Subject: EXCLUSIVE OPP: Experience Hockey at New Heights
What is this? Come on, they couldn't even spell Molson right.
So, I almost blew my chance right off the bat assuming I was being duped. After some research and calming of my paranoia ever since that prince turned out just be a duke, I replied and my trip was set!
On Monday night I climbed the 32 stories to the top of 120 Adelaide Street West -- well, took two elevators then climbed a few stairs, and emerged on top of the building, at the highest rink in the city.
Built on top of 120 Adelaide Street West, the rink is there until February 7, 2016. The site was partially chosen because there's a tower under construction next door, so they were able to use that crane to lift the equipment onto the roof. If they were to attempt it on First Canadian Place (the tall, white BMO branded tower), for example, they'd have to try and cram the pieces into shipping elevators and then carry it to the roof top from the end of the elevator line.
Or rent a helicopter. That would be much cooler, but ruin some of the surprise.
My first view of the rink came from across the street, seven floors above the rink, at the Sheraton Centre Hotel. Seeing people skating around on the roof was cool enough. I had to go there.
I'm a beginner at the game, I've played in beginners leagues for the past eight years, mostly because I'm always out of shape, and a lot because it's not ultra competitive like some of the beer league stories I've heard.
So when I first got up there, it was a work out keeping up with everyone. These guys were good, so I stumbled along and they were kind enough to pass me the puck every once in a while. Playing up there as the sun set, seeing the sky change overhead, was a pretty awesome experience.
Later, I went back downstairs to the lounge that was set up, it was dinner time and when there's free food, I won't be far from it. After eating too many mozzarella sticks I turned and saw Mr. Sparkles himself checking out the food. Also, former PPP writer Jeffler (and writer for eventually every Nations Network blog) was with him. They headed upstairs and I'm not one to turn down a chance to play some more so I followed along.
The sun was completely down now, and the ice was lit up nicely.
You'll see the rink is completely covered in netting, this is to keep pucks from leaving the rink and heading down towards the street.
Playing 4-on-4 against, again, very good players and a pro, wasn't easy but the small dimensions of the rink (perfect size for 3-on-3, but it gets small fast with more people) kept no one from dominating too much. Except Sparks. He skated (literal) circles around everyone to score most of the goals. There was a scary incident (for me anyway) when I tried to clear the puck from behind my net, and almost hit Sparks in the calf. I doubt I could have done any damage, with my weak wrists and all, but still, made sure not to shoot at Sparks the rest of the night.
And in case you were wondering, it's really close to the edge:
I stayed up there for another couple hours before my feet were done. I retreated to my hotel, but could see others up there for the rest of the night, until they closed the rink at 10.
Other Maple Leafs were in on the action earlier in the day:
The Maple Leafs Alumni played that morning:
Outstanding morning with the boys playing the game we love. Like being a kid again! @LeafsAlumni #AnythingForHockey pic.twitter.com/s3NCP0nwXv— Peter Ing (@PeterIng_1) January 18, 2016
Yep...we found a way to lose the puck over the glass. #HeadsUp #RooftopRink pic.twitter.com/8cU4sjiQdW— Peter Ing (@PeterIng_1) January 18, 2016
Tessa Bonhomme stopped by while I was up there to film a spot for TSN:
.@Tessab25 knows that if you get access to the #AnythingForHockey Rooftop Rink...you play hard. Head up @GSparks40! pic.twitter.com/rBDgTkRifj— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 19, 2016
Natalie Spooner filmed a promo for the CWHL All-Star game on the rink as well
It was an amazing experience and I can't thank Molson enough for letting me get up there. If you want to play in the sky, head over to RooftopRink.ca, enter the #AnythingForHockey contest, or book your ice time (cost is $2000/hour for 20 people).