Friday, 30 May 2014

Information Handbooks

It’s Hockey Night in Canada, again. Well, not in Canada per say, the Canadian team, the Canadiens, were eliminated last night, and the New York Rangers crowned the winner of the Eastern Conference. Tonight it’s game 6 of the Western Conference between the LA Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks.

All this hockey has brought back memories of my years as Hockey Mom. I spent many hours travelling across the city, from arena to arena, to watch my son play. Some arenas were small, local venues with hard wooden seats, no insulation and meagre offerings in a small tuck shop or the vending machines. Other rinks were quite elaborate, warmer, with comfortable seats and a more varied menu in the canteen.

Knowing what we might face before we arrived would determine whether we would stop to eat on our way, or go directly to the arena. Time was always a concern as I often rushed home from work, picked up the kids and immediately took off for the arena. There were many nights I couldn’t afford the time to change from work clothes to something more comfortable, and warmer, so a home cooked meal was out of the question.

It was fast food and a fast trip to the game. Some nights as we crossed the city, I just knew we were going to be late. On those nights my son would reach from the back seat into the hatchback trunk, grab for his gear and dress in the car. Aw, those were the days, and I loved every one of them.

There was another single Mom in our group of parents, and we were friends, as were our boys. We used to laugh and talk about putting out the Hockey Mom’s Handbook of Arena Information. We were quite serious though we never did follow through.

We would have included such things as which arena offered hot food, like hot dogs, hamburgers or nachos. Always nice to know if dinner was light, or a quick bite while on the road. And then there was the hot chocolate, a staple amongst hockey moms. In some places it tasted like it was made from dishwater, the milky and chocolate flavours practically nonexistent. Other places the hot chocolate was nice and creamy.

You can see how such a handbook would be of benefit to the parents making the rounds of not only Toronto’s arenas, but also those in the outlying areas. It’s funny, but as I watched my grandson play hockey this past winter, I couldn’t help but check out the amenities. Old habits die hard.

In my town we have a new arena/community centre. It’s quite the happening place with auditoriums for indoor soccer in the winter, plus two rinks and a series of other rooms for community activities. They have a small canteen on the main floor, I don't know what's upstairs at the main arena level. As I live local and usually bring my own cup of Timmies coffee, (from the drive thru at Tim Horton’s coffee shop), I've never paid much attention.

Being in a more senior age group, the food offerings at the local arenas are not top of my priority list. Now, where the bathrooms are, that’s a whole other kettle of fish. The one nice thing about Timmies is that they are everywhere, so you can always find one if you find yourself on the go, and need to go. LOL.

So that takes care of when you’re out driving, but what about when you’re in a store? Some stores keep a bathroom stuck back in a store room and designate it Employees Only. How rude.

But other stores, like Michaels, the craft store, have a public washroom. Always nice to know.

In Canadian Tire you have to go to the Service Department, logical as that’s where customers have to sit and wait. Sears stores usually have a public washroom, as do Zellers, Target and WalMart.

An important piece of information, for those of us who use public facilities, is who has the best toilet paper? There’s a topic for a handbook, because let me tell you, some of the stuff they give you to use is just…‘crap’. It’s thin, but stiff and rough.

Don’t get me started on those new and modern, self flushing toilets. They can be down right scary if they suddenly flush and you’re not prepared or caught by surprise because you’re still seated…but that’s a story for another day.

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