WTS – What The Surrey #20: Pond Hockey

Comments 11 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Update: December 17th, 2008 – In honor of the deep-freeze in Vancouver right now I’ve promoted this post from January 15, 2008 to the front page of the site.

I think I’m pretty lucky to have grown up on the West Coast during a time when rivers and streams would actually freeze over in the winter. My dad would pile us kids into our little red van and we’d head out to a pond, river, or flooded field in Surrey for an afternoon of ice skating. I never had my own skates but my dad had about 4 pairs from when he was little and it just so happened that they fit my brother, sister, and I in perfect increments. We’d lace up the old brown leather skates and step out through snow-flattened blackberry thickets while peeking down at the pitch-black abyss beneath the ice. It seemed to go on forever, even if it was just half a foot deep.

Photo credit: Cuppojoe on Flickr

We’d go over to Fry’s Corner (176th and Fraser Hwy), the Nicomekl river or any other field that was notorious for flooding, then freezing. The ice was always terribly bumpy and most of the time there were tufts of wheat or tall grass poking through that would catch your blade and trip you up. We’d see people playing hockey and would sometimes play a pickup game ourselves using whatever we found that would resemble a puck. Often my brother, sister and friends would all have sticks meanwhile I’d be given a broom or twig with which to defend the goal (the usual position for the youngest sibling).

Sometimes over at the park, the local firehall would bring out their hoses and purposely flood the lacrosse box. The neighbourhood kids all sat along the boards with bated breath, just waiting for that water to freeze over and reveal a makeshift rink. The first one to come back in the morning and report that it was a success was greeted by cheers of heroic proportions.

Photo credit: zoic on Flickr

There aren’t many places these days where you can find an icicle, let alone a puddle that’s frozen over. The next best thing would be to check out the ice rinks in your community but those indoor arenas just aren’t the same. Even though Atlantic Canada sees consistent winters that are perfect for such activities, I’m afraid the good ol’ pond hockey days of Metro Vancouver are behind us. I’m glad I at least have those memories of sliding out onto a natural rink with puffs of breath surrounding my toqued head like a halo.

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11 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Ian BellTuesday, January 15th, 2008 — 10:05am PST

    I think it was 1990 or 1991 that Lost Lagoon froze over enough that we could go there and play epic games of shinny until the wee hours when the cops kicked us off (but not before enjoying some of the action for themselves). That winter there were also a half-dozen or so frozen ponds in Surrey/Langley that were skateable. The winter after I remember a few (big) kids fell through the ice trying to repeat the joy, and that’s been it ever since.

    I think that’s one of the few redeeming qualities of Ontario: the spontaneous shinny game springing up in the neighbourhood outdoor rink that lasts for hours and hours: no referees, no zamboni, and no rules: just etiquette. We could all learn from that.

  2. Tyler IngramTuesday, January 15th, 2008 — 10:50am PST

    There used to be a depression in the field behind us on a farm that used to freeze nicely after it rained. We used to go skating and play hockey on it a lot. Now, they’ve built houses 🙁

  3. ZoicTuesday, January 15th, 2008 — 8:40pm PST

    Hi Rebecca,
    Thanks for using my photo – I’m glad it works for you!


  4. Miss604’s Vancouver Blog » Blog Archive » WTS – What the Surrey #21: Winterfest 2008Wednesday, January 16th, 2008 — 3:31pm PST

    […] all the talk about outdoor skating rinks lately I was pretty pleased to hear that they will be constructing one (temporarily) in Surrey for […]

  5. fotoeinsWednesday, January 16th, 2008 — 8:31pm PST

    The days of hoping Trout Lake (John Henry Lake) would freeze are just about done.

    On Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis’ Uptown, ice hockey there always looked like a real hoot …

  6. JennyWednesday, December 17th, 2008 — 11:41am PST

    Don’t forget when our brother used to make our own ice rink behind the house on the cement patio.

  7. Tobogganing and Sledding in Vancouver » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittWednesday, December 17th, 2008 — 12:53pm PST

    […] post: Pond Hockey Tweet This Digg it Add to del.icio.us Stumble it Add to […]

  8. Sunday Times » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittSunday, February 22nd, 2009 — 9:51am PST

    […] dad took us to play pond hockey at Fry’s Corner when the flooded fields froze and to Expo 86 every weekend. He never missed attending any of my […]

  9. RobTuesday, November 24th, 2009 — 10:44am PST

    Stumbled onto this page and am wondering if there is a place where I can take my girlfriend out to a pond to skate around and pass some pucks in the lower mainland?

    We live in Pitt Meadows and I would drive as far as I need to go without ending up in Ontario to find a pond that can freeze over enough to skate.

  10. MartyFriday, December 11th, 2009 — 2:42pm PST

    There is pond skating on the Serpentine Fen in Surrey. Location is King George Hwy and 44 Avenue. People have skated on this pond for decades. The pond is only 18-24 inches deep.

  11. 2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittSaturday, December 19th, 2009 — 10:12am PST

    […] with hockey like any good Canadian kid. I didn’t play for a recreational team or anything but we’d go out to Fry’s Corner in Surrey with our Dad and shoot some pucks around. Also whenever the road in front of our house iced over we’d play […]

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