Chris Pryor

Bundle up!

By Chris Pryor

What is Minnesota known for (good or bad depending how you look at it)? Climate. You get outside the state lines and the first question you hear is, “How do you deal with that weather?”

We all have grown up in the cold. It’s part of the culture that separates us from other states.  As a young hockey player growing up, you would start to get the “itch” right around the first frost of the year with the anticipation of that first freeze. I can remember coming home from school, dropping the books on the table and running to grab your stick and skates to get outside before the rinks became too crowded. 

This natural resource is what separates Minnesota hockey players from the rest. Those 3-4 months of outdoor ice. Playing 8-on-8 hockey against kids years older than yourself. Pushing the shovel at an angle with a couple of your buddies to clean off the ice. Shooting the puck over the boards and drudging through the snow looking for it next to dozens of other holes in the same snow bank.

When I think back to my younger days, these are the things that I remember. Not all the games I played, but the fun I had skating outside. It didn’t matter if it was 20 above or 20 below, you were just happy to be out there playing.

Now fast forward to today. I want to pose a question. Does this mindset still hold true? Are we as a hockey culture still using the outdoor ice the way we once did? I know the kids play year-round now and play a huge number of games, more than any of us did when we were younger, but do we still go outside to the local rink and play shinny all day? 

We pay a substantial  amount of money to play hockey. From association fees, the price of equipment, etc., but the one thing that still holds true from back when I was a kid is that outdoor ice is abundant and free. I hope we are still taking advantage of Minnesota’s biggest natural resource. Bundle up and have fun!
 
Chris Pryor is the director of hockey operations for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is in charge of the amateur and pro scouting departments. A native of St. Paul, Pryor spent eight seasons as a scout for the Flyers. He played parts of six seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars and New York Islanders. If you have a question for a pro hockey scout, e-mail it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .