The Ice Garden continues our series, “Rink Ink,” which features various hockey players’ tattoos. A form of self-expression, tattoos provide unique insights into the players’ lives — their mottos, their beliefs, their motivations, their interests.
For the first installment this season, Keira Goin of the Connecticut Whale tells us about the meaning behind her various tattoos.
Can you talk about your tattoos and the meanings behind them?
I’ve got two tattoos - one on each of my thighs, a small one on my ribs, and most of my other tattoos are on my right upper arm. It goes from my shoulder down to my elbow — not a full half-sleeve, but that’s what most people consider it. That collection of tattoos is probably my favorite. Everything for the most part on my body has to do with family or friends of mine because [they are] something I hold close to me personally.
My half-sleeve is a combination of about five different tattoos. It was five different sittings. The first one is on my bicep, and it’s an outline of a mermaid for my mom and my sister. We walk in a parade every year called the Mermaid Parade on Coney Island. We’ve done that since I’ve been about 16 years old, and it’s always been a fun day in the sun for my family. We spend a couple months leading up to that making our costumes by hand, so I got [the mermaid tattoo] with my oldest sister. She has a different mermaid tattoo on her left rib.
On that same arm is an outline of the lighthouse from the town I grew up in. I had to move from there when I was younger, so I wanted that to be, as cheesy as it is, my beacon of what home is to me. It is fitting because it’s the lighthouse from that town, and it’s a pretty well-known lighthouse because it's on the Hudson River. If you’re crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge, you can actually see that lighthouse so a lot of people know it.
On the same arm is also a moon and a star on the bone of my shoulder. It’s the same moon and star that my mom used to draw on our lunch bags when she would give us those paper bags. She would always draw a moon and a baby star, so I got that [tattoo] one day and surprised her with it.
The back of my shoulder is a compass, going along with the lighthouse — pointing home and never forgetting where I came from. On my lat [muscle], on the back of my arm, is a sea turtle. This goes along with the nautical theme, though it’s a little different. My sister is a wildlife conservationist, and even though she doesn’t work with sea animals, she inspired me when she told me once about how sea turtles are considered the oldest and wisest animals in the sea.
What I thought was a really cool fact about them was they’re the only creature in the sea with a sense of home. Most animals in the sea will wander and make home where they can make home, and sea turtles are one of the only [animals] to know where their home-base is and return to that.
That’s the general theme of my half-sleeve, and it’s lines filled in with watercolor, so it’s a really cool sleeve.
You mentioned your oldest sister with the mermaid tattoo. Is she also the wildlife conservationist?
Two different sisters. I have two sisters and a brother. I have a matching tattoo with each of my sisters — my brother doesn’t have any. I have the mermaid with my older sister who walks in the parade with me. [For] my other sister, who is closer in age, we both have a small plus sign on our wrists. Mine is on my inner left wrist and hers is on the outside of her right. They’re a reminder to be more positive and to look at the world with your rose-colored glasses on.
What about the sugar skull tattoos?
My thigh tattoos are both sugar skulls. I got them a few years back, and they’re my two bigger tattoos, my first big ones. The original plan was to do thigh sleeves for each of them, but then I got lost in my other tattoos. My left thigh is a traveler sugar skull. My sister had drawn a sugar skull way back when I was younger, and I brought that to my tattoo artist and he made a version of the traveler-themed sugar skull.
My other side is a pin-up style sugar skull. My oldest sister and I always joke that we were born in the wrong era. We’ve always loved the early pin-up 40s, 50s style, and she was really the first to show me that and get me interested in that. It fueled both of our loves for dressing up in costumes, so that’s for her.
I was going to add another sugar skull for both my other sister and brother, but I haven’t gotten that far. My plan is to get a sugar skull with a wolf skull. It’s going to be kind of difficult, which is why I haven’t planned it out yet. But my wildlife conservationist sister works with wolves and big cats. I haven’t quite thought of [the one for my brother] yet. I [want to] talk to him about it. My other sister had told me [the wolf skull] would be what she wanted if I were to continue my thigh pieces, but I haven’t really talked to my brother about it.
Will you be getting more tattoos other than the sugar skulls, maybe more for your sleeve?
I’m thinking about it. I have part of a background filled in on [the half-sleeve], so it’s not really finished yet. I’m either going to fill in the background a little bit or extend it to a three-quarter sleeve if I can think of something else to add to it. I’m definitely not done yet.
What is your favorite tattoo?
My favorite one actually is on my forearms. I have the words “I love you” written in different handwriting. One is my mom’s; one is my dad’s. I always forget about [these tattoos] because I think of the big colorful pieces, but these are the ones that are probably the most visible. When people see them, those resonate with them the most because it is so personal.
What advice would you give someone looking to get a tattoo?
The advice I give everybody that asks me about [tattoos] is to sit on it. If you don’t really know if you want a tattoo, what you necessarily want a tattoo of, or if you want to get one, it’s not worth it. I sit on my tattoos and the ideas of them for probably a year before I get any of them, which says a lot because I have so many. None of my tattoos are ever impulsive; none of them are really things I regret. There are ones I like more than others, but they’re all things that, this is going to sound really morbid, I want to die with. I’ve always thought of tattoos as really the only things you take with you when you go. You don’t take any of your material stuff. so if it’s not something you definitely want, don’t get it.