Hockey's big here. When the adults' league plays their games, the stands are packed full of spectators. They pay to watch, too. You wouldn't normally think to buy tickets to watch your boyfriend or brother play hockey, but here, this is the big game in town. Everyone comes out, buys a ticket, participates in the raffle draw, and take advantage of the canteen. It kind of has the feel of college football in small American towns.
If only it was preceded by the tailgating tradition as well...but I suppose one might get a little chilly, hanging out with your snowmobile in the parking lot outside the rink in -50 degree weather, trying to get your barbecue going. I suppose this is why tailgating isn't that much of a tradition in Canada, at least during Canadian winters.
not used to seeing crowds like this in CamBay
I feel like the hockey arena is the nicest building in the whole community. It's only open in the winter time. In the summer time, the floor is all gravel. But during the hockey season, the rink is kept in immaculate shape for the town's favourite sport.
There are three times in the league, and they take turns playing against each other. I am completely unfamiliar with the names of any of them. I tend to distinguish them by the colour of their jerseys.
"Go Whites!" I'll say. "Get those Blacks!"
And then I'll feel a little racist.
The hockey games are popular here. People will bring their entire families to watch their favourite sport. They'll call out to cheer and/or heckle their favourite players on the bench. Small rosy-cheeked children wrapped in fur parkas run around the bleachers, chasing each other with small hockey sticks, dreaming of the day they'll be old enough and good enough to play out on the big people's ice.
It gets cold in the bleachers. The arena isn't heated, and while the building keeps the wind out, it's important to remember that Cambridge Bay is -35 degrees outside even without the windchill. We keep our snowpants and mitts on, and we bring thermoses of hot chocolate to keep us warm.