As it turned out, there was no Leafs game on Saturday night! It was the All-Star break, and I had no idea how to break it to Colin. Turns out, I didn't really have to. The All-Stars skills competition was happening instead, so I just explained that instead of a game, we'd watch a whole bunch of little races.
In preparation, I dug out my old Leafs jersey from high school. Colin put on his hockey pyjamas, and threw on a Maple Leafs t-shirt over top. Then he gathered all his little hockey memorabilia (right down the the Kinder surprise hockey playing duck figure) and lined them up on the table next to the couch. He also brought down his comforter with the Original Six logos on it. James made us a feast of junk food including popcorn, mozza sticks and ice cream.
We settled into the evening. The first half hour of ceremony was almost painful it took so long, but we made a game out of playing "watch for the Leaf players" and "identify players from the original six" (logos on comforter, remember?)
The first event was for fastest skater. Lots of adrenaline and rooting for our team (the one with all the Leafs on it.) But it was the second event that made the night. Called the "Breakaway competition" it actually wasn't about scoring at all. It was about showmanship. Each player in the game tried to show off with a fancy trick or two as he skated toward the goalie. It didn't matter if the puck actually went in the net, in fact, the goalies were also in on the game. The goalies would try to stop the puck facing backward, or with their glove over their face, or doing twirls. The players would twirl and twist and lift up the puck with their stick or try to bat it out of the air.
We had two favourites. One player donned a Superman cape and a pair of thick glasses. Then on his way down the ice he slid on his stomach as though flying through the air. He hand passed the puck from one side of his body to the other, catching it with his stick and flinging it into the net. On his second go, he used a trick puck that exploded into 5 chunks when he let go of his slap shot. The second favourite player stopped midway on his skate toward the net, threw off one glove, then the other, tossed his stick away, then pulled a mini 12" stick from underneath his jersey, and proceeded to score on the goalie with the miniature stick.
But my favourite part of the night was watching Colin. He was so ecstatic about everything! He would jump up and perform a live replay of the neatest tricks. Then he would make up his own trick, if he was in the competition. We would cheer when we got a point and groan when our team lost one. We cheered extra loud for the Maple Leafs.
This is definitely going to turn into a weekly event for Colin and I. It was so much fun, spending time just the two of us.