Way, way, way up.
On this so-called “Blue Monday,” supposedly the most miserable day of the year, some Sportsnet colleagues and I got to skate on Molson Canadian’s famed #AnythingForHockey rooftop rink. Let me tell you, it was a quality Monday.
I went up there with social media guru/wizard Kailey Sibley and self-proclaimed “right winger for Sportsnet,” Eric Prime. None of us quite knew what to expect.
We went 20 floors up in an elevator, signed some “please don’t do anything too stupid” forms, went up another seven floors in the elevator, followed by five flights of stairs. For those of you keeping count at home, that’s 32 flights high.
As soon as the cold hit us, as soon as we looked up, we knew we were in hockey paradise.
Kailey spent a long time making this picture perfect, FYI, so I hope you appreciate it!
We didn’t even really skate around at first. We had to take a moment to appreciate exactly what we were seeing. We were skating on a rink, playing shinny, on top of one of an office building in downtown Toronto.
The sun was peeking around the CN Tower on one end with a clear view for miles and miles on the other. If we looked right over the edge we could have seen city hall but uh… no thanks. I knew how high up we were and I didn’t need to look straight down to confirm it.
Before I go any further, let me answer the question everyone has been asking me about this rink: Yes, there is netting. The netting covers the entire rink, along the boards, and all above the ice. Don’t worry, you’re not going to be getting clobbered by rogue pucks while strolling down a sidewalk in downtown Toronto.
I looked at Prime and held out my arms like the famous shot of Don Cherry at the Montreal Forum in 1979. “Look at this! Do you believe this?” Prime and I met back in early 2008 when I started interning for the Sportsnet 590 The Fan. He had recently been hired. I never imagined we’d be enjoying something as crazy as a rooftop rink eight years later.
While I was doing my best not to fall down, Prime gracefully glided over to Dean Kuypers, the senior manager of sponsorships and events for Molson-Coors Canada. Dean is a big reason why this all became a reality, and Prime interviewed him about the rink.
The fun wasn’t over yet. Just in case the experience wasn’t surreal enough, Canadian Olympian and CWHL All-Star Natalie Spooner came out to play.
Natalie came to shoot a fun little video to promote the upcoming CWHL All-Star Game in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre this weekend.
We didn’t have much of a battle plan other than “You’re Natalie Spooner, so do some crazy tricks and stuff.”
I told her to start with simple shots and then once we recorded those she could get a little more adventurous. Natalie interpreted that as, “Put the puck under your skate and do a spinorama with it before dangling the goalie out of his jock,” like 30 seconds in.
This is why she has a gold medal and I don’t.
That poor, helpless goalie by the way was none other than Sportsnet’s Joe Pack. Typically, you’d hope that the goalie would just “let” her score for a shoot like this, but it became pretty apparent that poor Joe really didn’t have a say in the matter. Again – gold medals and stuff.
Kailey Periscoped part of the promo shoot before her phone turned off due to the temperature. It was easily colder than -15 Celsius (that’s about five degrees Fahrenheit for our American friends) with the windchill, maybe even colder.
Prime got absolutely turnstilled by Spooner. Not sure how willing he’ll be to show this to the kids he coaches.
Always awesome cameraman Amit Mann got a close-up of Spooner’s stick-handling skills. He’s using my skates, too. You gotta be a team player!
It was truly a day I will never forget.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to get to experience some amazing things; the 2010 Winter Olympics and the most recent Winter Classic in Foxboro. This competes with anything I’ve ever gotten to experience. You hear about a rooftop rink and you think, “Alright. It’s just some gimmick.”
No. Not this. This is special. And it proves that Canadians are willing to do #AnythingForHockey.