Out in the Cold

by Ryan

When I can, I like to get a skate or two in a week.

It’s nothing major, I’m not going to sit here and tell you how great a hockey player I am, but I’ve been trying to get back into pickup shape and an open skate or two is good to get your legs going.

So last Friday I’m skating and a group of little kids comes in with a guardian or two. This usually means trouble. First of all, the kids will take over the ice and play some crazy hockey-esque game with a glove until a skate guard comes in and yells at them. Also, there is a distinct chance that one of those little kids will be a better skater than I am, which is just plain depressing.

Of course, curiosity took over and I spent the majority of the time watching these little kids. It’s amazing to see what little humans can do, especially if they do it better than you. There is a reason people marvel at Sidney Crosby, and it’s because he’s winning scoring titles while other kids his age finish Bio labs.

As I continue to circle, I notice one little kid in his replica #48 Sabres jersey. Of course it’s a Briere jersey, which makes me feel bad for him. I have many a jersey of a now defunct player, and it really is a letdown when your favorite sweater is suddenly unwearable. (little kids can’t be blamed for an “expired” uniform, so he gets a pass…)

Then something happens that gets me thinking. All of a sudden he streaks towards the empty crease, pretends to roof it with an imaginary stick, and goes down on one knee to do the fist pump.

You all know the fist pump. Today it’s a standard goal celebration. Score a goal, down on one knee, pump fist, accept congratulations from teammates. There are probably dozens of players that do that move when they score, but what player do you think that little boy learned it from?

I’m going to guess it was from the guy on his back. It’s a sobering thing to see, because a kid that age doesn’t always understand why Briere isn’t playing for Buffalo this year. I wouldn’t even begin to try explaining how Darcy low balled Briere in an attempt to appease the fans, because it is even more of a headache than it sounds.

Still, seeing things like that make me wonder what kind of legacy Briere and Drury are going to leave on the next generation of Sabres fans. Fans above the age of suffrage know and understand what happened this past summer, but how long will it be until a player takes over where Briere and Drury left off with the little hockey fans among us?

I’m curious to see what you guys out there think; I’m just the one thinking about this while skating in circles. Maybe those of you with children have better insight into this than I.


  1. Heather B.

    Kids tend to be resilient little people. I’m sure they’re sad and like you said, there’s no explaining to a kid why 23 and 48 aren’t here anymore (I’m an adult and sometimes even I’m all, “Yeah, but why don’t they love us?!”), but I think they’ll pick up on other players pretty quickly. Especially since Chris and Danny weren’t here a super long time and probably really only started bringing in kids over the last couple of seasons. I have a nephew who was a huge fan of Stu Barnes when he was just a little guy and even though he still has a soft spot for Stu, he’s had many other favorites over the years since then. One of the best things about this group is that I think there are a lot of players that are easy for kids to get attached to. I don’t know though… I watched a ton of sports growing up but I don’t really remember having a favorite athlete (Andy Van Slyke) until I was a little older, 4th – 7th grade, somewhere in there so I was a little more understanding of the idea of a player not staying in one city forever. I don’t know, we’ll see I guess! (Yeah, I’m totally rambling.)

  2. dave

    when did all this happen ryan? lol

  3. Anonymous

    i agree with heather. i had a bunch of favorite hockey players when i was little – foligno, curtis brown, michael grosek, andreychuck – but, and this is slightly embarassing as a sabres fan, i always liked the nordiques and when they drafted sundin #1 overall I finally had a permanent favorite player. i remember one game quebec won 6-1, which was disappointing because it sucked, but he scored and we had a mini high-five because of who it was and the game was out of hand. same with game 3 of the eastern conference finals when he put in the penalty shot but ray had the winner in a 5-2 game. so, in conclusion, kids will adapt and find a new favorite player, but never forget their first. kind of like with girls.

  4. hannah

    Just out of curiosity, Ryan- where do you skate? I just enjoy ice skating and I find it so difficult to find places that offer open skate.

  5. dave

    I can awnser this for Ryan…

    um theres open skate everyday at BuffState..from Noon to 2

    Skate and Shoot from 10 to 12 usually every Tuesday/Thursday

    and others and different times when ice is avalible.

    also we sometimes go to the twilight skate at UB on friday nights but those are normally packed…

    heres the open skate schedule http://www.buffalostate.edu/athletics/documents/skating.pdf
    or call (716) 878-4198


    Weekday open skating: $2
    Weeknight and weekend open skating: $2 for children/students, $3 for adults,
    Free to Buffalo State students with a valid ID

    Skate rental: $2 for adults, $1 for children/students

    Skate-n-Shoot: $5 for skaters. Goaltenders are free.