Gav Martell: He’s in the Kitchen


Before the Frost... Until the Freeze

A Junky With A Frozen Habit

With my last remaming vacation day before heading back to work I just spent 8 hours in sub-freezing weather building a backyard skating rink for my kids. No, I'm not insane. No, I'm not the father of the year. Yes, I'm living vicariously through my children. Some background...

My parents moved to Toronto from England 5 years before I was born. Growing up in Toronto I was a die-hard Maple Leafs fan. I watched the games every Saturday night. I knew all of the stats and the players. In high school my friends and I would hang around outside Maple Leaf Gardens until the game had started and try to buy cheap tickets off of scalpers. There was something magical about that place, those games. Of course, having British parents, I did not grow up playing ice hockey. I played soccer, basketball and floor hockey. Never ice hockey. Oh, how I pined to play the game I so loved.

In University some friends mentioned that there was free ice time at the rink and that they were going to play pick-up there. My first time playing ice hockey. I could barely call myself a decent skater but I was darned if I was gonna give up this chance. I raced home and got my ice skates and helmet, borrowed some gloves and shin pads from a friend, and then...well, I found my passion.

In the decade-and-a-half since I've played ice hockey two to three times a week. Leagues, pick-up, shinny, tournaments. During dinner time? I'm there. Midnight game? Count me in! Summer, winter and all times in between? Check! I'm like a junky with a frozen habit.

So, while I can tell you I spent today in the freezing cold building this ice rink for my kids to fill with laughter and memories. Really...I built it for me. The 5 to 18-year-old me. Game on!