The signs are everywhere.

I was out for a walk and the sidewalk was cluttered with leaves. When I get up in the morning for work it is still dark and by the time I leave the house the sky is barely starting to brighten. The other end of the day is similarly depressing — last night it was pretty much dark by 845p.

It is not just my imagination. Today’s official sunrise was 639a. Sunset tonight is 801p.

With the last long weekend of the summer of 2013 staring us in the face, I am left to wonder where summer went.

I think the answer is that anticipation made the summer evaporate.

Chris spent the summer counting the days until he went to camp in British Columbia. Patrick spent the summer working and skating and counting the days until hockey took him west. A family wedding on my side of the ledger utterly dominated the entire conversation for months in advance. And summer vacation wasn’t what it usually is. I got an assortment of Fridays and one chunk of time but never actually got two consecutive weeks off. I spent time anticipating the return of loved ones.

I hope the weekend ahead (I’ll be away from the office tomorrow) brings some lighthearted moments and relaxation for everyone. School is starting next week. Budgets for 2014 will start to be contemplated at work. And the darkness will depart later and arrive earlier with startling regularity.

What will see us through the fall .. .
– – –

Well, anticipation and hockey.

The fall anticipation will be for a trip west to Vancouver Island to visit Patrick and see five of his games while squeezing in a touristy run around one of the most beautiful places on the planet. And that will be a big part of the hockey, too. As will the return of MOHA and Atom house league and duties there with coaches Dave and Mike.

But on another front we got a taste last night of what the fall will be like and it is going to take some adjustment.

Pad played his second exhibition game of the BCHL season and we paid to watch it online via Fasthockey.com. I connected the laptop to the TV via an HDMI cable and we were good to go. That is the good news. The bad news is that a 7p start in Nanaimo is a 10p start in Oakville and it made for a long evening.

The Caps won 5-3 with an empty-net goal (they lost to the same Nanaimo squad 3-2 the night before) and Pad picked up an assist and generally turned in what I thought was a solid outing. (The night before with no cameras broadcasting he picked up his first West-Coast fight, game misconduct and three stitches after coming to the defence of a teammate who got drilled from behind without a call.) The Fasthockey video experience was nowhere close to community cable sports broadcasting, but it was better than nothing. The play by play work was actually first rate.

So it was a 1230a bedtime last night and we were both fried. The 6a alarm seemed a little crueler today. I think if I had enjoyed even a single beer I would have slept through the third period so the strongest beverage last night was milk (for me at least.)

No game for him or us tonight, and then back-to-back outings on Friday and Saturday night in a home-and-home series with Victoria. We’ll be up cheering for Cowichan.
– – –

Coach Dave, who asks for regular updates on Pad, admonished my whining about the herky-jerky nature of the Fasthockey video feed last night. That’s because he was loading the car to take Will the Thrill to a prep school in Boston for the winter. Or two.

Will earned a scholarship and will play hockey and golf and turn the heads of the local female teen population — and hopefully some smart hockey people too.

The reason Dave admonished me is that there is no video feed from New England prep hockey. Or audio. Or smoke signals. He’s hoping there will be an enthusiastic tweeter in the audience but even that’s not yet confirmed.

I feel his pain. When Pad played Tuesday night there was no broadcast and the tweeting from both sides was a tad sporadic and Laura looked at me like the lunatic I am as I barked at the iPad and implored someone, somewhere, to tweet and update the game.

Once the regular season begins all 58 Caps games are on Fasthockey and the local radio station is also broadcasting them all — including a free Internet simulcast.

Coach Dave should have it so good!
– – –

And back to MOHA hockey for a moment.

I mentioned to Dave that with Big Ben and Matthew and the rest of their cohort heading into Atom this year, the pressure to win is obvious.

When Pad played Atom — for Dave and coach Neil — on the same team with Dave’s son Mike, the boys won the house league Red championship.

When Will the Thrill played Atom it was his first year of rep and included four tournament wins and a Tri County championship.

When Chris played Atom, his team (coached by me) won the Greatest Hockey Game Ever Played ™ to take the house league white crown in double overtime.

Ergo . . .

Ben and Matt can go out and have their rings sized now. The magic starts in Atom.

Plan a parade.