When I woke up yesterday it was one of those last day of my trip blah days . We decided to walk to the Carefour shop to hopefully find this elusive deodorant that Kathleen loves . The walk there took forever and it started to piss rain on the way there so we hopped into a cafe and had a cappuccino and wait for the rain to stop , as soon as we finished our drinks it stopped ... Perfect timing :) unfortunately we walked all that way and didn't find what we were looking for but all was not lost as we did all of our shopping there ... Bought some Orujo (alcohol) , some local coffee and honey and some olive oil which looks really good ... Compared to the crap we get at home this stuff is gold ! After shopping we took a taxi back :p
We arrived back at Casa Pilkington's just in time to meet Don Rickardo :) Kathleen went for a dip in the pool and I had a nice siesta ... Oh how I love naps !!! This lifestyle is my kinda life ... Work half day go home take a nap then go back to work ? Would that work in the film biz ? Doubt it but you never know eh LOL ! After my siesta I got dressed and walked over to Club Municipal de Hielo to meet Rickard Astrom to talk some hockey :)
Rickard is from Skelleftea,Sweden and is a phys. ed teacher in Fuengirola but most of all he is the president of the Costa del Sol ice hockey league here in Benalmadena,Spain . As soon as we met I asked him to show me the rink which is a smaller 3 on 3 sized rink with proper boards and round corners unlike Gibraltars square ones :( there is no ice at this time and there won't be ice until October . Not really sure if the rink is privately owned or government funded or both ... Didn't get a clear answer about that but who cares they have an ice rink . And as Rickard told me , when he found this rink it made his decision easy to stay instead of moving back to Sweden :) that's a good thing as it sounds like he does a lot for the hockey community there . Rickard refs games and even works the zamboni , yeah they have a real zamboni ... Awesome ! Apparently there is never a shortage of expats coming through to play and the cost to play in the league is really cheap ... Something like €10 per game where we pay about $25 per game in Toronto ! The main goal is to get more of the locals involved and Rickard says every season is like a new adventure there and the people that sign up are really committed to their teams which are chosen lately based on where players live .
This league will more then likely expand into a regional league as there are rinks in Granada and Fuengirola and it sounds like they might have another one opening in Marbella in the future . Ice hockey is not the dominant sport here but surely it is growing and who knows maybe someday they might have a full sized rink in Benalmadena too ! So apparently Rickard played for the Granada team at the Barcelona tournament last year and it's too bad I never had the chance to meet him then as we did play them , and yes I mentioned that we beat them ... Sorry Rickard , where are my manners LOL?!?!? While we were at the rink I busted out my GoPro and conducted a small interview in front of the zamboni and we talked about the rink which does need some upgrading , some glass on the boards would be good and the roof insulated a bit better would surely help and cut costs for the rink . They have home made nets which someone donated to the rink/league and it really feels from my point of view that there is a great sense of pride to be part of this project coming from Rickard which is really good . Sometimes people I meet have this negativity about them and Rickard was the exact opposite .
After conducting the interview we went for a quick beverage and parted ways . It was a pleasure meeting you Rickard and I wish you and the league the best and I hope the next season is as successful as the others :) it would be my pleasure to come back some day and play hockey with you guys .
Went back to Casa Pilkington's and got ready for my last night out with the highlight being a curry at Noor Mahal which was fantastic :) food was great and the service was fantastico ! Alas we have to fly early so couldn't get too mental ... Went to bed at midnight so I could wake up at 5 am to fly home ... Here I am now in an airport wasting time until my next flight ... If any of you reading this want to visit the rink or jump on the ice in Benalmadena let me know and I can gladly put anyone in contact with Rickard as they are always welcoming skaters to join them . Adios muchachos !