Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Country #39 - Australia ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ

I can finally say I have joined the 6 continent club with my buddy Andi Tanzer and a few other people that have played ice hockey on every continent possible , yes I know someone is trying to organize something in Antarctica but if you do your research first of all you will find out it’s not even on the continent and secondly you will realize that it’s a scam but those are just my thoughts as I’ve done my research and I am fully aware that I would have to go live there for 6 months to even try to complete that feat as nobody would be able to get you there when it’s safe and cold enough to play ice hockey there in the winter . So if you bought a jersey for the event that’s been planned for something like 3 years now then you’ve probably been scammed ☹️I’m gonna start selling wooden ice cubes to anyone with those jerseys lol ! Now along with completing this feat I am pretty positive when I say I’m pretty darn sure that I’m the first goalie to play ice hockey on 6 different continents , if anyone knows someone whose done it before me then don’t be shy and let me know ? The whole point of doing this wasn’t to be the first or this or that ... I just wanna see the world and play the best game I can play while doing it ! I love hockey ❤️

Yesterday started off with us deciding to go eat McDonalds ๐Ÿคฎ yeah just had to and I tried the Mega McMuffin and it was gross , the sausage patty was obviously different then the juicy greasy ones from back home and the English muffin was dry . It definitely goes on my list as a don’t do this again thing in Australia but I will probably brave the idea when I’m in New Zealand lol ๐Ÿ˜ if you’re wondering what kind of idiot I am just remember I get hit in the head a lot by pucks hahaha ! After had that less then lovely experience we started to get ready to make our trek over to the harbour bridge to do the Bridge Climb which we paid a pretty penny to do and this was suggested to us from my buddy back home who happens to be a proud Aussie named Helen Carrol . Before I go on I gotta thank her for suggesting such a great thing to do ๐Ÿ‘‹ . When our scheduled walk came up we had to take a breathalyzer test to make sure we weren’t wasted and then we were given these jump suits and we had to remove basically everything we had on our persons and put it all into a locker ... even Fitbits and watches ! They then put us through metal detectors to make sure we aren’t bringing anything in with us and I can only assume this is an insurance for them and the city knowing we won’t be throwing anything off the bridge onto the vehicles beneath thus causing a ruckus so it’s totally understandable ... safety is very key with this company and trust me if you ever want to do this you won’t have any issues as the people working the tour are very responsible for their clients . Our guide was named Alfie and he was fantastic at telling a good story . The whole tour was 2.5 hours and it was a lot of climbing stairs and walking and honestly wasn’t as scary as it sounds . We walked across the top of the bridge all tethered to safety lines that we couldn’t pull off and the walkway was a decent width and all in all we had a fantastic experience . 

We were all done by around 2 pm and then we went off to find some food to eat and in the true tradition of hockey , I needed a carb load even though my life is a carb load lol ! I’ve always had issues with eating red meat and I didn’t want anything greasy so it was my ideal to go for some pasta but where ? We left the Bridge Climb and I googled Italian restaurants and saw a whole bunch of places to go to but nothing jumped out at me and we walked a bit until we got to George St. & Bridge St. where we stopped and Kathleen said “why don’t you google pasta” and out jumped this location around the corner called Fratelli Fresh so we went over and it was in a basement and we decided to give it a go . When we were seated we found out that pasta was on special today for $20 a plate and then found out at 3 pm it was happy hour so we ordered our meals , I had a spaghetti bolognese and Kathleen had a linguine with olive oil and lemon and they were both fantastic and the pasta was very fresh and perfectly cooked ! We definitely want to go back and eat there again , one of the best meals we have had on this trip so far . When 3 pm rolled by Kathleen had a red wine for $5 and I stayed off the booze since I have hockey in the next few hours and want to be as sharp as I can possibly be , she loved the wine and to this moment as I’m writing this she is talking about going back for happy hour as they have pizza for $5 and a whole slew of good drinks for the same price so don’t be surprised if you see me writing about this place again . I highly suggest it .... but now I gotta get back to my room without windows that open to get my hockey bag ready for my scrimmage with locals at Penrith Arena . 

