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Ice Hockey

by EG
June 4, 2021
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Hockey, well that’s a proper team sport game. When I was a young kid we played hockey with other kids in the garden with sticks and stones. Obviously, I was the goalkeeper because I wanted to be the most important player in the game. In the next paragraphs, I will show how I started hockey and how I did end up playing in actual hockey games for different hockey teams in UK and Latvia.

It all started with a wish. That I wish one day I will play hockey as well. I knew that to achieve NHL level and actually play there would be not that easy. It would require a lot of resources which I didn’t have when I was a kid.

Equipment was really expensive and training my parents couldn’t afford nor I could skate. But I felt deep inside, if I won’t be playing for some higher-level teams, I know I will play with someone on a decent level in my own opinion.

In 2007 I tried floorball which is similar to ice hockey but without the ice. Obviously, I was a goalkeeper, but after 4 years of playing for different teams, I realized I need something more difficult, something more challenging and harsher.

So in 2010, I tried ‘how it is to skate and wear the goalie equipment.

My mother friend played ice hockey for women’s team and she gave me chance to try it out for the first time ever
My feelings at that moment were: This is too heavy and I can’t fucking skate

I couldn’t move and wear the equipment properly because it was not my size and I couldn’t skate. After the first session, I was hooked for years. I was doing early morning training with random people.

At that time I borrowed twice my size the goalie equipment. The skates were too big which created painful blisters all the time, where my skin was peeled all the time and the bone could be seen. It did hurt a lot but the excitement was too high to care about that. My skating skills were bad, but the overall feeling of the equipment started to improve.

This was a routine almost every single morning
Krisjanis taught me almost every day how to skate
No-one had clue at first what we were doing 😀

At that time I was in high school and at that time everything for me was about ice hockey. After school, I went straight to the pond where I was playing hockey to learn how to skate properly. There was a time when I even skipped lessons or called sick the whole day, just to do the hockey on the pond.

After a year I managed to purchase my first partly-used partly-new equipment which was still too big. I wasn’t aware of the sizes that much but I knew I want to have my own equipment. Some of my first hockey gloves and knee pads were used by a Latvian national hockey team goalkeeper. So I had that luck in those parts already. 😀 That’s the time 2010-2012 when I was learning how to skate, how to move in the goals, and also managed to train and attend some amateur training in Latvia. The level of hockey compared to nowadays is very different, but at that time for me it was everything.

Then the same time in the year 2012 I moved to the UK to attend college. I was looking where to continue my hockey adventures and I found a university hockey team called ‘Birmingham Lions’ which played in the British Universities Ice Hockey Association league. It was a big jump for me because the level was not comparable and usually in this league there were players from all over the world such as the USA, Canada, Sweden, Germany and so on. Then that’s the time when one of the best hockey moments started to arise.

At that time not many pictures were made but more saved in the memories.

We won the game obviously
and I saved the save
After the game when we won the game

After year at playing in the university team I had a break for few years from ice hockey. I moved to Scotland where I was playing for different teams. This time level was much higher. My main team was ‘Paisley Blackhawks’.

Weekly Sunday morning trainings that lasted 2 hours
My first ice hockey jersey

We had a friendly game with Canadians. Yes, they arrived from Canada to play against us. Because why not?

Me making magic skating tricks
Don’t worry guys I got the puck
And again I got the pack
It was great fun where we won of course

I played almost the whole season, but due to injuries, I stopped playing right before the playoffs.

My last game before playoffs started

It was sad to stop, but my health was more important.

After a few years of pause, I started to play ice hockey again. This time in Latvia. I joined the team a few months after the season was started. I helped guys to win the games and didn’t finish the season fully due to injuries. Yes, again due to injuries.

Here are a few images from the games we had.

Puck is under me

They scored but still we won the game

It was a great catch

Another saved puck
Always try to give respect to losers 😀
When the whole team relies on you, it’s a magnificent feeling

On my last season game when I look back I remember great moments I had when playing with guys as well as helping them to win games. Again, before the playoffs, my health started to give headaches and I had to leave out before the playoffs. This time I have again chosen my health over ice hockey. This was in the year 2020 April.

In the year 2020 December, I have been asked if I want to play ice hockey on an outdoor rink. Exactly the time when the Corona did hit hard in Latvia.

At that time it was half a year apart from the last training and I felt my injuries are slightly healed, so why not give it a try. Which I did.

Since a lot of places were shut down. We had to play outside on lakes and in outdoor hockey halls, even when it was -20C. Still, it was a great experience for the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. The last outdoor training was in April.

In the summer you can swim but in the winter you can play ice hockey, such an amazing feeling
Double-layer of clothes in -20C

Now it’s summer season and it’s time to put ice hockey on a side and fix my health and all injuries fully, so one day I can be back to conquer the planet of ice-hockey.

My last official game

I hope it was great fun to read my experience which didn’t come easy. But with high interest and determination the high part was actually the easy part. Period.