Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hockey in the Middle East

Between the time I was in 4th year University at the end of 2006 and the summer just before I moved to Kuwait in August of 2011, I can count on my fingers the number of times I have played ice hockey. Believe it or not--in the middle of the desert--that number has increased significantly. Not only have I started playing since I arrived, I have started playing with more frequency than I ever played in my before.

At the height of my hockey playing days in high school, I was playing every Friday and on occasion I was able to find ice time on some random times and some Sunday evenings if I didn't work. In university, I played competitively which was different to the pick up I was used to in high school, but that was only once a week for a season far too short in my opinion. I did get some additional ice time throughout the year, but not with any frequency.

Back in April when I was mentally preparing myself for the shift from North American life to life in Kuwait--a very foreign culture--I received several e-mails to help me with this mental prep. One e-mail, and only one e-mail out of one to two dozen, had a post script that informed us to bring our hockey equipment. So instead of using the extra baggage we were given for more of the things I'd need to live with, I opted to pack my hockey equipment.

That was the best thing I packed. By the end of the first month, I was playing hockey twice a week, for an hour and a half. There were people of all nationalities playing, but of course the majority were Canadian teachers in the same boat as me. Some other nationalities represented are Austrian, Slovakian, Kuwaiti and American.

The hockey was just pick up, but it didn't matter. It was just great getting on the ice with so much frequency even though I was very rusty, and not a strong player in the first place. The team call themselves the Mooseheads, and I bought a couple pretty cool looking jerseys to use when I play. The players who played last year even traveled to Abu Dhabi for a tournament in November.

At the end of November and the start of December they cut one of our Moosehead ice times and formed a league. The league consists of four teams who play twice a week. That means I am playing hockey three times a week which is great.

Who would have thought I would travel all the way to the desert to play hockey with such frequency?

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