photo by Max Latkovski
After 10 years of walking into hockey rinks, one thing is for sure: I’m going to smell that putrid wet gear.
A lot of chatter and banter fills the locker room — some vulgarities but nothing too brutal.
I hear vividly the sound of Velcro straps being put on and adjusted – and the routine opening of clear tape being put around shin guards to make sure they are tight enough for each player’s preference.
The smell of Howies stick wax pervades the room while players make sure their sticks are ready. Helmet straps click as players hop on the ice.
The most obnoxious sound during a hockey game is arguably the vulcanized rubber puck smacking against the glass that surrounds the ice itself.
I hear that ear-piercing sound quite often on Fridays when a six-foot-four defenseman rips his inaccurate shot all over the place.
The AC unit in the rink never stops humming. “Whatever keeps the rink cold, though,” they say.
The metal of the doors on the bench are loud, rusty and quite obnoxious — and almost unnecessary. The crunching and cutting into ice by the steel of the skate is nice and such a subtle sound.
It’s true beauty as goalie Cooper, saving every puck that comes at him this day, moves from post to post.
The puck hitting a goalie’s pad is a soft sound that frustrates the opposition and is countered only by the sweet ping of a puck shot off the cross bar and into the net.
After a long two hours on the ice, players’ gear marinates in sweat. The hot locker room makes the smell even worse. While hockey gloves and elbow pads really gather the most sweat, undergarments gather the most smell — a stench that smells oddly like Fritos.
The sounds are some of the best parts of the game itself. The smells, not so much, but nothing can change that.
Pucks hitting glass. Steel digging into ice. Nothing like it.