RARA-AVIS: Ice Rinks/Travis McGee

From: T.Kent Morgan ( tkmorgan@shaw.ca)
Date: 16 Feb 2002

> >
> >Why do Canadian prisons have ice rinks? And why are they outside the
> >walls?
> >
> >Mark
> I can take this! I can take this! (Hi, Kerry.)
> Because (a) ice hockey is the national sport, and
> (b) in a typical winter the whole of Canada east of the Rockies is an ice
> rink

Just to clarify, the Canadian national sport is lacrosse. Ice hockey is the national winter sport. Coming from east of the Rockies, I'll add to the above. At least here in Western Canada the prison rinks are "outside" but not outside the prison walls. By outside we mean open air rinks, not the typical enclosed arena with a roof. My visits to prisons were usually in the summer to play softball against the inmates, but one time in the winter I travelled with my college floor hockey team to the Stony Mountain federal penitentiary for a game. I was the ice hockey referee-in-chief at the college, but also officiated floor hockey.

Although it was 30 years ago I remember three things clearly about that game. First of all, one of my classmates, who was editor of the college paper, was not on the list of people approved to visit the prison. He had to remain "outside" the walls while we went inside for the game. Secondly, the game was in the prison gym, which was very small and the inmates were crowded around the walls yelling and betting, usually for their team. It could have been an intimidating atmosphere for most officials. The other referee, who appeared to be a bodybuilder, came over to me before the game began and said, "Don't worry, I own this gym."

Thirdly, the college team led by a couple of goals at half-time. When the second and final period began, the prison team consisted of an entirely new group of players. When I asked the other ref about it, he replied, "They just came in from outside." I knew he meant they had been playing ice hockey. The ice hockey players were also the best floor hockey players so the prison team easily won the game. It must have been about 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit "outside" that January night.

Maybe there's a short story for the next edition of the Canadian anthology, Iced, in that tale.

In regard to Travis McGee, a list I found somewhere has The Deep Blue Good-By, Nightmare in Pink and A Purple Place For Dying in the omnibus published in 1975. For the past couple of years, I have been trying to complete my late father's John D. MacDonald collection by picking up cheap copies at used bookstores, thrift shops and our hospital charity book markets. Now have all the McGees but one, but am still hoping to find Weep For Me, Area of Suspicion, A Bullet For Cinderella, Murder in the Wind, The Price of Murder, The End of the Night and End of the Tiger and Other Stories. The hunt is part of the fun as Rara Avians know. Think I'll go out hunting rather than watch the Olympics.

Kent Morgan in Winnipeg who played a little "pond" hockey on the Red River
(of the North) a couple of Saturdays ago

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