Double Your Fun: Hockey and Ice Skating

This weekend we were all about activities that involved ice. On Saturday, we went to a University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) hockey game, and on Monday we took to the ice ourselves for a little recreational skating. The hockey game was a blast. UAF played Miami of Ohio in a close game that ended 1-2. Bummer we didn’t win, but still a good game.

We were pleasantly surprised by the puck handling, passing, and general crisp play by both teams. I was most impressed with UAF’s goalie. He came up big, grabbing pucks in the air, taking close range shots, and scrambling for any rebounds that came loose. A funny coincidence: UAF is in the same hockey  conference as my graduate school (where we also used to attend hockey games). It was cool to see Northern Michigan’s banner hanging up in Alaska. A little reminder of home. At least our most recent home. I also particularly liked the nanook (polar bear) hats that fans wore, which is UAF’s mascot. Nothing like a grown man with a stuffed bear perched on his head to remind me about team spirit.

I have to say, I really like college sports. Attending the game was like going to a community event. Little kids were running around in mini-jersey’s, everyone said hello to one another, and teenagers sulked around looking for the boy/girl they liked, like teenagers do. The stands were packed, even though UAF isn’t having a particularly successful season.  Some college students were even dressed up as bananas to support their team, not sure about the significance of the costumes, but it was funny. It made me proud to be living in Alaska.

After attending the game, the next logical step was to lace up our skates and get out on the ice ourselves. Fairbanks has a semi-pro team called the Ice Dogs. The arena they play in is also used by the community for leagues and recreational skating. It was a great place to get back  on the ice. For me, ice skating is full of great memories. From skating on ponds in my home town as a kid to a few ice skating dates with Lucas when we lived in Pittsburgh. Most recently, we skated semi-regularly when living in Marquette, MI. We even skated in the morning on the day Lucas ask me to marry him. So of course, I love ice skating.

Beyond memories, I like the way skates cut across the ice leaving a thin trail, and the warm feeling in your cheeks when you pick up speed. There is something thoroughly satisfying about gliding over frozen water. It is almost like magic.

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