Not long ago I was amazed to learn how what it cost to outfit a lad to-day in a hockey uniform. Either he has all the equipment the pros have or he isn't allowed to play.
Far cry from my days on the ice when we didn't have coaches telling us to get out there and win at all costs. No, our was the old fashioned days when we cleared a place on the Scugog River or on a pond in a farmer's field or built a rink in our back yard and played hockey until our hearts were content. We used to play a game we called "every man for himself" and the idea was to get the puck and keep it as long as possible from the other guy. What a way it was to learn how to do something the big leaguers can't do to-day, and that is to "stick handle"
Ever play hockey without a puck? Well I, along with some of my chums have but we were fortunate enough in those days to be able to go out on the road and pick up a frozen horse ball and believe me if you got hit with one of them it was not uncommon to see tears in a guy's eyes. They hurt!
What did we have for a goal? Well tin cans served fairly very well but we did crave a proper goal but who could afford one.
Talking with Harry Hawkins recently I recall playing hockey in his lane way on Queen Street along with Ken Wilson, and some of the Duncan and Armstrong boys when we happened to complain about whether a goal had been scored legally or whether the tin can had slid sideways making the goal bigger than it should have been. Well, Harry's mother (Molly) suggested we build a goal out of wood. What, we asked, could we use for a net and she told us she would gladly sew some burlap potato sacks together and we could fit them around the frame and "voila" we would have our hockey net.
A call to Don Osborne at the Lindsay Arena gave us the proper dimension of a goal and with that we proceeded to build it in Harry's basement. We were able to gather a few 2 x 4's and worked feverishly for a few days building our "dream". With the frame finally completed and Molly having our burlap "net" ready, we completed the task. Now to take it out in the lane way and test it out. Oh, but we were excited with what we had accomplished. Well you can imagine the look on our faces when we went to take it out and found out, to our dismay, that it was that our "net" was wider than the basement staircase at the Hawkins' residence!
There is, of course, a bright side to this story - Harold & Molly had some great wood for kindling and started the furnace a few times with our "pet project."
Oh yes, we went back to using tin cans for goals.