The lights above the skating rink

The sun above the skating rink was frosted, cold, hanging on the southern horizon providing a glimmer of hope for warmer days ahead. I wanted to take a few pictures of the Northern Classic hockey rink before heading into the Suncor Community Leisure Centre for the volunteer orientation and celebration.

Built on what was a rugby pitch cum summer concert site just a few short months ago, the hockey rink has risen from the ground to play host to 5,000 fans this Friday. Aluma Systems put the bleachers together in just a matter of days, row upon row of aluminum benches now covered with a light dusting of snow. The view from up at the top was impressive, as I caught a few brave skaters doing laps in -20 conditions.

Stepping up from behind, almost a foot up from ground level, I went through the penalty box to get on the ice. I waited, gloves off, finger on the shutter button, until Councillor Meagher came around to my side of the ice.

"This is blasted cold," I said to myself as I slipped my numb fingers back into my mittens. "I can't imagine how the players would survive a period, let alone a whole game, in cold like this."

A tremendous effort has gone into the planning and construction of this amazing facility and the Northern Classic event. Demand for tickets is through the roof, with none to be had. Rumours have it that several are being auctioned off online for crazy amounts of money. The gates open on Friday afternoon at 4:30, temperatures forecast to be about -5. By that time the stage will be up, all the lights rigged, sound gear on standby, bands at the ready, and 5,000 guests en route to MacDonald Island.


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