was gonna peak those. Probably give me a pre-game shit fest too. I’d rather play light anyway. You guys know what I mean, ehh?

In the dressing room Collin and Woody are pounding beers. Rat’s got his helmet and long johns on, just sitting there with clasped hands. He says to nobody in particular “I kinda like it here. I think I’ll stay after the tourney’s over. Look in to buying some property.” Didn’t figure he’d have his head in the game, ehh. Spaced out somewhere else. Robby’s all geared up already standing outside the doorway, chewing on his mouth guard, holding both sticks together with both hands up near the knobs, his helmet sitting sort of sideways not fastened and just rocking forward and back on his skates.

Pregame rituals ehh. You’ve got yours, we’ve got ours.

So we’re playing against the Flin Flon Sturgeons, a group of big boys from the border of Saskatchewan and Manitoba hailing from the Flin Flon and Sturgeon Lake region. Sheesh, if it took us two days to get down here, I wonder how many days their trip was? They iced three forward lines and two sets of defense. They all looked like lumber jacks. Paul Bunyan had nothing on these guys. The only thing advantages for us in my eyes was that they mostly skated like they had clogged up work boots on. A wittle swuggish wookin if ya know what I meeeeaaannnnn.

Jingles takes the first draw between Bronzy and Collin. Keats and McCloskey on defense. The bastard breaks Jingles’ stick at the drop of the puck so Jingles comes up with both gloves empty handed into his chin and drops him before the ref can figure out what happened, then skates to the bench for a new twig. No penalties called but the tempo is set for the rest of the game.

The big boys are up on us two to nothing at the end of the first. Woody takes the draw to start the third with Rat and Robbie as his wings. Me and Keith are taking the blue line.

Woody’s shorter that me, you know. And the big old oof comes over the top of him on the faceoff and tries to squish him into the ice like ya’d spread butter on bread. Keith had move forward quickly to the face off dot and sprayed the asshole in the face as he stopped. The puck squirted back between the two us and Guy came out to clear it up to Rat as I circled through Keith position. Rat skated up the boards then crossed over center feeding Woody breaking through Rat’s wing position once he finally un-buried his face from the ice. Rat went crazy – all the way across to the opposite wing while Robby drove to the net.

Woody had crossed the blue line with the puck still on the boards and drew two of the Sturgeon towards him as he dropped to Keith on the point. Keith took the one timer and Robbie tipped it home. We were on the scoreboard.

We’re just twenty to twenty-five seconds into the period so we stayed out for the drop. Skating with only two lines we were used to going two to three minutes stop time between shifts. Nuts, but it works and keeps the lines tight and together throughout a game. None of that thirty to forty-five second shifts like in the NHL.

This time Rat moves over to center to take the draw cuz he’s about a foot taller than Woody. Keith and Robby cheat while Woody, the little fire hydrant that he is, inches almost to the boards at the drop. I shifted over almost center ice and again the puck came out of the faceoff right up center where I hit Woody as I crossed the blue line and he was almost crossing into their zone. Again Robby made a b-line towards the net but this time got taken out by both defensemen at once and they all went down in pile to right side of the slot. Woody had open ice to the net, deked left and went high on the right side. It beat the goalie but caught the cross bar and dropped down into the crease. Woody twisted and stuffed it tweeners on his backhand and immediately slapped ass-first against the boards to the right of the net and raised his stick in triumph.

The Sturgeon goalie threw his stick at Woody and got two minutes.

We took a seat. One shift … two goals … all tied up.

Jingles and crew come out to take the faceoff on the power play at center ice. The Sturgeon are slapping at the sticks of Bronzy and Collin working for position. Jingles pulls it back to Keats who circles back behind our net. He hits Collin along the boards on the inside faceoff circle who again circles behind the net and hits Bronzy just inside our blue who taps it to Jingles who had circled in and was now breaking hard across our blue line with Keats jumping up on Bronzy’s side and Collin opposite. Jingles side steps a hit from his right side and hits Keats on the fly with a crisp little snap. Keats bobbles it in his feet and has to look down for a sec and just gets clocked.

Along the far boards, you betcha! Face first right into one of the protruding brick pilasters. Pealed the skin on his forehead like lifting a pancake off a grill. The ref’s blowing his whistle for boarding and Jingles is in this hitter’s face and has got his stick up across this dude’s neck.

