Snow and Ice: Fun and Games On and Off the Rink

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Oh, how I’ve missed the snow and ice …but not today! Winter arrived overnight, as forecast, and the icy winds brought the Wisconsin Badgers Women’s Ice Hockey team with it. 

I’d been out in the snow all day, on trails through Sharon Woods Metro Park, with my walking stick in hand and my mind on the promise of warm soup and hot chocolate at the end of the winter hike. Back home I realized that I may have overdone it – there was a chill in my bones that cups of hot tea, layers of warm blankets, and inching the thermostat upwards, several degrees at a time, could not battle.

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But the lightly falling snow, melting and refreezing in layers of ice on my knitted cap, had been just beautiful! It was the first real snowfall of the season, during a relatively mild winter. It reminded me of my childhood years growing up in Chicago, making snow angels and attempting to build forts. It reminded me of my college years in Milwaukee, racing my roommates down snow hills, on cheap plastic discs bought at the campus Walgreens when the snow started falling.

Headlines in Central and Southern Ohio predicted upwards of 6 inches of snow and ice, which is sometimes enough to declare a Level 2 Snow Emergency, depending on wind speeds or blackout conditions. There were the usual reports of long lines at the grocery store – we all need milk and bread under these conditions, right?

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But the Top Story leading into this wintery weekend was: “No.1 Badgers suffer 1-0 Setback in Columbus. The report captured Friday night’s local Women’s Ice Hockey game, #1 ranked Wisconsin Badgers vs. #7 ranked Ohio State.

Saturday afternoon my butt is planted on the cold metal bleachers of the OSU Ice Rink, to find out if the Buckeyes can do it again. Of course, I don’t entirely know what I’m witnessing. The women glide over the ice smoothly, with a whoosh that reminds me of air hockey. There’s a rhythmic clash and clatter – of sticks, and helmets, bodies meeting the ice. To my untrained ears it sounds a bit like a pair of 12-year olds playing foosball.

Between periods the Zamboni, introduced by Frank Zamboni in 1949 as the world’s first ice resurfacing machine, takes center stage. The beastly machine makes smooth passes around the rink, erasing gouges in the ice that are evidence of missed shots and forceful clashes. Talk about a “game-changer,” declares the Zamboni website.

The Zamboni driver, a college kid, remains focused on the task at hand, as the OSU Pep Band raises a cheer each time he passes. He keeps his cool when the trombone and percussion sections try to get rise out of him, shouting: “You missed a spot!!!”

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The band keeps the players pumped up between plays, and keeps the fans entertained during media timeouts. The goal judge signals that the puck has crossed the line, in Ohio State’s favor, but Wisconsin challenges the call, and the referees pause to review footage. It takes a moment or two, but it’s a GOAL for the Buckeyes!

The game had started out in Wisconsin’s favor, with a goal scored in the first 60 seconds of play. “Get in there,” I’d heard from a few rows back, just prior to the goal, “Look for the trail. . . goal!. . . That’s exactly what they needed!” It seemed the Badgers had regained their confidence, after the previous day’s defeat.

“There’s one minute left to play in the period.” calls the game’s announcer, with Wisconsin leading 2-1. “And Michigan still sucks!” replies the Pep Band. Ohio State takes their rivalries seriously, no matter who they happen to be facing off against in that moment.

The game sees an unusually high number of physical penalties, leading to an elevated number of Power Plays, but Ohio State returns to full strength after every one. Unfortunately for the home team, so does Wisconsin.

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A group of 12-year old girls sits immediately behind us, comparing Cracker Jack prizes between shouts of “Go Bucks!”Their analysis of the game is surprisingly sophisticated, and I suspect they play the game. They have plans to attend the post-game “meet & greet” with the players, and have rolled up posters in their clutches, with the aim of gaining some autographs.

When they have polished off the last of the peanuts and Carmel corn, the boisterous one in the group interjects: “I’m glad I have more snacks!” They give commentary on almost every play, question the calls the refs are making, and predict the day’s victor. “It’s no time for Celebration ladies!” the other boisterous one declares, after Wisconsin scores again – there’s still a lot of game left.

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Their boisterous friend decides it’s time to pick a fight about which player is the best on the Ohio State team. There’s no consensus in the group, as they debate the skills of #11, #17 & #33. Each fan holds tight to their favorite, and makes a pretty good case. I suspect the debate will continue long after the final buzzer, on the car ride home.

To keep warm inside the arena large amount of Tim Horton’s coffee and hot chocolate are consumed – the Canadian company is a huge financial backer of the sport, after all. The founder played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Timbits are served at the National Hockey League games in town.

But I suspect there’s something a bit stronger in some of the red cups in our section. A fan seated in the row in front of us drove 2 ½ hours from Toledo, OH to watch a friend’s daughter play, but she seems more interested in sneaking out during the 2nd intermission, for a cocktail.

I didn’t think people tailgated for Women’s Hockey,” she explains, but they have three tents and a full bar – I’m in!

That’s one way to stay warm, on a cold winter afternoon, when the wind is blowing outside, and the snow continues to fall – who needs to be fireside, when there’s a fire within? The Buckeyes showed a little bit of fire Friday night, with their 1-0 win against Wisconsin. But they were unable to pull out a repeat performance the next day.

Join me on my next adventure,

~ Kat

Related Links:

Ohio State Women’s Hockey

https://ohiostatebuckeyes.com/sports/w-hockey/

Wisconsin Women’s Hockey

https://uwbadgers.com/index.aspx?path=whockey

Zamboni

https://zamboni.com

The Hockey Song

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vagalume.com.br/jughead/the-hockey-song.html.amp

Lyrics

The Hockey Song  (Smith, James, Good and Phillips) ©1992

Performed & written by Jughead.

So there I was, over in Paris

Eating wine and drinking cheese

And this guy comes up to me and he says

“ Where are you from?”

Well, I says “Yeah, I’m from Canada”

And he says “Zoot Allure, mon Dieu, you are from Canada? Do you play hockey?”

And I says “Do I play hockey?

Chorus

Well, I play Air hockey, Ball hockey, Barn Hockey, Bubble Hockey, Field hockey,

Floor hockey, Ice hockey, Kitchen hockey, Road hockey,Roller hockey, Table hockey, Twist hockey

And I play hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey,

hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey,hockey all the time!

Take shots!

So there I was way out in California

And this guy comes up to me and he says

“ Where are you from dude?”

Well, I says “Yeah, I’m from Canada”

And he says “Wow! Where are you from dude?”

And I says “Look I’m from Canada”

And he says “Wow. If you’re from Canada? Do you like, play hockey?”

And I says “Do I play hockey?

Chorus

So there I was way down under in Australia

And this guy comes up to me and he says

“ Where are you from?”

Well, I says “Yeah, I’m from Canada”

And he says “Do right, honey child. If you’re from Canada? Do you play hockey?”

And I says “Do I play hockey?

Chorus

He shoots. He scores!

 

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