Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

HOCKEY

November 21, 1974 Sense and Nonsense

Hockey was once described to me as “Canada’s national disease”. The person who made this statement did so in a very low voice and was gazing furtively in every direction. He realized that hockey fans are everywhere, and one can’t be too careful when making discriminating remarks against the game. To dislike hockey is to dislike the whole Canadian way of life. It is akin to casting a slur on motherhood, apple pie, and Wayne and Shuster.

One can drape themselves from head to foot in the Canadian flag, make friends with beavers and refer to our leader and his wife as “Pierre and Maggie” but that is not enough. To be a real Canadian one must know and love at least something about hockey. The first thing I learned when my son joined minor hockey was that it is expensive. All those weird looking things that they lace, zip and belt onto various parts of the body are lined with purest gold. They are essential though, to keep the kids out of the hospital.

The only part of the body that is not protected is the eyes. I am hoping that they will soon come out with something to protect them as well. The kids may not be able to see where they are going on the ice, but that is better than losing an eye. They could take their eye-guards off for the most important part of the game anyway: buying goodies at the concession booth.

Kids do enjoy playing hockey. They seem to have fun even when they lose a game. One kid was even smiling after his team lost 11-1. He philosophized that they would have won if it wasn’t for the opposing teams’ goalie….seems that his team had more shots on goal!

His parents weren’t smiling though. The coffee wasn’t very strong that morning but I noticed them chewing vigorously as they drank. Come to think of it, it could have been the plastic cups it came in, that they were eating. It was a before-breakfast game and we were all very hungry. I wish they would make those cups out of more palatable material. Mine tasted terrible.

I have watched quite a few minor hockey games and most of the Canada-Russia series on T.V. but I am still baffled at some of the terminology. Icing the puck is a no-no I have learned. It seems to me that there is no way they can keep that puck from getting iced up when the surface that they play on is ice. The trick, I suppose, is to keep batting the thing around so the friction keeps it warm and ice-free.

A face-off sounds disfiguring but the players involved seem more interested in the puck than in maiming their opponents. I was told that an offside is where the player beats the puck across one of the lines which are painted on the ice. He must be a pretty good man to do that. I understand that a puck travels very fast and has been clocked at up to 121 miles per hour. Of course if the puck has a lot of ice on it, it probably travels much slower.

I wonder why the only player to wear a mask is the goalie. Could it be that he has been maimed to the point of disfigurement in past games and is now so ugly he is no longer a crowd pleaser? I would like to suggest that I am sure he is not that bad and those masks look like something out of a Boris Karloff horror movie.

Someone suggested that the goalie is not always a guy but sometimes is a girl in disguise. Hockey is supposed to be a male-only game. Women’s Lib could easily install a few members behind the nets as a start to dissolving this male chauvinistic stronghold.

If Bernie Parent turned out to be a woman, a lot of people would be surprised!

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