It's not constantly easy being a musical icon or a hockey star. Sure, you make lots of money, you can reside in an elegant location and drive quickly cars ... but what if you simply wish to be kid once again?

Think Justin Bieber. He still calls Stratford, Ont., home (full disclosure-- so do I), and he comes here often to visit his Dad and grandparents. He slips silently in and out of town on his private jet and the majority of people don't even know he's here. That is, unless he wishes to do something he's liked given that he was in single digits-- play hockey.

He'll rent the ice at the historic, century old Allman Arena and play pick-up hockey with his friends from his school days. I keep in mind once being at the arena for some other event, however wound up seeing them play.

Justin had actually purchased them all white jerseys-- his was yellow. Why? "Don't strike the person in the yellow!"

Not that hitting or, specifically, lipping at the referee was ever a problem for young Justin. When, when my child was playing midget, he got suspended for a game for mouthing off at the ref.

He was called prior to the "commissioner" of the league for a rather correct dressing down. It ended with a smile.

"Will", the commissioner stated, "you did wrong, however it won't ruin your future. Simply remember, the kid who holds the record for the most suspensions here in Stratford is Justin Bieber." Willie took some pride because.

I've never ever met Justin, however I used to see him resting on the actions of the Stratford Festival's Avon Theatre when he was approaching teen status and my other half Cynthia Dale was performing in musicals on phase.

He was strumming a guitar and singing for loonies. Within a number of years, he was crooning Babyand making millions.

He has actually led complicated life, to state the least. Not one without errors, however one thing that's never ever altered has actually been his love for hockey and his desire to be a kid forever, dreaming of having fun with the huge people.

Justin Bieber made plans with the city of Stratford, Ont., to play a personal video game of four-on-four hockey with old friends and some existing Toronto Maple Leafs in the regional William Allman Memorial Arena on Thursday. (@justinbieber/ Instagram)

A couple of days before Christmas, Justin called the city with a demand. He understood the Allman was usually closed on Boxing Day, but like any other Stratford citizen, if the overtime rate for rink staff was paid, and if they were willing to come in to work, he could bring along a few of his traditional buddies for shinny.

All he wanted in return was that the moment be kept as quiet as possible so they could take pleasure in some privacy. An affordable demand and rapidly it was video game on.

The pals it ended up, included some other "kids" who most likely have the exact same dream on celebration-- just play for enjoyable with your good friends.

No coaches. No analytics. No pylons on the ice to run drills around.

Those "buddies" had their own star status: Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner, Tyson Barrie -- all of them gamers on the Toronto Maple Leafs. I think Justin couldn't find my number. Call me. Perhaps. Next time. (I know, not his song, but I like the thought.)

They played four-on-four, uninterrupted, for a couple of hours and after that packed their equipment and went out the door.

Combining a community

Plumbings, electrical experts, insurance salesman and a No. 1 draft pick along with a worldwide pop star. Your normal hockey crowd.

Word had taken a trip a bit and as a result there were kids outside. The stars stopped, and signed, and had actually photos taken with fans and rink personnel too. Nobody grumbled.

Now, prior to you get all huffy and dispose on Justin and his professional pals for spending his Stratford time and cash on himself, he's really not that kind of person.

Bieber's been a generous factor, quietly usually, to all sort of local charitable causes consisting of the museum and the soup kitchen.

He gets back, and he brings pals and his brand-new household with him, due to the fact that he keeps his connection to his Stratford family no matter how far away from the California lights it might be.

And in that, a minimum of for today, he's not that different than the rest of us. Surround yourself with loved ones, keep in mind how lucky we are and take pleasure in a few hours simply having fun.

Editor's Note: An acoustic edition of this story is available on Peter Mansbridge's podcast "the bridge."

Think Justin Bieber."Will", the commissioner said, "you did incorrect, but it won't ruin your future. He was strumming a guitar and singing for loonies. Plumbings, electrical contractors, insurance coverage salesman and a No. 1 draft pick alongside a worldwide pop star. The stars stopped, and signed, and had pictures taken with fans and rink staff too.