Saturday, September 29, 2007

AMHL Wednesday: Pets and Pucks

The Far Side: The sun is rising as a slender dog stands on a three-legged table so he can reach the espresso machine. Today's caption on our cartoon-a-day calendar reads, “While their owners sleep, nervous little dogs prepare for their day.”

Sunrise over Concord is a few minutes away as most AMHLers have left their families and pets to play hockey.

In the rink’s parking lot, a Rhodesian Ridgeback is sprawled about the back seat of John Field’s old blue Volvo. Inside the Valley Sports Arena, on Rink Two, Field and his Sharks prepare for their contest against Erik Domingo, who owns a dog named Brockton, and the Sabres.

On Rink One, the Rangers and Canadians have begun their game. AMHL Wednesday Co-director Hockey Operations Mike DeLeo waits for a whistle so he can step onto the ice. Mike says he has two Shelties: Brady, named for the Patriots’ QB and Schillie, for the Sox’s burly hurler.

While DeLeo’s doggies down the last drops of morning brew at the DeLeo household, Master Mike’s cohort, Jerry Evans oversees operations. Jerry, recovering from a separated shoulder, has two pets, too: a cat and a dog. Fritty is named after a cat Evans’s son had read, and “Lightning.” Evans says the dog “is part Border Collie, hound, and something yellow.” She’s also what Evans calls a “reverse blonde.” Lightning’s roots are light but the outer hair is dark.

“I’m gonna go home and walk the dog,” Jerry says midway through the first period, and we walk towards Rink Two.

On the far side of the back rink, the scoreboard shows the Sabres leading 5–0 early in the second period. Field is on the ice when his Sharks score, but the tally won’t be enough.

Out in the Volvo, the sun has risen but the droopy-faced dog lies about, missing its master—and its morning shot of caffeine.
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