We couldn’t leave Canada without going to see an ice hockey game. The local team, Meadow Lake Broncos, were having an exhibition match against Paradise Hill Hawkes or ‘friendly’ in our terms. On the team were the son of one of the local ranchers who visits here regularly and we’d met briefly when hauling hay. Another player is a colleague of the girls at the stockyard so we were able to have some vested interest in the team. Although it was only a local game the speed of play was quite phenomenal, hence the blur! I’d seen the Sheffield Steelers play many years ago when they were able to pay some 3rd and 4th tier Canadian players to join them but this was much more intimate. We even managed to witness the obligatory fight although no blood was shed!
Canada claims, with some foundation, to be the best hockey team in the world and their record would suggest that this isn’t unreasonable. All the towns we’ve stayed in has had a hockey arena, some, like Meadow Lake, have two. The kids start playing at a young age, particularly the boys, so that they are as proficient on the ice as they are in dry land, some more-so! This originates from their pass-times in the long frozen winter months where there is little other facilities available apart from ice and snow. The climate isn’t particularly wet so the ground freezes and the snow lays on top. The extremely low temperatures prevent the grey miserable slushiness of British snow and sounds to be more akin to the crisp fresh conditions in Finland. The Alps has a combination of both and is already starting to have some falls, ready for our return in 7 weeks time!