Heads Up!

Nicko on an open-ice breakaway

Week 6 of 10 in Hockey School. Finally, we carry sticks onto the ice. For the last 15 minutes, we even got to hit pucks – practising cross-checking puck-control, or the faster breakaway-friendly open ice control, where you use the backhand of your stick’s curve to bunt the puck ahead of you as you fly, fast as you can, away from opponents. Fair to say, most NHL players would catch me pretty quickly.

Most of the lesson was skating theory and prac: including the backward crossover, which is challenging the Pivot for the title of “The Bastard That Is … ” I can kind of feel how the reverse crossover is meant to happen; that one day my legs might have muscle-memory to pull it off. But I can also see a long, ice-filled road ahead… then again, I never thought I’d be backward skating or doing the pivot, and both are now sort of in my skill set.

One thing we also learned was some hockey lingo, as the term: “Heads up!” comes into play once everybody is trying to skate backwards and crossover and not necessarily look where they’re going. Or watching a puck instead of where they’re going. I should have known something was up when the coaches were all in helmets for the first time, instead of Icehouse beanies.

Who? Me? ... Not guilty, Your Honour.

So “Heads up!” means just that. (See photo to the right for what happens if you don’t … actually, the camera lies. I didn’t kill anybody. Honest.)
We also did standard crossovers, Supermans, and pivots … Lliam, head coach, had fun whacking us with sticks if we were slow off the mark. We have padding, he has a stick … hard to argue, really.

In other news, I finally wore my prized Henrik Zetterberg jersey onto the ice (I hadn’t previously because I felt my dodgy skating was a travesty to Zee’s reputation, but now we have sticks? Why not?) and my teenage non-hockey-playing son, Mack, came along to take photos of sticks and pucks making their debut.

Rather than me write a thousand words, check the shots, if you feel so inclined.


Fun night. I’m looking forward to the next phase, where the pucks really start flying. Better remember to wear my protective box. And keep my head up.


  1. Great photos! Our class starts on Sunday with an hour of skating, I can’t wait to fall on my newly padded ass as I try crossovers.

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