Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

March 14, 2014

VALLEY: The ties of my hockey past, part 2

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Last week’s column dealt with my days of playing hockey as a youth in Ogdensburg, N.Y. It was there in the backyard of our house on Patterson Street that neighborhood friends, my brother Tim and I built our first ice rink. It was the late 1950s.

The genesis of the project came from Larry Leland and Ricky Roach, two kids our age who lived in the neighborhood. They had built a small rink at one of their houses and were looking to expand. They approached my brother and me with the hopes of joining forces. Our yard was bigger and it looked like a win-win situation for both parties.

Tim and I ran the plan by our other friends and work force: Calkie, Pinky, Reggie, Gordie, the Seymours, and the Shermans. They were in! A lifetime of memories was set in motion.

Learning how to build the rink was an ongoing process. It required a lot of lumber (for the wooden structure of the frame). Thus, the first order of business was to secure that wood. And so, we set out scavenging the city for planks, boards and timber wherever and whenever we could.

We kept our eyes and ears open looking for tips as to where any buildings were being razed. I remember, one fall day, when a group of us trudged about 10 blocks with a caravan of red wagons in tow, to where a demolition/construction operation was taking place.

Once there, we were allowed to paw through the debris and, eventually, wheeled home about 8 to 10 discarded interior doors. They were perfect for the sidewalls — and the price was right. Let’s just say our group of wood-scrounging junior engineers won the “door-prize.” 

If necessity is the mother of invention, then determination is the father of resourcefulness.

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