Hockey Withdrawal: It’s Real and It Bites

I live in a hockey-crazy corner of New England. Within a 50-minute drive of my house there are 6 ice rinks, not to mention the many frozen ponds that grace the Upper Valley.

For seven months a year, I play an average of 10 hours of hockey per week, with the opportunity to play many more. It’s my idea of Hockey Heaven.

But, somehow, bewilderingly, there are NO year-round rinks here in the Upper Valley. My rinkrat paradise is seasonal. Come April each year, I begin to dread the day they turn off the compressors and let the ice melt.

Once the compressors are turned off, the ice melts quickly...

Once the compressors are turned off, the ice melts quickly…


Just as the rest of New England is rejoicing at the return of warmer weather, I am suddenly cut off from my favorite activity. Just like that. Cold turkey.

It’s worst in the first week. I am restless, listless. I am antsy, unable to focus and vaguely irritable. I am deep in the throes of hockey withdrawal.

Within my hockey circles, no one doubts that hockey withdrawal is real. We all search for some combination of “off-season” activities that never quite seem to fill the place of hockey.

Campion Rink "Closed for the Season" sign is a sad sight...

Campion Rink “Closed for the Season” sign is a sad, sad sight…

It’s not just missing the game itself, which is, arguably, the most fun game ever.

There’s the resulting decrease in feel-good endorphins, since it’s hard to maintain 10 hours of activity per week if it feels more like work and less like play.

There’s the disruption of my routine, leaving huge holes that I don’t have energy to fill.

Playing hockey 10 hours/week means I can sneak in some extra chocolate in season.

Playing hockey 10 hours/week means I can sneak in some extra chocolate in season.

There’s the disheartening need to change my diet to reflect reduced caloric needs, or else risk gaining 10-20 pounds, easy. I like food. Playing lots of hockey requires me to eat lots of food. It’s hard to dial back my eating habits.

Most of all, though, there’s the loss of community. Hockey is a team sport. You need hockey buddies to pass the puck & make plays with. You need hockey buddies to score against.

Team Red of Campion Rink's 2013 April Showers mini-tournament.

Team Red of Campion Rink’s 2013 April Showers mini-tournament.

It’s a social game, with unique communication happening often wordlessly on the ice.
Plus, plenty of antics and banter from the bench.

Coach Pollard perfects his photobomb technique at the rink!

Coach Pollard perfects his photobomb technique at the rink!

Thankfully, I’ve got one last hockey hurrah this weekend: a women’s tournament with my Growlers team up in Burlington, VT.

One last, sweet taste of hockey before the long drought of Summer. And I intend to savor every last drop of it.

What about you? How do YOU handle hockey withdrawal??

City Hat, Country Hat: Priscilla’s Embroidered Felt Hat in NYC

I got the following note & photo from Priscilla, a fellow Campion rinkrat (though she’s a figure skater, not a crazy hockey player like me):

"I visited my daughter in NYC over the holidays, and here I am in Times Square, feeling very stylish and snug in your wonderful hat (-: " - Priscilla

“I visited my daughter in NYC over the holidays. Here I am in Times Square, feeling very stylish and snug.”

“With yet another snowstorm on the way, I’m so grateful to have your wonderful hat to keep me warm. I love the vine embroidery, which fits in everywhere from Times Square to the back roads of New Hampshire.

Freehand Leaf & Vine embroidery adorns Priscilla's new felt hat.

Freehand Leaf & Vine embroidery adorns Priscilla’s new felt hat.

It’s just a beautiful work of art, and hands down the best present I ever gave myself!

Hope you’re enjoying the snow! (-:

~Priscilla”

Thank you, Priscilla! I’m such a Country Mouse myself, its especially fun to see someone rocking one of my felt hats in an urban environment.

(Makes me wonder, though, just how many of my hats live in the city after all…?)

A Warm Felt Hat for a Cold, Snowy Winter

Do you remember my LNHC colleague, glass artist, Wendy Besett?

She recently posted this lovely photo to my Heirloom Handknit Hats Facebook page with the following note:

Vermont glass artist, Wendy Besett, caught wearing her favorite winter hat, a Carrie Cahill Mulligan original hand-knitted felt, with freehand spiral embroidery/

Vermont glass artist, Wendy Besett, caught wearing her favorite winter hat.

“More than a foot of white, powdery love today. Snowy and blowy, but my head didn’t mind it a bit! Thanks Carrie!”

Thank you, Wendy. You sure wear it well!

Anyone else out there braving the Winter of Endless Snow comfortably in a CCM knitted felt hat? I’d love to hear from you…