At 5 pm my buddy Justin Harrison showed up at the corner of Pitt St and Rawson to take me to hockey to play in his place ! He wasn’t playing but brought his gear in case the other goalie no showed but I’m pretty sure he didn’t want to risk playing as he’s battling an injury . The rink is about an hour drive away from my hostel and the thought of someone being kind enough to come pick me up to take me so far to play hockey and watch instead of playing is just amazing . These are the kind of people I crave to meet on my trips , the ones that go the extra mile to show me and introduce me to the hockey community .... Justin you’re a beaut ! We had such a great conversation on the way to the rink and it felt as though we have known each other for years and were just catching up with each other . I’m truly lucky to say I’ve met you ! When we got to the rink I got some pics outside and gave Justin a copy of the Hockey News that has an article about me (as you should all know and have read already ) the rink is in an industrial area and is supposed to be Olympic sized but doesn’t look as if it is maybe it is the lines on the ice as the neutral zone seems bigger and the blue line is much closer then it probably should be ? When I got into the room it was this big open area and didn’t look like your conventional dressing room ... it had a toilet and benches but no hooks to hang things and of course I claimed a big bench as my own and started to get into my routine to get ready for my ice time .... filled my water bottle and shot the shit with guys as they were coming in . Most of the guys were confused to see me getting dressed and Justin standing around as he booked a spot for himself so the guys thought there were 3 goalies and I was the odd man out or something . This was an organized scrimmage with a mix group of players , some of the young guns play for the Sydney Bears and then there were a couple gals that were more on the beginner side all blended in with some older dudes that just love the camaraderie of the game and the group blended well for a fun game . 

I was told the ice is really soft and it was and when I jumped on a skated around until finding my way in my crease at one end of the rink and I started off playing for the team in coloured jerseys and immediately saw some rough patches at the top of my crease which I did my best to shave ice to repair but the ice is just as soft as everyone said and that means there is no ice shavings .... just slush . It is what it is and I’m just happy to be a part of it all , soon after I realize that the heat on the ice will take effect on me also and I begin to hydrate myself as I don’t want to collapse like I did in Brazil ! It wasn’t as hot as the rink is bigger with more air then the rink in Rio ... don’t want that to happen again . Right off the bat the other team came at us and I made a bunch of saves and we went down the ice and scored and half way into the ice time I think we were winning 6-3 when we switched ends and then I had the young guns shooting at me .... boy oh boy did I frustrate those kids lol ๐Ÿ˜ they tried some trick shots and shots from the slot and dekes and I pretty much stopped them all as our side went on to pump the other team in that half of the ice time ... I could be wrong but I think we outscored them like 7-3 and then I had one of the fellas ask me to stay on the ice for some breakaways which I gladly took and stopped him ๐Ÿคช

After the scrimmage I needed to take a shower which is way down at the end of the rink ... thankfully the water is warm and there are two stalls . I went back to the room where the guys from the next ice time were in already getting ready so you know that the rooms are not just for certain teams playing at certain ice times like I’m used to back home ... I got the young lad to give me some of my space back so I could get dressed and the guys invited me for a beer off the property . Apparently they used to drink beer in the room but the rink owner didn’t like it so they moved to the parking lot and the owner didn’t like that either so now they drink just outside the parking lot lol ! One of the guys buys beers and sells them to the guys for $2.50 each so I grabbed 2 and then found out they play this game where they throw their empties into an empty field over a fence and if you hit another bottle and the bottles break you get a free beer .... I tossed my first empty and hit another one to everyone’s amazement ! I looked at the guys and asked if that gets me a freebie and they said of course it does and then told me that they had never seen someone come over toss the first beer bottle and break it .... sometimes those horseshoes come in handy off the ice too hahaha ! We hung around for almost an hour talking about the rink owner and the bullshit he puts them through even though they have done all they could to help keep it going and in fact make it better . These guys really love hockey and really want the rink to last and thrive but it’s hard when you have a greedy heartless rink owner ... now I don’t know the rink owner so I shouldn’t say much but he doesn’t sound like someone I really want to meet or know ☹️ I think the boys mentioned they have been organizing this ice time for 18 years so I’m sure they will be doing this for a long time . When I asked for the groups name they just said to call it a scrimmage and I wish I got the guys names as I would love to stay in touch with them and see how things progress for them here . When I said bye to the guys I turned around and said Go Leafs and they kinda booed me hahaha! Justin gave me a ride back into the city and again we had a really good talk that we really didn’t want to end and I gave him a big hug when I left . Can’t wait to stand at the other end of the ice from him on Friday and then to see him in Adelaide will be a treat also as he is playing in the same tournament . 

When I got to my room Kathleen was sleeping and I was buzzing from getting to play hockey and having a few wobbly pops in me and I tried to wake her but to no avail so instead I decided to crash .... I know I have a few new bruises to gladly add to my collection on my body and they were well earned .... yes I am a goalie and these are our trophies ๐Ÿ† 

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on playing hockey on six different Continents! I've been following various travel blogs through the years, but yours is the first that I came across (via the Voyageurs Facebook page) where someone actually travels around the world playing hockey in as many different countries as possible.