Passing the puck around on a frozen lake feels like the epitome of Canadiana.
I’m lucky to have a pond behind my house that freezes nearly every winter. Folks in the neighbourhood bring nets out each year and leave them on the ice for people to shoot at. I’m always among them, practicing my slap shot and chasing the puck into the snow when I miss the net.
This year, pond hockey levelled up. Larger lakes around the Okanagan Valley froze thanks to some unusually cold temperatures. Wood Lake, a large water surface down the hill from me, also froze to a beautiful black ice a foot thick.
I wasn’t going to let the enhanced experience slide by, so me and a buddy hit the ice to pass the puck around. His stick broke about 20 minutes into our skate, so we set up a couple goal posts and we switched off using a shovel as a goalie stick.
The evening wind picked up and blew fingers of dusty snow across the surface. But we played until it was so dark the black pucks were invisible. When we were done, we sat in the snow and unlaced our skates as we drank hot chocolate.
It was an experience people all over the Okanagan took advantage of, creating some pretty unique memories.
It’s a wonderful place to visit and explore on the odd weekend. But when you’re stuck in traffic for 45 minutes because the city decided to pave a lane on Georgia Street, it’s a nice reminder that small town traffic is less rage inducing.
I had the chance to reconnect with an old friend. He was managing editor of the Penticton Herald, when I was managing editor of the Vernon Daily Courier. We used to swap editorials on days when we were too busy or too uninspired to write our own.
We’ve both since left journalism. He’s a lawyer and I’m in public relations.
He sold the trip to me as a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas adventure. The truth was much tamer: stops at Ikea and The Running Room.
We spent most of Saturday night at Steamhouse Brew Pub and got drunk off beer flights while we traded stories (and tweeted at a reporter we knew about why tequila was not a good option).