I will never be an NHL player

I didn’t want to go. I tried to drop out. “Listen, guys,” I said. “I’m ready to admit it. I will never be an NHL player; I will never make it to the Olympics.”

Week three was too hard. Coach Chase, our Programs Manager, refused to let me use a skate aid. I was forced to be on my feet for the whole 50 minutes. My only rests were spent sitting or laying (sometimes rolling) on the ice. But even after explaining why I wanted to quit, Chase refused to let me (just like how he refused to let me have a skate aid the week prior!). So, I laced up my skates, put on my helmet, and made my way over to the Players Bench ready for Week 4 to begin. Mohamed was on the bench; he was very happy to see us.

In fact, in thinking back over the last three weeks, Mohamed has always been happy, positive, and has more determination than I have ever seen in another Canadian Zombie. I asked Mohamed why he was taking skating lessons, thinking that perhaps he was planning on playing in the NHL as well. He explained that, in India, where he was born, there were very few ice rinks, and so he never had an opportunity to learn to skate. He and a friend from work would like to play hockey eventually, and these lessons were the first step (or glide) in that direction.

Mohamed and I (and the rest of our class) went onto the ice with Coach Daniel as our instructor. It was difficult, but I was able to put to good use some of the things I've learned over the last three weeks, and I felt a little more confident when class was over. After class, I told Mohamed that, once we were done all our skating lessons, we could join ASHL 101 together. That program would teach us how to play hockey, and then maybe we could even create a co-ed team. These, of course, are long-term goals -- but perhaps more attainable than my original goals of making the NHL or to the Olympics.

By Kristal Kobold Thursday, February 13, 2020 10:08:55 AM Categories: #AnythingForHockey #Canlancamps #experiences #ice

Adult Learn to Skate  

This is how it starts

I have been to countless arenas, bringing children to skating lessons, hockey practices and games. I even made a career of being in an arena. One thing I hadn’t done, though, was actually get on the ice and skate. I figured skating was something you learned young. Since I missed that window of opportunity, it is definitely too late for me to learn now, right?


But then a friend of mine wanted to take skating lessons and asked me to join with her. I am still foggy on the specifics, but somehow it seems I agreed. Apparently, feeling pretty brave that day, I signed up with her and promptly forgot about it. 


Yesterday morning I received a text from her: “Today is our first skating lesson.”


Oh no. I immediately started to worry; I’m not ready for this! In fact, I had already lent my crutches to a co-worker. What would I do after I broke all my bones on the ice?


I tried not to think about it, or I would chicken out. I just drove to the arena, knowing my 12-year-old’s hockey bag was in the back. When I got to Canlan, I got out his skates and helmet. I tried on the helmet. It was too small. “Phew!” I told myself. “You should just leave now. There is nothing to be done about a helmet which is too small.” But, no, I didn’t take that opportunity to run. Instead I went into the Canlan Sports Shop to see Tomm, and we made adjustments to the helmet. 


I went back to the lobby and lined up to check in at the table. That was pretty painless. I used an iPad to sign a waiver. (I could have completed it online beforehand, but that could have given me more time to chicken out before heading onto the ice!) The attendants gave me a free pass for Canlan Drop-In programs. I laughed: as if I would actually be able to come to Drop-In Programs while in traction! Thanks, guys.


Being in the dressing room and tying skates was a breeze—that I’ve done a million times! Actually using the skates, though? That’d be the challenge. I took it slow—tiny steps, two inches at a time—holding on to anything I could. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it through this. Surely, I would fall, or just give up. “This is how it starts,” I thought. I took lots of breaks, hoping there’d be a chance to sit and rest. “Why did you agree to this?” I asked myself.


At last, the steps started to come a bit more easily; my confidence began to rise! Finally, I made it to the Player's bench!


On the bench, I met my classmates: other adults who’d made similar questionable life choices (like learning to skate at 40 years old). Some were having issues with their shiny new helmets; others didn’t know how to tie their skates correctly. These were things I did know, and I was happy to lend a hand. As I helped them, I started to feel better about my predicament. I wasn’t alone, I thought to myself. I’ll see some familiar faces in the emergency room, at least.


After the Zamboni was done, the instructor came over invited us all out onto the ice. I took my first step onto the ice. Slippery! I couldn’t let go of the boards; I was certain there was no way I was going to be able to stand on my own. Eventually, though, I did decide to let go—just for a split second—and I didn’t fall! This was amazing! I was skating! (Well, I was standing in a funny knees-bent position with my hands hovering an inch above the boards, anyway.) This is how all past Olympians started, I thought. My classmates and instructor all told me I was doing great. Naturally, I decided I could reward myself with a little rest on the bench. And so it went on like this for the first 15-20 minutes of class: I would go out onto the ice, hold on for dear life, then let go for a second, then head back to the bench. Eventually I worked up enough courage to follow some of my classmates down the side of the ice and back, holding onto the boards the whole way. Each time I went back on the ice, I felt a little more confident. My teacher, Coach Erin, got me a skate aid so I could venture out into the middle of the ice. This was a game changer! By the end of class I could skate fast, slow, kind of stop, and sort of turn and spin. I was whipping around the ice! Toronto Maple Leafs, here I come!


