This weekend I got the opportunity to go out and discover a small, but thriving hockey community in probably one of the most unexpected places, the Central Coast of California.
They may have traded skates for roller blades, and ice for concrete but the one thing that remains is a passion for hockey, a passion which they have instilled in their children.
Josh and Danielle Salazar are no exception. Their daughter Lolila is 5 years old and has been playing for three seasons.
“She loves hockey. We told her [she] might not get to play tonight and she was crying and upset.”
-Danielle Salazar, Lolila’s mother
Lolila was sick earlier that day but was still determined to come and compete.
The San Luis Obispo YMCA A Division (pictured in this post), features kids as young as five years old. They are still trying to gain their footing, but they still love to compete. The score isn’t reflected on the scoreboard, but you had better believe every single kid knows exactly what the score is (and how many of those goals they contributed to).
Forty percent of the time is spent getting back on their feet, thirty percent of it features them trying to do push ups in skates and riding their hockey sticks like brooms, twenty percent is spent being confused about where the puck is, and the remaining ten percent is spent playing hockey.
Needless to say, it is immensely entertaining and refreshing to see these kids genuinely enjoying themselves. We are so used to seeing the major leagues bogged down with politics and greed, that we forget what the point of sports really is.
The youth league has taken a sport that is usually known for it’s violence and aggression and stripped it down to the very basic elements. It has taken us back to the innocence of hockey.