Photo courtesy of the Salmon Arm Observer
Mostly gone are the days when playing hockey meant strapping on the used skates, grabbing a wooden stick and heading down to the frozen pond or lake to play with friends. Today, hockey is almost always played in arenas and is highly organized, expensive and yet every bit as engaging, exciting and character building. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of a legion of volunteers that work with the Minor Hockey associations and generous local sponsors, hundreds of young people spend many hours on the ice practicing, playing games and participating in tournaments from September to April every season.
Lined up for a team photograph when hockey was a game, not a callous business, in Salmon Arm’s original arena. Circa 1914. From “Fleeting Images,” Courtesy of Douglas Ruth and the Salmon Arm Museum at R.J. Haney Heritage Village
Just as Canada could be deemed a hockey nation, so too is the sport so very popular here in the Shuswap. Throughout the season, many hundreds of players of all ages are on the ice in one of the region’s five arenas in Chase, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Enderby and Lumby. The sport also has a rich local history complete with community teams, arenas and outdoor rinks, tournaments and championship awards that date back to the early days of settlement.