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Friday, December 11, 2009

Portland Pond Hockey!

The temperatures have been sub-freezing for a week now, mostly in the mid-twenties during the day and high teens at night. It's been very dry with crisp, clear blue skies, but standing water has had plenty of chance to freeze. The calm, man-made pond in Westmoreland Park where I saw the red phalarope just a few weeks ago has frozen solid and transformed into a giant, outdoor hockey rink.

This morning the local major junior hockey team, the Portland Winterhawks, took the ice to scrimmage for an hour or so with fans. For those who aren't familiar, the Hawks are members of the Western Hockey League (WHL), a developmental league for players aged 16-20 who hope to go on to play pro hockey. I've been a big hockey fan for years and had season tickets for the Hawks when I lived in Portland full-time. It was great to see the players and fans out having so much fun on such a beautiful winter morning!

The Winterhawks, in red, scrimmaged against the fans, mostly in black

Nino Niederreiter, the Swiss left-winger who leads the team in goals

Twenty year-old team leader Chris Francis, in his fourth year with the team

Future NHLer defenseman Brett Ponich is currently the team captain of the Hawks, but he's also second round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues

Center Stefan Schneider gets ready to head home

Tough guy Taylor Jordan gets interviewed by one of the several media teams present

I even made a cameo appearance on the video clip aired by one of the local news stations - check it out, that's me right at the end taking photos!

If you're interested in seeing more photos of the Hawks, check out my Picasa album.

Even after the Hawks were done for the day, lots of other people enjoyed the ice for the rest of the afternoon. I like this artsy shots of someone's hockey skates during another scrimmage

I brought my skates too and took to the ice for a little skate and shoot. One thing I've always wanted to do is skate outside and experience some honest to goodness pond hockey. I never in a hundred years thought I would get to do that in Portland!

It wasn't just hockey, though! The ice rink was flat so this dad had to run for his son to get up to speed on his sled. Looks like they're having fun though!

There were the obligatory signs warning of thin ice, but the ice was easily a foot or more thick, so the warning was no heeded

The pond couldn't be set up better with built-in benches all the way around. These kids were taking a break from skating to say hi to one of the many dogs that enjoy the park daily

Check out the snow kicked up during a hockey stop by a couple of scrimmaging players. The games were still going on as sunset neared.

A silhouetted hockey player

A make-shift dog sled: dog pulls mom, mom pulls child

The clouds have moved in tonight and they're forecasting potential snow and freezing rain this weekend. It will be interesting to see what happens....there's no doubt winter is here in full force!


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Nice hat!



Heather said...

What fun! I'm a horrible ice skater - I would never be able to manage playing hockey!