CBC Digital Archives

That hockey bag smell

In a vast and often frozen land, they are rituals that bind. Dark drives to a chilly hockey arena. Blades biting outdoor ice. Kids in heroes' sweaters, mouthing their own play-by-plays. CBC drives to the net with an unabashedly affectionate look back at the grassroots of our national game — the true spirit of hockey.

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You unzip your bag, the smell of wet gear rises up and your teammates drop like flies. A hint? The eye-watering stench of years-old sweat is part of hockey, we hear in this CBC Radio clip. An Edmonton mom who borrowed her husband's gear to play in a mother-son tournament was disgusted. "It was so gross," she says of equipment that hadn't seen soap in 23 years. Help is on the way, however, in the form of a specially built washing machine. 
• In early 2004, a Sarnia, Ont., Grade 9 student won a science fair with his project, What's Growing in Your Hockey Bag. Michael Slotwinski collected material from his hockey gear and put it in a petri dish to show how bacteria will grow in a closed, moist environment like a hockey bag. A more detailed analysis by a University of Calgary lab found several types of germs on used gear.

• A company called Esporta Wash Systems Inc., based in Kelowna, B.C., and franchised in several cities, has had success selling washing machines for hockey equipment.
• A Grade 6 student in Edmonton, Larry J. Filipow, won a prize for hockey haiku poetry in 2004 with: "Stale sweat and cat pee/ Smells from teammate's hockey bag/ Marks our boundaries."
Medium: Radio
Program: The Inside Track
Broadcast Date: Dec. 21, 2003
Host: Robin Brown
Reporter: Rod Kurtz
Duration: 5:34

Last updated: March 16, 2012

Page consulted on December 24, 2014

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