First Skate / Last Skate

Welcome to day five of this series on Song of the Day for Today where we’re looking at Kieran West’s new album, Dark Little Ones. If you’re just joining us now, you can also head back to the first “Staying Home” post and catch up. We’ll sit and wait for you right here at the community rink. Maybe there will be hot chocolate.

Yeah, today it’s time to take to the ice with “First Skate / Last Skate,” where the tempo goes up as Kieran tells us about growing up ice skating and playing hockey as a kid and an adult during his favourite season in our city of Winnipeg, Canada.

Kieran’s lyrics are always so descriptive; they vividly convey “the feeling of untying my skates after a log skate.” Oh yeah… what a relief… it’s been about ten years since I had skates on, but the lyric brought that feeling back as if it were today. I remember how much Kieran used to love playing hockey as a kid, both informal pick-up and organized recreation league. I saw him play a late-night adult men’s game once, a few years ago. He’s a fantastic skater, a skill I never learned as a kid but picked up when I was 35.

So what does Kieran have to say about “First Skate / Last Skate”?

“I guess you could say this is the happy song on the album. Every album deserves one.

“I am quite proud of this song in the way it tells the story of a young boy who lives to play hockey. The imagery is strong, and when I sing it, I can easily put myself in the place I wrote about. When I wrote this song, I was living at 21 Mayfair Place (in Winnipeg), and we had a hockey rink right outside the front door. It was a place I went to frequently throughout the winter. Playing hockey on an outdoor rink is one of the threads that connect my childhood to my adulthood. I will always love my time spent on the ice.”

And, on to the song…

“I can smell the ice
from the second that I walk outside
guy with the hose
yeah that’s my hero
everything is dying
but I’m coming alive
I’m out in the cold
and here I am at home

and I missed the feeling
of untying my laces after a long skate
and I missed the feeling
of the cold air ripping at my face
first skate

The ice is melting
and I feel lost
and I want to know
where did my favourite season go
things coming back to life
but I’m dying inside
and I miss the cold
and now I’m all alone

And I’ll miss the feeling
of untying my laces after a long skate
and I’ll miss the feeling
of the cold air ripping at my face
last skate

And I missed the feeling
of untying my laces after a long skate
and I missed the feeling
of the cold air ripping at my face
first skate
last skate”

Words and music © 2023 by Kieran West.

Kieran West: acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, vocal.
Matt Filopoulos: bass guitar
Dan Bertnick: drums

The song beautifully captures that sense of excitement, anticipation and longing to do those activities that give us the greatest joy and satisfaction, often the things we did in youth and can return to as adults to reclaim the wonder and curiosity of childhood.

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy the audio from the Kieran West YouTube topic channel (and click the thumb’s-up to show it some love!):

We’ll be back here tomorrow with the sixth track from Dark Little Ones. In the meantime, the album is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music and for purchase in the iTunes Store.

With my best wishes,


9 thoughts on “First Skate / Last Skate

    1. I’m glad you liked it! The rink is right in front of where Kieran lived. A great spot for some winter fun. Did you skate once or a few times? Did you like it?

      Liked by 1 person

            1. I was pretty good on the rollers… not bad on skates though ten years ago or so, I fell and bonked my head ending up with a mild concussion. That was my “last skate” lol.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bill. Yes, Kieran has always come across with authenticity and it is so great to see his music out there for people to savour.


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