A Skate Is A Skate
By: Warren Kirwan, Sudbury, Ontario

I was lining a game in the Northern Ontario Junior A Hockey League during the 2002-2003 season. It was a normal game and everything was going along well until I got hit in the skate blade with a clearing shot at the blue line. Something felt funny as I took the next few strides. When I stopped and looked down, I noticed that my skate blade had been broken in half by the shot. Now what? We carry a lot of things in our referee bag, but a spare set of skates is not one of those things you usually take with you.

As it so happened, one of the timekeepers had just finished doing a game before us and offered to let me use his skates. I am over six feet tall and have an extra wide foot, so suffice it to say that there was great apprehension on my part as I hobbled over to the referee dressing room to retrieve the skates.

Yes the skates fit, but I am sure the skates were older than I was. And, thankfully, the person pointed out that there wasn't much blade left. I looked and realized that unless I was standing perfectly straight, I was going to be touching plastic to the ice. Not a good situation in a Junior A game, but what could I do.

I finished the period with the borrowed skates, but it was extremely difficult to turn on plastic.

At the next intermission I decided that it was better to have one good skate, so I went back on the ice for the third period wearing two very distinctly different pairs of skates. This wasn't a game that will go down in my records as one of those in which I displayed impeccable form and appearance, but it will certainly be one that I will recall whenever someone asks me if there are any special games that I remember.

After all, a skate is a skate.



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