I often think about the old days when I was a kid. The good times we had and how we always found ways of having fun without the electronic distractions of today. One of my fondest memories as a kid was playing Tweeter in the winter. Unless you grew up in Winnipeg back in the early 70’s you likely won’t know what I mean by Tweeter. Tweeter was a street hockey game invented by kids on the street.
As best I can remember, it started with parents getting angry with their boys taking slap shots at the garage doors, with real hockey pucks, leaving numerous dents to deal with. To solve the problem, some kids came up with the crazy idea of taking the typical blue, red and white sponge ball of the day, and cutting off the top and bottom of the ball, creating a white rimmed sponge rubber puck.
Great idea. While the puck would do no damage to the garage doors, a regular hockey stick blade just wouldn't do, as it was too big and bulky to maneuver the rubber puck. However, an old worn hockey stick might work. The wood hockey sticks of the day did in fact wear down over time to create a thin blade stick or broke off at the base, creating a small narrow, short blade stick. When you used these sticks with the rubber puck, it was much easier to stick handle on the street ice and when you took a shot or a quick slap shot, the puck would make a high pitched whirring sound, thus the name “Tweeter” (TWEEEETER).
Most of the games were played on the street or back lanes. Kids would darn grey suede moccasins so you could move quickly on the road ice. Sure, most other kids in Canada and Northern USA, remember using old tennis balls for street hockey, but in our neighbourhood, we played Tweeter. It was so popular that at my junior high school (which was located next to the River Heights Community Centre), we had an organized intramural tweeter league.
Us old Winnipeggers like to believe (and maybe it is true) that the tweeter sponge rubber puck was the predecessor to the sponge rubber puck that was manufactured by hockey equipment companies to meet the growing street hockey trend back then.
From a kid's perspective, there is nothing more invigorating than creating or inventing something new. Games like Tweeter. From a parent's perspective, there should be nothing more gratifying than watching your child take initiative and become self-reliant, creative and motivated to do something different. Just sayin'.