Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Country #31 ... Scotland

What a great day I had yesterday ! Love it when I get the chance to earn another flag on my stick bag and I owe it all to a few people for helping me . If it weren't for Daz introducing me to Robin Elliot then I doubt I would have got here , but first I had to make my way up here :) 

I woke up yesterday on Dazza's couch in Sheffield , well just outside of Sheffield :) and he had to get ready for his trip to Tachov, Czech Rep. we went for breakfast at my favourite breakfast joint ... The Tinsley Trans Cafe ! Love the food and I especially love the atmosphere , hockey decorates this old greasy spoon ! I've been here before and surprisingly the owner remembered me LOL . When we walked in he said hello to Daz then looked at me and said I remember you ! You're The Travelling Goalie ;) yeah it put a big smile on my face . Perfect start to my day . After cleaning my plate off I had to say bye to Daz :( always sucks saying bye to good friends but I know I will see him and most of the rest of the Sheffield gang in New York for Halloween . Daz dropped me at the bus terminal and I waited for my coach to Glasgow . Thanks for everything Daz , sorry I stole your towel accidentally . Lol ! 

The bus ride was not so bad , same shit as usual when you get on the bus there are people sitting in aisle seats with no one at window or people with their luggage on the aisle seat ... I considered asking one of them to shove over just to burst their bubble in their pursuit to sit alone but instead I saw a smaller guy to sit near and opted for the space over teaching someone a lesson :) the bus made stops all the way up here and made a pit stop for us a few hours into the trek . We were not allowed to bring hot food on the bus so I had a ham sandwich which was alright . While getting back on bus a big early I was asked by some people about my hockey bag and the silence was gone ;) most of the people on the bus started asking about my travels etc... It was fun ! And it definitely made time fly a bit faster . 

When we arrived I tried to get an Uber but I don't think there is that service here so I opted for a dreaded taxi ! It wasn't bad paying £7 but knowing it would be half price with uber always kills me . Hate paying more for the same type of service , at least the driver was nice enough . Got to my new home for the next few days ... The Hilton Garden Inn which is right on the river is a nice hotel but I didn't have much time before Robin came to pick me up as I had a skate with a club called the Mariners . 

Robin is a goalie and an SNL ref ... Scottish National League if you were wondering ! He picked me up and right away I could feel that we would get along :) I forgot my beers in my room and told him , he said he couldn't drink a beer anyways as there is Zero Tolerance here for all drivers !!! Yeah interesting eh ? Robin works at the courts here and the last thing he needs is to be arrested :( so being the smart guy he is , he doesn't break those rules ! Which leaves me in a conundrum ... How do I go for a few pints with him ? We haven't figured that out yet but it's in the works ;) 

Super sniper Iain Forsyth put a few past me on the night :) 

When we arrived at Auchenharvie Leisure Center we walked in and met the team manager who also works the pro shop there and right now I really wish I knew his name cause he was a great guy ! I'm sure I will get everyone's names as they add me on Facebook over the next few days lol ! So The Mariners have an A and a B team and they skate together to maximize ice time . When I walked in the dressing room it was rammed and I made my way through the maze of bags . I was surprised to see guys in the room half an hour before the skate as back home my team mates show up at the last second ... I guess the guys here dong take advantage of things like my skaters so back home ! When I settled in I said hi and the guys asked me which city I'm from in Canada ? Toronto ! And most of the guys chimed in as they went there to play before and love it ! Obviously I couldn't understand half the stuff they were saying with their thick Scottish accents LOL . It was nice to be accepted like that regardless . We got on ice and the teams were split with the A team at one end doing drills and the B squad at the other end . I faced a lot of rubber but felt good about my play even though I was kinda wiped out from the travel and my gear was still soaked from last night . There was a drill that frustrated me a bit but I shook it off and then they made me do skating drills :( ouch ! Did I mention the sit-ups and push ups ? Yeah they worked me but to be fair I need it :) 

Both teams have games coming up this weekend so they kept their squads separate for a scrimmage which ended up being almost an hour . I skated with the A team so I started scrimmage with them . We won 5-0 and I switched ends and played for the B squad who were more beginners but they weren't bad . I made some nice saves for them but couldn't get the W as we lost 2-4 which was respectable and I was happy to direct traffic out front during the game , these guys and the one girl listened which always helps ;) the club thanked me when going off the ice and I felt as though I made a few new friends which is always amazing . It's one of the benefits of playing sports ! 

The guy across me in the dressing room was from Brampton and there was another guy that popped a nice goal on me that I got along with well . Too bad the guy beside me had a pulled groin , I could feel his pain . The guys skate hard but are respectful towards each other just as they should . The one glaring thing missing ... No beer in the room :( yeah nobody wants to get arrested for having a beer then driving home plus the rink doesn't allow it ... Not like that ever stops us back home eh :p when we were heading to the car the team managed presented me with a couple team mini jerseys to hang in my trophy room /garage . I want to thank you and the rest of your Matiners squad(s) ! You guys have a great organization , keep up the great work and good luck in your coming season . 

So as I said before , Robin works at the courts and when I say courts I mean the court with a judge and prisoners etc... We passed by and dropped my equipment off there ???? Yeah my gear is drying in a small room just outside a court where murderes and rapists are being convicted ! This obviously is a first . How many of you have dried your gear in a court ? Hahaha! 

I should get off my ass and go out to do some sightseeing now . I'm back on the ice tonight with another club :) 

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