Thread: OT: Hockey on the Boards
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03-31-2012, 09:30 AM
  #15
Jaxs
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Started playing CAHA house league in 73-74 at the fairgrounds coliseum at the age of 8. Mom got my brother and I skating a year prior. Learned of the travel team and the next fall tried out and made it. Played two years each of squirts peewees bantams (captain 2nd year bantam team) CAHA travel.

Two years before I started high school at Arlington, a hockey team was formed there and I played three years for Arlington 81-83, captain my senior year. It was the only high school team in Central Ohio at the time, Centerville being the next closest. Moeller had a team, the rest all being Northern Ohio. (The high school jerseys hanging near the main entrance inside Nationwide Arena, very cool).

Played one season for the club team at Ohio University. I wasn't planning on trying out not thinking I could make it but i did, and made the team. Stopped playing after that one year at OU. Long story, haven't played organized hockey since.

I played defense. I wasn't what would be known as a puck moving dman, more of a stay at home type who liked to clear the net. I usually made a good first pass, and I had a pretty good point shot. I wasn't good enough to play at the higher levels and knew it.

Hockey in Columbus in the early 70's until the Blue Jackets were announced in 1997 was a very fringe sport. OSU had collegiate hockey and the Columbus Owls were the minor league IHL team at the time. As a kid I was able to see quite a few Owls games along with members of the youth teams I played for. As a young teenager I was lucky to be a stick boy at home games for a couple of years for the Buckeyes. That allowed me to stand next to the trainers during games, when my schedule allowed.

The amount of kids playing youth hockey in Columbus back then could not match the talent of cities well north of Columbus and was no match for the Toledos and Clevelands and all of the smaller burbs in between. The teams I played for growing up usually got beaten by most of these teams. Played some out of state teams too, like Carmel,
Indiana, Fort Wayne, Indy, Detroit, Pittsburg, Erie, Knoxville.

There were four ice rinks in town and ice time was always at a premium. Most years we were lucky to get two practices a week, while playing two games a weekend during the season. The Coliseum at the fairgrounds where I first played house league. OSU had the undersized rink where the Buckeyes played. Iceland was next to Gold Circle, which sold out to Riverside Hospital, for warehouse space, in the late 70s. Ice Chalet on Shrock Rd had two ice surfaces, one of which was about a half sheet.

Without parents who are sacrificial with their time and money, hockey for young kids isn't possible. My dad made all of my home games and only missed but a couple of my away games. He made it down to Huntsville Alabama when the OU team I played for made the club national tournament.

With hockey I made many friends and have had a lifelong bond with my dad that I wouldn't trade for the world. (He started getting into hockey when he lived in Rochester NY, going to Rochester Americans games early to late1960s). I was estatic when it was announced that an NHL team was coming to town, especially after a couple of failed sales tax bond issues.

That is my connection and where my love of the best game on earth comes from. Sorry if I bored you to death!

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