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Shirley Temples With a Side of Guilt at the Old Ice Rink Bar

It had been there all season. A room behind darkened glass at the East end of the Arcadia Ice Arena. The Ice House Tavern. It wasn’t though I hadn’t ever seen a bar inside of an ice rink, but not one that was so..well secretive. Others were wide open, had booths, and generally you could see families in there eating a meal pre or post game from an actual menu of items. The Tavern was not as revealing and I obsessed about it.

Practice after practice I sat frozen on the worn bleachers wondering what was going on in there. Was I expecting a darkened den of inquity? A rocking jukebox, clouds of illegal smoke and scantily clad waitresses/bartenders?

One day I found out. Armed with another hockey mom in tow, and the desire to watch the Coyotes and Red Wings game, we ventured where few of the moms (or dads for that matter) had dared to go. Much to my disappointment however we discovered that although it was indeed darkened it was hardly a den of inquity. The jukebox, while present, was silent. The only sounds were from the Tv’s showing the current hockey games. Another Tv was showing a movie that I hadn’t seen in the better part of 15 years.

No smoke and the only waitress/bartender was a sweet woman named Tina somewhere in her 50’s.
Worn barstools, pub tables and a dart board rounded out the interior. Standard old time bar decor..but that darkened glass? It was two way and gave us the most impressive view of our kids as they practiced. Their drills were laid out before us to enjoy while:

a)staying warm
b)enjoying adult or non-adult beverages (my drug of choice? A shirley temple)
c)seated on far more comfortable chairs than those hard bleachers

At first I felt just a tad guilty seeking refuge while my daughter sweated on the ice and at first she was a little peeved that I had escaped the confines of the rink. As most mom guilt does though, this passed and so did her irritation…escpecially when she discovered that I COULD actually watch the practice.This was hockey mom nirvana and Buddha was smiling on us!

For a while we seemed to enjoy those Thursday practices in relative peace, usually just the two of us moms, a couple of regulars and Tina, the ever present bar matron. But like Moses leading the masses I started a little following by encouraging some of the other moms (and dads too) to join in the fun. Even some of the parents I didn’t know with the other practice started showing up.

Was I a corrupting influence? A cult leader? Or a savior bringing a little warmth to frozen appendages, refreshments to the thirsty and some fun to break up the monotony of backward skating drills?

Whatever it was, it worked. Now hopefully she will make this team next season.

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