The Humber Hawks men’s and women’s hockey teams headed outside in frigid evening wind yesterday for some old-fashioned hockey as they held their inaugural outdoor game.
Families and Hawks fans braved the cold as they witnessed Dave Eccleston’s idea finally become a reality.
Eccleston, head coach of the men’s team, said it had been a long time coming.
“We tried to get this going for three years so it’s awesome to finally be here and have everybody out and I think all the athletes are super pumped to do it.
“We started with some outdoor practices, and those went well and the kids were super into it. And now, I was just like, can we make it work? And can we get teams there? And do we have the right facility to make it work?”
As the Sunnydale Park rink, just a nine-minute drive from Humber’s north campus, lights illuminated the surface as the teams made their way on the freshly flooded ice for the first time; many were taken back to when they first fell in love with the game.
Humber goalie Rachel Zmigrodzki said playing outdoors brings her back to when she was younger and it’s something she will never forget.
“All the family skates; Mom and Dad tying the skates for the first time, playing with friends; you can’t beat it. Also the runny noses, and rosy cheeks.
“There is nothing like being outside and playing with the girls you love.”
The goalie tandem of Zmigrodzki and Elyse Seravalle teamed up for a clean 5-0 shutout against Durham College/Ontario Tech (DCOT).
Seravalle came in cold and faced a penalty shot but still managed to shut the door against a strong team. It was her passion for the game and those late nights on the outdoor rink with her dad when she was just 10 years old.
“We didn’t have much practice time in [the] house league, but I remember going out there with my dad, and that’s how my goalie career started, he would take me to the ice, and then shoot pucks at me,” she said.
Her dad, Flavio Seravelle, stood at the glass with a camera in hand proudly and nervously as he watched his daughter take the ice.
She’s really earned it; she’s come a long way. It was a big change from when she first started out,” he said.
“It’s watching her grow up and experience different levels of hockey, that really makes me proud.”
The men’s team followed the exciting first game with a huge 8-2 victory over McMaster.
Dave Eccleston thought it was a success, looks forward to the future, and hopes to see more people come out to watch. He knows that Humber is a diverse community and acknowledges that maybe a lot of people might not be into hockey or they don’t understand it yet but it would be good for them to experience it.
“It’s such a cool environment. And really, this is Canada, right? This is what we do.”