Sunday, 14 June 2015

Rutherford Rink has long past its expiry date

The Huskies women's hockey team plays at the Rutherford Rink.
    Oh Rutherford Rink, how I love thee, but you really have to go.
    You were great for a while, and maybe longer than you should have been. With that said, you have become that former boyfriend or girlfriend, who doesn’t realize the relationship is over and keeps trying to hold on to what once was.
    I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you are a dump. You are 85-years-old, and in the last like 30 years, you haven’t aged well at all.
    As far as rinks go, you make the late Moose Jaw Civic Centre, which was also known as “The Crushed Can,” look like the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
    Rutherford Rink, a lot of your charms have fallen away over the years. You invented the rust break.
    The University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s and women’s hockey teams just love it when a puck flies into your roof causing rust to fall from the corroded support beams on to the ice surface. The training staffs for both squads then get to show their athletic abilities by leaping the boards with scrappers and shovels to remove the problem.
    They have become so adept at this unlisted function of their job that Huskies hockey games still wrap up on average in a swift two hours and 15 minutes in real time.
    I do realize the rust might be a little helpful. It does reflect off the ice surface creating a pink haze on game tapes, which has to hamper the preparation efforts of opposing clubs.
    You also spring up with some unwanted surprises. Last September, water shot out of a goalpost hole where the net sits on your south side. I know last summer contained a lot of hot days, but Huskies didn’t want to go running through water fountains like little children, when the upcoming hockey season was about a month away.
    Also Rutherford Rink, you are unbelievably cold. Spectators have long become accustomed to venturing outside to warm up during intermission breaks when it is minus 30 C in the middle of January.
A rust break clean up at the Rutherford Rink.
    Because of this fact, the concession stand could make a killing in hot chocolate sales, if it wasn’t contained in a cubbyhole lobby area.
    You have been great in helping the Huskies with team bonding over the years. When you are stuck in a small closet style dressing room, it is impossible not to find out what is happening in the lives of all your teammates. At times, it feels like you have more personal space riding the bus on road trips.
    With all your drawbacks Rutherford Rink, you have provided a tonne of amazing memories. You were the place where captain Willie Desjardins and the Hustlin’ Huskies skated to fame under head coach Dave King. They won the school’s only national hockey title back in 1983.
    Since then, the Huskies men’s team has captured a number of other Canada West titles, with the last coming in 2012 in your confines. Brett Ward scored in triple overtime to give the Huskies a 2-1 victory in the championship clinching game against the U of Calgary Dinos.
    You also played host to that marathon Canada West women’s championship series between the Huskies and the U of Regina Cougars in 2014. The best-of-three series went the distance with every contest going to overtime spanning 17 periods and 296 minutes of ice time.
    Canadian Interuniversity Sport rookie of the year Kaitlin Willoughby netted the series winner for the home side in double overtime for a 2-1 victory in Game 3. No one who was present will ever forget that night, and the Huskies players and coaches can reflect on the post-game celebration like it just happened.
    In January, you played host to that heartwarming fundraising night for former Huskies forward Cody Smuk, who is battling cancer. The upbeat feelings that came when Smuk dropped the ceremonial faceoff for that clash with the U of Alberta Golden Bears were better than words can describe.
Spectators pack the stands at the Rutherford Rink.
    Those were great memories Rutherford Rink, and the atmosphere inside your walls is incredible, when the spectators are shoehorned into the stands. We will cherish those times forever.
    The fact is you are not in the condition to keep making future memories.
    With the Huskies gone for summer, you are currently giving lodging to Gainer the Gopher and his cousin Leonard in a basement we didn’t know you had. They seemed to move in at the end of April, which gave more than a month’s worth of space before the Saskatchewan Roughriders arrived for training camp.
    The tunnels they created at the base of the south end can’t be good for your health Rutherford Rink.
    You need to be replaced as soon as possible. Your time is long past Rutherford Rink.
    It is time for the Huskies hockey teams to move into a new home. We all need to say goodbye to you forever.

    If you have any comments about this tongue and cheek post regarding the Rutherford Rink you would like to pass along, feel free to email them to