A couple of kids with a “healthy enthusiasm” for hockey are wowed by the Sens experience

Wee G at a recent Ottawa Senators game

Vicky Smallman is a blogger, mom and “shameless communtiy activist.” You can find her on Twitter @offhandremarks.

Right before the holidays I was the lucky winner of a great giveaway at Local Tourist Ottawa: four tickets to see the Sens play the Florida Panthers.   I said that I wanted to bring my five-year-old son, who is known as Wee G over on my blog.  This is a kid with a… let’s call it a…. healthy enthusiasm for the game, ever since he was about 14 months old.

It was around Christmastime and we were over at my cousin’s place for a family gathering.  They had set up a great rink in their front yard for shinny, there was a rousing game of ministicks happening in the basement and the World Juniors were on TV.

OK, I guess my family kind of likes hockey.

Anyway, something clicked for G that day.  He watched the front yard shinny in awe.  He threw his little toddler self into the basement play.  And he stunned my uncles by walking into the den, pointing at the TV and yelling “Hockey!”  It was pretty much love at first sight.   For the next couple of years his favourite game was playing hockey in the kitchen, where he could see his reflection in the oven glass and practice his goalie moves.  He learned to skate only when we agreed to put a stick in his hands – it really seemed to help.   Like I said, a healthy enthusiasm.

G is an active kid with an active imagination.  So for him playing hockey means acting out what he sees on TV – right down to the details of swaying back and forth during the national anthem.

G and I have never been to a Sens game together so I was thrilled at the chance to take him.  Since our youngest is a bit too young for an evening game, I invited one of G’s buddies, four-year-old P, and his mom to join us.  It was going to be their first NHL game too.

Chris Neil #25 of the Ottawa Senators stickhandles the puck against Keaton Ellerby #4 of the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Place on December 22, 2011. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

I have to say it was pretty interesting to see the game through the eyes of two kindergarteners.  I’m not sure how much they got out of the actual game (it was a good one – lots of goals, lots of suspense).  They were pretty mesmerized by the whole experience: music, crowd, food….  We got there right as the lights lowered and the players came out on to the ice.  The kids were fascinated by the light show, and in particular the opening slide show of historical images.  Said P: “It’s like a pop up book for the ice”.

It’s hard to keep G still in his seat, especially when so much is going on.  He became obsessed  with 1) getting flags to wave and 2) wanting to dance on the stairs like the guy he saw on the Jumbotron.  I gave in on the flags but put my foot down on the dancing.  Had to bribe him with Timbits to avoid a meltdown (he had already inhaled the popcorn we got at the beginning of the night).  By that time it was getting pretty late for an overstimulated five-year-old.

He did settle down and let me describe some of the play to  him at the crucial time, though – overtime, right before the Sens scored to win the game.

We drove home with the kids giddily chatting away in the back of the car.  A good night, I’d say!

Thanks Vicky, we’re glad you all enjoyed the game! And thanks to the Ottawa Senators for providing the tickets for this giveaway.