It was cold outside.
Snowflakes were drifting haphazardly to the ground and the frosty air hinted that winter was here to stay.
But, inside the arena the temperature was balmy.
True, the heaters overhead did not exactly sizzle, but still it felt warm, almost like a soft, fuzzy blanket kind of warm.
Inside the players box there was a lineup of tiny uniform clad figures clutching hockey sticks and peering through their plastic helmets with huge eyes.
The stands were filled with grandpas and grandmas and moms and dads and disinterested siblings.
“Are you here to watch your grandson play hockey,” someone asked my husband.
“No, I’m here to play,” he replied, his blue eyes twinkling.
The lady thought my husband was quite amusing, being he was in a wheelchair, and laughed raucously.
I just shook my head.
We were, of course, here to watch our grandson play. It was a milestone. His first game, ever.
He is No. 7 his mom told us, shifting his little brother in her arms.
I reached out my arms to the child hoping he would let me take him so I could show all the other grandmas how incredibly cute he was.
It was only later; when we were having a post game coffee that he decided I was the best grandma ever and took me by the hand to show me all his worldly possessions. He also proudly showed me a framed wedding picture of his mom.
“There’s mom wearing her princess hat,” he said, as he pointed out her sparkling tiara and long white veil.
His mom was in the kitchen stirring something on the stove for supper that smelled and looked delicious, while keeping a close eye on her little brood of three.
She overheard her son make that comment and allowed herself a wry smile.
“I was a princess that day,” she said with a sigh.
Anyway, back to the hockey game.
As it turned out the kid wearing No. 7 skated like lightning, well, quite fast anyway, but fell down a lot.
He fell down when he was waiting for the face off, he fell down when he zeroed in on the puck and he fell down when he was skating towards or away from the players box and/or the goalie.
“He likes falling down,” his mother explained.
It seemed most of the little players on that team liked falling down, too. And so they did, with great aplomb, falling and sliding with gusto, usually over top of each other.
Their antics on the ice provided great entertainment for the crowd and it seemed to put everyone in great spirits.
No. 7’s big brother who happens to be No. 20 on another team stop by to visit his grandparents for a few minutes during the game.
“It’s not the NHL,” he said with an all-knowing smile. The child is eight and already is an old pro at Canada’s beloved sport.
“No, sweetheart,” I replied with a smile. “It’s not. It’s even better.”