The Boston Blades don’t play in Boston.
They play in Somerville, in a rink on Somerville Avenue, and if you get there first you can park out front. If you don’t, you leave the car on a one-way side street in the neighborhood where you need a resident parking sticker, so you hope that the people they used to call meter maids don’t come by while you’re in the rink.
Maybe the Blades drew some fans for their games on Saturday and Sunday against Team Alberta, which traveled 2,600 miles for those games, so I guess they figured they might as well stay around for another game at noon on Monday, and they certainly didn’t draw many fans for that. The former general manager of the Blades was there, which I knew because he was wearing a Blades jacket, and four girls who looked as if they might be high school hockey players, one of them on crutches with a plastic boot on her foot, which is why I say hockey players. That and the fact that they were there, and they weren’t fussing with iPods or iPhones or something. They were watching the game. Chatting, too, but watching the game.
Who wins these games matters, because at the end of the winter the Blades or Team Alberta or the Montreal Stars, the Toronto Furies or the Brampton Hockey Club will lift the Clarkson Cup, which differs from the Stanley Cup in that some teams are currently playing for it.
Each of those five teams, including the Brampton Hockey Club, which is the victim of a curious lack of imagination on the part of those who named it, includes players who’ve either played for the U.S. or Canadian national teams or aspire to do so. Several of the Boston Blades, who probably should be called the Somerville Somethings, have Olympic gold medals, and silver medals as well, and also whatever they get when they win World Championships, which probably is also a medal.
So it was a fine thing to be there at noon on Monday, even though it was colder inside the rink than it was outside by a lot, and also lonely. The quality of the hockey was excellent, never mind that the same two teams were playing for the third time in three days, and the same team, which was the Blades, won all three games. This suggests that the trip back to Edmonton must have seemed longer than it would have if Team Alberta had managed to tilt one of the Somerville games their way, because losing three games in 72 hours to the same team can’t be much fun, though my conversations with the players in the Canadian Women’s League suggest that it’s a lot more fun than not playing, which is what the NHL is doing, in case you had forgotten that bit of discouraging news.