My expectation of a New England home is that it was built at least a hundred years ago and several generations of a family have lived there. Furthermore, above all the day-to-day activity is an attic which collectively stores the stuff of those generations. Whether out of curiosity, boredom, or some annual retrieval or storage of Christmas decorations, someone will venture to the attic to discover something tucked in a corner box, relegated to someone else’s long-term memory.
During our recent visit to my wife’s home, fitting the above New England home description, I heard her exclaim, “My hockey game”. Her nephew had helped his grandmother take the above Christmas decorations back up to the attic. With his task completed, he “discovered” his aunt’s Pro-League hockey game. He brought it down and cleaned it up, as best as 35 years worth of dust and rust could be resolved. Time to warm up the skates of those two-inch plastic players to pass the puck from end to end without getting an icing penalty.
Having grown up on the west coast, I was unaware of hockey as a sport or passion. I believe that my brother & I had a similar era vibrating football game, in which the two-inch players were set up on the line, the quarterback given a felt football, and the power turned on… vrrrrrrrrrrr. We basically watched to see whether the quarterback would vibrate through the line, out-of-bounds, or get sacked by the rushers vibrating the other way. In college, fusball became the rage, with soccer players doing flips to kick the ball end to end. Another generation later would have air-hockey to knock their knuckles on the sideboards or puck. Lots of yelling & cheering were in order for any of these games.
With the Pro-League hockey game, you have your forwards, defense men, and goalie. Each can move up and down their section of ice to move the puck, and swivel to pass or shoot toward the goal. Of course, having only two hands and five levers to operate requires some dexterity.
Some historical notes from the set up of the game. None of the players, including the goalies and referees have helmets… maybe no teeth either, but the stickers are too small to see this. The rink is lined by the names of the cities with hockey teams. This came out after the first expansion in 1967, thus there are the Original Six, plus the Western conference expansion teams.
One city that I had never hear of was “Oakland”. Okay, none of us could think of a hockey town of Oakland, or any Oakland other than the one across the bay from San Francisco, in California. Did I really grow up so close to a hockey team and not even know it? An internet search soon answered my curiosity. Yes, Oakland, CA hosted the California Golden Seals from 1967 to 1979, at which point they moved to Cleveland… a hockey team in Cleveland? I did not read far enough into the history to see where the team went from there. However, the league continue to expand, absorbing the World Hockey Association, and eventually bringing teams to places where ice does not naturally form long enough to skate on… like, San Jose… those Sharks.
But, New England is hockey country. And, those houses need something to put up in the attic.
P.S. After one periods of play my wife winning 4 to 1. I need a little more practice.