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Cornered Coach: Puck Luck

My two sons are a pair of puck heads.

And I mean that literally, as they both love to sniff out black rubber jewels at all the many hockey games we attend. As I write this blog, I take a quick peak to the book shelf on my right and view a virtual puck pedestal.

The Ryerson Rams.

The Brooks Bandits.

The Kingston Frontenacs.

Just a sampling of the crested pucks my two lads have collected through the years – each black disc with its own unique story and memory.

There's the University of Toronto Varsity Blues puck I managed to catch with one hand when it flew over the glass. I clothe, feed and care for my sons on a daily basis, but in their minds I've never been more heroic than the night I snagged a puck at the U of T game.

There's the North York Rangers puck. It got lodged high in the mesh surrounding one of the nets at the Herb Carnegie Arena and my 10-year-old just about broke my shoulders performing a balancing act as he poked it free from its nylon trap.

There's the St. Michael's Buzzers puck. Flipped to my 11-year-old son just a few weeks ago during the pre-game warm-up by a big Buzzers defenceman named Austin Clapham who immediately, of course, became my lad's favorite player.

No question, there's something exhilarating about getting your hands on a game puck. And sometimes, you have to be almost as athletic as the skaters on the ice to collect your prize. We've all witnessed the mad dash of a pack of young, and even not-so-young, hockey fans as they chase down a puck that flies into the stands. That, of course, is part of the fun when it comes to puck hunting.

But puck hunting isn't always fun and games.

When I was 10 years old, I was just as puck crazy as my two boys. Unfortunately, I was ten a long time ago – so long ago that some of the games I attended as a fan were actually played on outdoor rinks minus the protective mesh that has become the norm at modern hockey arenas. One Sunday afternoon, a buddy and I were watching the local senior team play while camped out on a snowbank that gave us a perfect angle to catch the game. As it turned out, however, we were a little too close to the action. A puck flew over the boards and smacked me right on the head. 

There was only one thing to do.

Run home to Mom.

I took off down the street, wailing like a police siren, rushing home so that Mom could apply her magic touch and make everything okay. Suddenly, I heard a clomping sound behind me. I turned around and, lo and behold, there was the local hockey hero who had shot the puck that connected with my coconut. He patted me on my sore noggin, and handed over the puck that had caused all the damage. Somehow, it made the whole ordeal less traumatic and I headed home to show Mom both of my souvenirs – a goose egg and the puck that put it there.

Yes, pucks have definitely left an imprint on our family. 

In fact, when we purchased our first family dog the naming ceremony was a complete no-brainer.

Say hello to a black beauty named Biscuit, as in "put the biscuit in the basket."

Biscuit is a playful little critter. Some might even say she's puckish.

And in our family, we wouldn't have it any other way.

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