I have been a hockey fan for probably 45 years now, starting way back in Melville Saskatchewan. In 1965 and for years afterward, my Dad made a great rink by our 11th Ave West house, complete with hockey nets. (Way before anyone even thought of store-bought nets.) Dad obtained metal piping from a local plumber and had it bent just perfectly, and my Mom sewed burlap sacks together and stretched them over the framing. We had lights strung across the centre of the rink, and played until long after dark. I recall many hard fought games on that rink which included the odd scrap. Good old time prairie hockey….. I wanted to be Stan Mikita back then, I even had a ‘Hawks jersey as a kid. By the way, to me the red Blackhawks jerseys are still one of the very best in the NHL.
Winters were cold in south eastern Saskatchewan, and I never recall having to worry about whether the temperature would be too warm. We had to flood the rink every night, and had to shovel it off after each snowfall and before every flood. That was a lot of work, but man, was it worth it! Players came from all over our towm to play at “Richmond Gardens.” Mrs. McCullough next door wasn’t that happy with all the yelling, the pucks flying into her yard, and the general commotion, but for me, it was our prairie version of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
I thank God for my family, and for the memories that I still cherish from another world long past. My parents taught me about loving God and my community; maybe that is why I am a community pastor/chaplain today. They showed me how to serve God well, to read my Bible daily and to choose faith in Christ. I still do those things to this day. My memories of Melville days are very rich, and I pray they inspire you to love this game of hockey, to honour God, and to choose faith in Christ as you read this.