Have you ever traveled to play hockey, or played hockey when you were traveling for work or pleasure?
About 8 years ago, I spent Christmas and New Year’s in Santa Fe, New Mexico (shout out to the excellent Ten Thousand Waves Spa!!). I planned to play hockey a couple of times when I was in town.
I took the train, so I didn’t have to deal with checking my gear–there were no baggage limits or worries about it being dangerous. It was just a pain to lug around.
I had found two games, one nearby in Los Alamos, and one in Santa Fe. I drove the rental car 40 minutes in the dark to the Los Alamos County rink. I found out later that I had been driving on the edge of a canyon the entire time and that some people get so freaked out by the drive that they can’t do it. Huh, glad it was dark!
The Los Alamos County rink is outside under the stars. It is set against the canyon, so one of the long sides is a very steep hill (that I imagine is just COVERED with pucks under the snow). The local adult team is… wait for it… The Fat Men.
You can see a bit of the rink and players in this video. I really wanted one of those “FAT MEN OF LOS ALAMOS” jerseys, but I didn’t have anything worth trading. The Albuquerque Journal did a story on the group in 2009.
The other game was less nostalgic and lots faster, at the Genoveva Community Center in Santa Fe. I felt every foot of the 6,500 altitude difference between the Twin Cities and Santa Fe! It WAS cool to have people ask where I learned to play. When you’re from Minnesota, everyone assumes you’re a lifelong hockey player (until I actually skated and then burst the bubble). Cred by association!
So . . . have you ever traveled and played hockey?