Well I said I would let you know what I don’t miss, so here I go.
I don’t miss the ice packs and the ibuprofens on a daily basis. I don’t miss not having one single weekend off for seven months out of the year. I don’t miss having the back of my hands have the most unique hockey glove stench that lasts at least 8 hours after I get off the ice. I don’t miss having to cook pre game meals at a ridiculous time of the day which is followed up by an afternoon nap that has you waking up at 3:30pm in the afternoon wondering if you just slept through the hockey game or if it’s morning or night right now.
I don’t miss having to go to a hockey game two hours before the puck drops and I don’t miss having to do a bunch of pre-game rituals just to prepare myself for a game that I have been playing for over 30 years. I don’t miss the long bus trips sitting straight up in a coach bus seat while the temperature of the bus is either too hot or too bloody cold to even get remotely comfortable. I don’t miss having the option to bring a yoga mat, blanket and a pillow to sleep on the floor underneath the seats or in the aisle while players tip toe over top of you in the pitch dark hoping to not accidently crush your hand or skull on their way back to the smelliest toilet in bus travel history. I don’t miss the smell of at least half the players releasing their pre and post game meals through a venomous gas the whole way home. I don’t miss getting back to the ice arena at 4:30 am knowing that the last thing you want to do at this time of the day is unpack your soaking wet, rancid, half frozen hockey gear. I don’t miss finally getting back to my house at 5am on a Sunday wide awake because you somewhat slept the whole way home and now you don’t know whether to force yourself to sleep again or just stay up and wait to prepare your next pre game meal for tonights upcoming match.
I don’t miss having to get all dressed up in a suit just to walk into an empty ice arena through the back door and have no one see how sharp you look and then follow that up with having to put it back on after the game just to show a few fans that we are not only professional on the ice but also off of it. And I don’t miss that it’s honestly the last thing I want to put on after a gruelling hockey match knowing that I just want to go to a small pub or nightclub in jeans and a t-shirt and drink beers and possibly spill yaeger bomb shots all over my ACDC t-shirt.
I don’t miss having to tie up my skates every single day in a manner that has to be satisfactory to carry out my job in a competitive state. I don’t miss all the promotional sides of the job where you might have to stand in a shopping centre and hand out flyers for two hours, or show up in your jersey at a grand opening of a new store and have 95% of the people have no idea who you are or what ice hockey is.
I don’t miss the feeling you get when you know the season is coming to an end and you know that you are going to have to move back home and find yet another four month summer job that is probably going to pay you fuck all and will be something that a 17 year old kid could do just as good. I don’t miss having to work out super hard for 3 months before the season just to have yourself never touch a weight the rest of the season because you’re too exhausted to even think about working out off the ice.
I don’t miss building a second home every single year for seven months knowing that you may never go back and live or play in that city or town again. I don’t miss that feeling of knowing that this could possibly be your last year ever playing if things don’t go well, or if you get injured, or if you just simply can’t keep up with the pace of the league and the players in it.
And last but not least, what I don’t and won’t miss is being away from my true friends and family who I have left behind for so many years pursuing my hockey career dreams.
Until next time…