By Joseph Robertia
Paul Walker could see puffs of his own breath in the cold air, proof of how hard he had just been skating, and the blood tricking from his left brow was equal evidence that even recreational-league hockey is not without risk.
“A puck to the face is a good wake-up call,” he joked.
Despite the injury, he said he was still having a great time at the adult-league Tier 1 Rusty Blades annual hockey tournament, held this weekend at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
Though Walker didn’t even know the tournament existed 24 hours earlier.
“Last night was the first I heard of it,” he said Saturday, day two of the three-day tourney.
Up from Connecticut for work, Walker was asked to play after a member of the Mystery Alaska team, from Anchorage, was unable to take to the ice. Walker jumped at the chance to experience how hockey is played in a state with a lot more natural ice.
“There’s not quite as much finesse as back home. The guys here are a little stronger and faster,” he said.
The rink was much larger than he was used to playing on in the Lower 48.
“This is big ice here, which we don’t have a lot of back east. You can really stretch out and get in some longer passes,” he said.
Trevor Baldwin, Rusty Blades commissioner, said that the purpose of the event is meeting people from other areas and exchanging with them on and off the ice.
“This is a league for guys who love and have an appreciation for hockey. There’s no trophy at the end. It’s just about having fun and socializing with other teams from other areas,” he said. Continue reading