Thursday, March 5, 2020

George Anderson writes

The Man Behind the Net
In Oxford Park in NDG
the old man
watched me
play ice hockey
from behind the net
in a foot or two of hardened snow.
As a teenager --
I had often heard the stories
about his on-ice heroics
how as a young man during World War 2
playing for the Acadia Axemen 
how he’d get drunk beforehand
how he’d get into a few punch-ups
& usually score 2 or 3 goals.
The history was all there
in the scrapbooks
which my mother preserved
under lock & key
in the main bedroom trunk
& who occasionally allowed us a peek.
One evening
riled by me as a budding young star
my dad took to the ice
under the lights
in his old CCM skates.
He circled the rink
several times
& to the surprise of all of us
it was as if he was skating
around the rink

1 comment:

  1. NDG (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce) is a residential neighborhood in western Montreal, Quebec. Oxford Park (officially named Georges Saint-Pierre in the 1990s), in the south, is famous for its sporting tradition. Hockey greats Doug Harvey, Howie Morenz, Kenny Mosdell, and Fleming Mackell learned their craft on its outdoor rink. The Acadia Axemen are the athletic teams of Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, founded as Queen's College by the Nova Scotia Baptist Education Society in 1838 to prepare men for the ministry and to educate lay members as well. Its athletic teams have won more conference and national championships than any other institution in the Atlantic University Sport athletic conference. The Canada Cycle and Motor Company (CCM) was founded in 1899 with the amalgamation of 4 Canadian bicycle firms. Using scrap steel left over from the manufacture of bicycles and Russell automobiles, in 1905 it began making hockey skates. In 1905 future Hockey Hall of Famer "Bad Joe" Hall, then of the Brandon (Manitoba) Wheat Cities hockey club, complained to his neighbor, shoemaker George Tackaberry, that his hockey boots did not last an entire season without collapsing and commissioned Tackaberry, who specialized in orthopedic shoes for the handicapped, to make him a more durable pair. Tackberry combined the natural strength of kangaroo leather with a reinforced toe, thus creating the Tackberry boot. When he died in 1937 his wife sold the patent to CCM; the CCM Tacks remained the firm's primary skate until 2006 and are still on the market.


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