I had the absolute thrill of spending the weekend with “Mr. Goalie” Glenn Hall. I had met him once before, but never had the opportunity to spend so much quality time with him. He thoroughly enjoyed his time at home in Humboldt where he spent his youth. He was well known and was definitely a local hero. He signed multiple autographs and despite never wanting to be in the limelight he spoke to the kids with such elegance. He was as real a person as I have ever met – a true gem!
There was another person who was also a hero in this town, Elgar Petersen. He has shown his love of hockey so much over the last 45 plus years that they named the local arena after him in 2000 to commemorate everything he has done for the game. He is a soft spoken gentleman who spends his life at the rink helping where he is needed without asking for anything in return. He smiled from ear to ear when he saw his picture on television, but the recognition isn’t what drives his kind-hearted nature. Much like Hall, his nature is extremely humble – no coincidence that they are both Humboldt men.
The National Jr. A Champions, the Humboldt Broncos are the team to watch on any given night. They are led by their three-time Coach of the Year Award winner Dean Brockman. Every player and staff member recognizes their responsibilities to the community. Even though their schedule is still in full swing they took the time to be with the kids during the weekend’s celebrations and it was obvious that every young child wanted to one day play on that team and be part of that great tradition.
This weekend in Humboldt was definitely a team effort. The committee members were generous with their time and made sure that all of us at Kraft and CBC were well taken care of. The pancake breakfast put on by the Kinettes was fantastic and over 200 people of all ages showed up to join in the celebrations.
My absolute favorite thing this past weekend was to skate on the outdoor rink. I am not going to lie, it was cold, but it was so much fun. I hadn’t done that in quite some time, but it brought me back to my youth when my cousins and I used to play on the pond. It is an event that is lost in some of the big cities of today. However, it is where kids learn how to ‘really’ play hockey and it is no coincidence that so many Saskatchewan hockey players move on to the next level.
It is because they play for hours on the outdoor rink with no structure and no practice plans, but just the freedom to learn the game simply by playing it in an environment that stresses fun as the most important part of the game.
Best of luck to Humboldt, Saskatchewan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009. Thanks for allowing us to visit.
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