By Nicky D Cooks
Growing up, I was the little sister that was dragged around to the early morning hockey practices. Each weekend, I dutifully went with my dad and big brother to hockey games and morning scrimmages. From Mites, Peewees, Squirts, Bantams leagues and so forth, I sat through it all that Providence Youth Hockey League had to offer.
I knew more about the game of hockey than half of the boys on the team. At one point my dad became a coach, and therefore I became my brother’s unofficial equipment manager. I knew how to tape sticks, keep shin pads in place and most importantly the tricks to keeping the skates tightened and laced.
I am not proud to admit the fact that I have seen the insides of far too many locker rooms, and have never forgotten the perfumed aroma that emanates from within the walls of those rooms.
Luckily I was too small to carry my brother’s hockey bag after games and practices, but because there were extra hands around that usually meant that I got to carry the hockey sticks.
It seemed like my brother Raymond played hockey forever. He was good at it, a natural athlete. Despite his natural speed and sinewy build, he preferred to play defensive position on the ice. He liked to score goals, but had a gift of being able to skate backwards quickly so he was always placed by the net.