Friday, November 16, 2007

Hockey on the rocks

Wandering up the stairs to the Everett Event Center, last Wednesday, I contemplated the step before me -- a simple game of Hockey. I had been told it would be a good first experience.

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.
<< Home 4 Comments:
Blogger Kristi said...

Oh wow. Kudos to you for enduring that! (and hopefully Casey isn't reading this :)

10:23 PM, November 16, 2007  
Blogger Anna said...

Love your sarcasm when you tell stories!

10:11 AM, November 17, 2007  
Anonymous Jerret said...

Hockey is actually a sport it takes time to learn. And even when you learn strategy it is not fun to watch. But it is great to play. I will forever remember my Bellingham Pee Wee hockey team in high school that took a beating from all the bigger Canadian teams with kids that were the same age. I don't know what is in that Canadian water but those kids looked about 10 years older than me. We didn't do the country proud. Also, a majority of NHL players are now from Eastern Europe or Scandanavia. Not only that but in the past 15 years 2 Canadian teams came from Canada to the US (Winnipeg Jets became Phoenix Cayotes and Quebec Nordiques became Colorado Avalanche). Another major reason for Canadian teams not doing well is most players want to play in the U.S. because for most of the past 15 years the American dollar was stronger than the Canadian. Now that has changed and they are even. Maybe more players will start to go to Canada, but who knows. Hope the new gig is going well Reimers.

Your Socialist Arch Enemy,

10:40 PM, November 18, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Mark, to stick up for my countrymen and country ...

If you look at the place of birth for most of the players in the NHL on Stanley Cup-winning teams (especially the key players), you would find that they were Canadian.

Oddly enough, my thesis is going to deal with many of these and other related questions, since my collection of short stories will all be about (in some regard) hockey.

Now, isn't your interest piqued? ;)

- Jason the Frank.

10:35 PM, November 20, 2007  

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