Keats has dropped to the ice, knocked out cold and bleeding like a stuck pig. A linesman is signaling for help from our bench and we all jump on the ice.

One of the Flin Flon boys (come to find out that it was the twin brother of the guy Jingles is throttling) grabs Jingles from behind around his neck and tries to wedge him off. Jingles backs down enough to drop his right glove and grabs the helmet off the guy behind him, continues to hold that guy’s head, drops a shoulder while backing off from the first guy and sweeps his leg out and rolls the second guy right over him like a WWF move. In the mean time Bronzy is getting thrown over the boards by some other big clown on the near side of the ice. Shit he only weight about 145 lbs back then. Collin in the mean time is back on the guy that hit Keats and the whole rest of the team is across ice to the area of the original infraction. All this time McCloskey has got some forward by the top of his jersey, holding him with his left hand, head down, and just wailing with his right on this ugly dude’s face.

First, the Sturgeon serving the goalie’s penalty jumped on the ice to join the fracas and all the rest from their bench followed. Guy and their goalie were going at good and you could hear the French cussing just ripping off of Guy’s lips.

It was major mayhem as the remainder of the two benches met. Gloves dropped everywhere. My nose got busted on the second or third punch. We were outnumbered two to one in some cases and the officials couldn’t do anything to stop it. Needless to say we were absolutely getting trashed by these big fuckin lumberjacks.

At one point in this melee I saw that Robby had jumped up on some Sturgeon’s back and had wrapped his legs, skates and all, around the dude and was just wailing on the back of the cat’s neck to no avail.

I’m still swingin, Jingle’s is still swingin, Keith’s bloodied one guy but looked like a Steven King’s Carry with massive amounts of blood running down over his face too. Collin’s got two guys on him and he’s face down in the ice just getting pulverized. Rat looks like he’s knocked out flat on his back and Woody now has someone chasing him.

I look over to the boards, between swings, where Bronzy had been tossed and see him climbing back over but also notice that a bunch of spectators have jumped over the boards too. They’re mostly players from other teams, probably, ya know, but in street shoes the ice wasn’t too friggin delicate with them. They were slipping and sliding trying to get over to break this shit up but half of them had upended bouncing off of their fool noggins.

After about five minutes, I guess, we all cooled down. Somebody had called an ambulance for Keats and after about twenty minutes they were wheeling him away.

The ref called the game. The tournament host tossed us and the boys from Flin Flon out of the tournament without being able to complete any more games and no refund. Woody argued against this with no success. Yup!

“Read your tournament agreement. You signed it as did each of your players. You Outlaws are nothing but a bunch backwoods henchmen as far as I’m concerned. Same for the Sturgeons. And forget about bussing up to the Rose Parade – OUT OF THE QUESTION!”

Far from home. Same kinda results. Old time hockey to the max. We maybe didn’t win the tournament but we sure for shit weren’t lick our wounds either. We’re Outlaws and we’re walking with wood. Yessirree!

I know that we had a few days yet before our flights home so we hung out and got trashed every night. Gave some time for the swelling of Keats forehead to go down and for the stitches and repairs by the doctor to start taking effect. His old lady was sure gonna give him a going over when he got home. He flat ass knew it.

New Years Eve was started at the bar next to the hotel, Lucky Johns, but they had reservations starting at 10:00 pm for some biker party or something so we bailed from there and went down to the small rink and Bilbo Baggins. The little honey that Eggman had nailed showed up with some of her friends and we all hung together for the night. One little chubby sweetheart was sitting next to me at midnight and she gave me a big old hug and kiss as we brought in the new year. Dabnabit if that wasn’t enough coaxing that we went out to the parking lot together a little bit later for some more making out and extracurricular activity that ended us up in the middle seat of the van that I just so happened to have the keys to.

As we had finished up our first round and were heading back to get some more drinking in we met Collin with a honey hanging on to him heading out. Collin said, “Wheats you old toad. What’s ya up to? Say ya got the keys to the van? Let me borrow them for a bit.”

Hell, it was a damn good night! I don’t remember too much more. Just a hell of a hangover the next day and getting razzed by the guys that my date last night had been about as homely as cold wet dog. Yeah well I got some and I know that over half of them didn’t. They were just more interested in getting trashed.

And me? Yeah, that too, but while walking with wood ehh!

Jasper here until next time.

Enjoy these times ….

And skate hard my friends!