Two teams of eight and nine year olds are on the ice, in full gear on a Sunday morning, while their friends and siblings are still warmly cozied under their blankets, dreaming.
It means a dozen volunteer coaches are also on the ice, ready to teach these kids ways to improve their skill.
It means parents last night set their alarms to be awake before 5:30am to make sure their kid was out of bed, fed, and dressed. Ready to be on the ice at time when most of the city is still asleep.
There was no traffic on the drive to the arena this morning. For most of the city, Sunday is the day of rest - sleep in, have a late brunch, relax with friends and family. Driving here at 6am, the only person I saw on the streets was a lone runner; a kindred spirit focused on his athletic goals.
My first choice is not to sit in a cold arena this early on a Sunday morning, but I derive some joy in being here. I feel a connection to the thousands of parents in other towns and cities across the country who started their day as I did. Coaxing a bleary-eyed child out of bed a warm bowl of oatmeal, coffee in a travel mug.
There is a symphony in a hockey rink, when the only sounds are from when ice connects with metal, the pucks bang against the boards, the sticks hitting the ice, connecting with a puck. The stands are mostly empty, other than the handful of parents silently watching, looking at our phones, reading books.
My son is not headed for the big leagues, but his dedication to this sport, to supporting his team, fulfilling his commitment to be here, no matter the time, tells me that he is heading somewhere and I'm happy to be along for the ride.