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The Inaugural Shinny Fest

Elliot Bridgewater (3L)

There is nothing more Canadian than the rush of cold air on your face as you fly down the open ice at the local outdoor rink. That is, except for the fact that 20 of the most exceptional people in law school are out there with you, celebrating the most thoroughly fun cliché activity of the Great White North. As one astute colleague pointed out, “if an international student were to walk by right now they’d go home with absolute confidence they’d seen ALL that is Canada”. And thus, Shinny Fest was born!

The inaugural shinny fest was a balmy minus 8 but felt like minus 6 on the sunny side of the boards. Such was the spontaneous genius of the event that the bbq was pulled up rinkside and burgers were tended to between shifts. Legendary bantam ‘tender Tommy “I’m still stiff!” Ostrawerka and friend Dave strapped on the goalie gear in the world’s tiniest dressing room, and stood tall between the pipes, doing their best impressions of Billy Ranford stackin the pads.

The Great One, Mark Messier, and Ryan Smyth would weep in appreciation of hockey finally reaching its zenith in its promised land, a frozen high water mark the likes of which we may never see again (until we go play shinny again). Tragically, a mere summary of the brilliant collective performance of skill, grit, and heart, that was Shinny Fest will never suffice.

Two teams of individuals brought together by destiny, like so many hockey sticks arbitrarily flung to one side or another, met at mid ice. They battled along the boards (or casually mingled), and had the puck on a string (or were tripping over feet) for a full two hours (that’s how long we had the ice). The tide constantly shifted as the momentum swung back and forth (depending on who decided to back check, or was flipping/eating burgers, or staying hydrated). A quick admission here: your intrepid reporter may have been more busy playing, hydrating, and bbq’ing than note-taking (3L in a nutshell).

Notable appearances were made by Kurtis “Yeah man, we’re really going to Rosie’s after this” Letwin, Cole “Are you sure you’re okay, because those mitts are sick, dawg!” Sloan, Iain “the top pairing rink bbq’er the Oilers desperately need” Walker, Cody “dangler” Ackland, Riley “No shovels, no problem” Graydon, Elliot “my stride is twice as long as the other Elliot” Watson, Heather “all business button hooks that turn Riley inside out” Thompson, Avril “mean stick leanin’ breakaways” Fisher, Faiz “open ice phantom menace” Virji, Roger “The Dutch Ultra Super Turbo League penalty minutes leader” Roualt.

It may not have been the most well-organized event in the history of U of A Law, but it probably was the chilliest! And what it lacked in polish it more than made up for in personality. I’m sure next years Litigators will make Shinny Fest bigger and better, but in its inaugural year there was magic in the air, and especially in the post-shinny beers. Long live Shinny Fest!