This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take my younger son to Toronto for a hockey tournament weekend. This was the finale of their spring season.
I was happy to travel with Owen for this tournament as Jay had taken him to the others. Our older son would not have enjoyed going and being dragged around to the arenas. The way over, our flight from Victoria was cancelled due to an incident at the airport, so we had to make a quick decision on what to do next, so Owen and I walked on the ferry to get to Vancouver and we took a plane from there. Travelling always seems to bring new adventures! So it was a long day, but the travel went smoothly.
Upon arrival, while pulling the hockey gear from the baggage claim, we met a father and son picking up the same league hockey bag. We discovered this player was joining the team for the weekend, filling in for someone on the team who couldn’t make it. They drove us back to the hotel as we were going to the same place.
We were part of a group who joined together to rent one vehicle, which was excellent as the other dad had driven around Toronto many times in the past. The kids had a practice the first day at the Ford Performance Centre which is where the Toronto Maple Leafs have their training facility. In the afternoon, we all went to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
This was such a fun afternoon, so much to see, including the Stanley cup. My Uncle, who is quite involved with Black History, asked me to look for a photograph of a team from the 1930s, called the St. Catharine’s Orioles. This was a team of all Black players from St. Catharines, Ontario. We didn’t find the photo, and I asked the staff, who did help me look, but also explained that with over 65,000 exhibit pieces, they do change the exhibits regularly. They were confident they have the photo, but it would currently be in the archives. The players in the photo are family members of my Uncle. I did find an article on Sports Net website (Dan Robson, Feb 24, 2016) about the lost history of the team. The article talks about Richard Nicholson, Nicholson being the family name also, of my Uncle. Seeing this article and what the photo looks like makes me feel like we definitely need to go back to the Hickey Hall of Fame in the future, also bringing my husband, and look again for the photo.
The 2011 team that Owen plays with won 2 games the first day, lost 2 the second day, but made it to the semi-finals. They lost the semi final game in overtime. They had a lot of fun playing and battled hard. They played with some new friends, a couple of kids that joined the team from our home province, and the goalie we borrowed from Newmarket Ontario. The new kids were welcomed and enjoyed each other’s company. The team was hoping the goalie would move back with us. There was some trips to the hotel pool, and otherwise, my time was just spent making sure he was fed.
The return journey, we met a family at the airport in Toronto, with 3 spaniel puppies (I forget now which kind), who were delivering these pups to their new families on the East Coast. Much to Owen’s delight, they let us play with the puppies for a little while.
We arrived home again late Sunday night. It was a great experience and we made lots of new memories. Travel brings so much enrichment with meeting new people and trying and seeing new things. I never grew up with Hockey, but it has brought a lot to our family, that I couldn’t imagine it not being a part of our lives now.