Hockey brings together small town

Logan Boyle, Zama City, Alta.

I’m writing from a small oil-field town in Northern Alberta named Zama City, which has around 75 permanent residents. My closest company is my wife Sabrina and my co-workers;  the rest are, what I guess you could call, transient workers.

I love hockey, I’ve always loved hockey, and I’ve found a few friends here that love it, too. We have an outdoor rink in town. The boards are not in the best of shape and it’s one helluva job to clear the ice of snow, but it’s completely worth it to see everyone having such a great time out there.

Since no one had opted to take over the responsibilities of rink maintenance this year, my wife Sabrina and I took it over. We also put together a small league; more of a shinny league, really.

We have two team sweaters (two companies in town donated the cash for us to get them and they are pretty sweet) and every Tuesday and Thursday we play.

Sometimes, because of people working late (mainly because it’s an oil-patch work town), not as many people show as other nights. But someone always does. We’ve played in temperatures from 0 to -35 Celsius. We’ve played with three people, five people, even 15 people. Everyone always has a great time and it’s amazing.

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You can take people who have never met in their life and you put them on a team and they instantly become best friends. They cheer for each other, they high-five and they work together. We have all these people, working away from their families and homes and they are having the time of their lives; grown adults laughing and cheering like kids.

This game is amazing; it can change outlooks and attitudes. Out there on that rink, on that ice, everything is perfect. Nothing matters, just making that play, scoring that goal, making that save.

I just wanted to share what this sport has done for so many people in this area – everything from a sense of belonging to the exercise. And I can vouch for this. There is nothing in this world like the feeling of putting on a team sweater with a number and going out to play.

Even if it is just on an outdoor rink in a small oil town.