I cannot wait for next week! As I was leaving Coach Erin stopped me. I was sure she was going to tell me I was the best student she had ever had, and she was so impressed at how well I did. “Next week you will need to let go of the skate aid,” she said. Oh no, I thought. I will make sure I bring my crutches with me!

By Kristal Kobold Friday, January 17, 2020 9:47:41 AM Categories: #AnythingForHockey #experiences #ice

Canlan Camps - Giving The Gift Of An Experience  

Experience is Everything

There are so many times when you want to do something special for your children but giving material things sometimes gets to be too much. These days, our kids have so many games, so many toys, so much clothing. What else could we possibly give them that wouldn’t just add to the clutter, or be put down and forgotten when the new shine wears off. The answer is experiences. Every experience teaches us new things. Our kids learn and grow through experiences. They gain knowledge, skills and confidence. Most importantly, they get to keep the experience with them. adding to a lifetime of memories.


There is no greater gift you can give a child than an experience. Toys break, clothing goes out of style (or out of size), games lose pieces. Eventually, all will be replaced. Experiences, however, never break, you never outgrow them, they are never replaced; they openly add to a lifetime of memories.


At Canlan Ice Sports, we are very lucky to play a part of our camper’s experiences. We get to see their personalities and confidence grow as their skating abilities and hockey skills develop. We’re proud to provide the place where their experience is everything.



By Kristal Kobold Wednesday, August 21, 2019 5:11:28 AM Categories: #AnythingForHockey #Canlancamps #experiences #ice CanlanCamps experiences Ice

What team will my child play for?  

Tryout Season is around the corner, and everyone is wondering, "what team will my child play for?"

Tryout Season is around the corner, and I’m sure the only question on every hockey parent’s mind is “what team will my child play for?” It seems everyone has in mind a team they want their child to play for. Sometimes the team is led by a coach the parents like (and maybe not for on-ice reasons); others are concerned with which other players will make up the team; for others it may be the location of the home arena, or the promise of development, or the prospect competitiveness with high-level teams, or the prospect of winning a championship. No matter what team parents want, and to what lengths they’ll go through to get their child on that team, there remains one inevitability: next year at this time they will be in this exact same circumstance, fussing about what team their child will play for and worrying about what they’ll have to do to get them on that roster.


Not long ago, my son asked me, frankly: “Mom, what team do you want me to play for?” It’s a valid question, when you think about it. After all, I am the one who gives up pay-cheques, free time, vacations, family dinners, social opportunities with friends so he can play hockey. But then I realized I shouldn’t be thinking about what I do for my child to play hockey. Rather, I should be thinking about why I do these things for my child to play hockey. What is the destination? What do I want my child to get out of this? Once I had reframed the question, the answer came with ease and clarity.

Early one morning shortly afterwards, I woke my son up before school and told him to get his hockey equipment. He was going to go skate with the team I wanted him eventually to play for. We drove in the dark to Canlan Icesports Scarborough, where we put on his equipment and waited to meet his teammates. What team, he wondered. I told him there is only one team I care about you ever playing for, and this team was it.

He went out to the ice to meet Harry and the Elder Skatesmen. This group plays three times weekly, bright and early in the morning at Canlan. Nothing stops them: they play on holidays; they play when there is an ice storm; they even play after knee surgeries and hip replacements! They have been playing and going strong for over 30 years. Their skaters are all between 55 and 78 years young. He went out with these gentlemen and had blast. It’s my sincere hope that my son never stops loving the game, just as these gentlemen never did, and that he never lets anything interfere with his desire to skate. The Elder Skatesmen are the kind of team I hope my son makes one day, many, many years from now. Then I would know it was all worth it: every dime, every minute, everything early morning, every long drive in exchange for a lifelong love of the game.





By Kristal Kobold Friday, February 22, 2019 10:21:26 AM Categories: #AnythingForHockey Be-A-Pro Hockey Ice

How do the ice rinks get painted?  

When people find out I work at hockey rink, one of the most common questions I am asked is "how do they paint the ice?". The process is quite interesting, and I remember the first time it happened outside my office window. I found it difficult to get any work done, since I wanted to watch every step of the process. When they were finished, I asked to have a copy made of the video surveillance, so I could make a short movie to share the next time someone asked me about it. Please enjoy, and let me know in the comments what you think! Feel free to ask anything else that you might be wondering about. I would be happy to answer your questions!



By Kristal Kobold Friday, December 14, 2018 7:14:35 AM Categories: #AnythingForHockey ASHL Be-A-Pro Hockey Ice Molson Canadian

Eat like a pro. Train like a pro. Be a pro.  

For over 60 ASHL players from across the Greater Toronto Area, the dream of being a pro came true with the help of Molson Canadian.

Last fall, the Air Canada Centre was the backdrop for a day of hockey these players won't soon forget. From a VIP entrance to the building to those first steps on the big ice, this was definitely a day for the memory bank. But don't let us tell you, check out the video below and be the judge for yourself (there's actually photos, too).

By Canlan Sports Staff Monday, June 13, 2016 1:45:16 PM Categories: #AnythingForHockey ASHL Be-A-Pro Hockey Molson Canadian