Hockey on the rocks
Whether I believed that or not about the game between the Chilliwack Bruins and the Everett Silvertips, I was committed to giving it a fair hearing. It helped that I was bribed by the promise of a free ticket (thanks Casey).
I even told those with me that I would behave and root for the home team -- which didn’t help because our group had divided loyalties between the two teams.
So the game was intense -- or that’s what they told me as I watched the puck get swatted from one end to the other for the duration of the first and second periods. Half way into the third period the puck somehow ended up in the Bruins net. Hey, that’s good -- something to get excited about.
Feeling a bit for the Bruins fans with us, I tried to cheer them up -- to no avail. The hard lines of despair were already beginning to etch themselves on their faces. I returned to my seat, troubled by their seriousness.
Finally, just before the end of the period, the Bruins fought back and scored. The next thing I knew, what should have been a forth period was being called overtime. I guess that’s why they call it a “period” -- a “third” would sound like you were talking about the minimum number of beers it takes to stay fully engaged in the game.
Perhaps hockey officials got so tired of low-scoring ties, that they decided to shorten the game and call the last quarter “overtime.”
Even though hockey overtime is sudden death, no one scored, sending the game into a shoot out. After Bruins won, deflating the home crowd, the Bruins fans proceeded to make absurd statements like “I knew they were going to win,” and “The Bruins dominated from the beginning.”
I only have two other complaints besides what I have scattered throughout my narrative. First, those uniforms stink. I tried to piece them together in my mind during the game and realized they were wearing shorts over top of what looked like winter underwear. I’ve only known one person to wear his clothes in that configuration, and most people described him with one word: goofy.
The other complaint is the way the game affects cross-border relations. If ever a game had foreign policy implications, hockey would be the one.
First, Canadians claim the game as their own. They play hockey and anyone who doesn’t appreciate it as much as they do should get used to the idea of hate mail (to quote a “true Canadian” friend of mine).
Americans have always played hockey too. But to a “true Canadian,” American players seem to be viewed as the annoying little brother that won’t stop asking if he can play with the big boys.
The only problem with this picture is that a Canadian city has not brought home a Stanley Cup since Montreal in 1993. Granted, it seems like most of these winning “American” teams are made up of Canadian players. But that just makes me wonder all the more why they should make it an issue of national pride if their players are willing to sell to highest (American) bidder.
Now excuse me while I take my bomb-sniffing dog to the mail box with me.