Hockey! Hockeyhockeyhockeyhockeyhockeyhockey! (Photo by Jim Flannery)
The start of the 2015/2016 NHL season is still several days away and I’m already sick of the hockey season.
Here’s the thing: I’m a sports fan. I like a wide variety of sports for a wide variety of reasons.
I love curling because I think it’s one of the most fun sports anyone can play AND because it’s a game that really anybody can learn and become decent at. But I can’t stand watching it because it’s like watching a chess match—you could distill all the action of a two-hour curling game into less than an hour without missing a single second of play and even that would be pretty slow and ponderous, with all the guards being set up and shit.
I love baseball because it’s the perfect blend of mano a mano competition and team sport, with the duel between batter and pitcher combined with the defense working together to thwart the offense.
I love box lacrosse because it is hands-down the best spectator sport ever invented. It’s fast, it’s rough, it’s highly skilled. Sadly, it’s also wildly under-publicized so way too few people know about it.
I love golfing because, like curling, anyone can do it and have fun, plus it’s an an enjoyable time out on a picturesque course, getting some fresh air and some exercise while (hopefully) not becoming too frustrating.
I love football for its strategy, its aggression and its athleticism. Of course, Canadian football is fundamentally better than American football, but I’ve written about that before.
And then there’s hockey. As a Canadian, I’ve been steeped in hockey culture since I was born. Occasionally my parents still like to bust out the 40+ year old tape of me as an infant (two years old?) where my dad is asking me questions about hockey and I tell him my favourite player is “George” and that hockey is awesome because “hockey players throw gubs (gloves) on ice and fitten, don’t they?” It actually sounds pretty cute and would no doubt be a viral hit on You Tube these days if they had the tech in the early 70s to video tape it.
In the last few years, with the advent of multiple Canadian sports channels, the NHL has basically taken up most of the sports narrative in this country. Here we are in the first weekend of October, the Toronto Blue Jays are getting a whole bunch of press right now because they have finally bought their way into the MLB playoffs for the first time in 22 years, but after that, the sports news is hockey. Which rookies will make the team? Which veterans won’t? Who’s recovering from injury? Which coaches are already worried about their jobs? Should the girls who shovel the snow off the ice during stoppages in play be dressed so scantily? Should we just go ahead and erect a statue of Connor McDavid in front of the Parliament Buildings right now as the greatest Canadian ever?
Meanwhile, the CFL season is in the home stretch with several interesting story lines still in play, the NFL season is in full swing with several more story lines ongoing, Jordan Speith became the youngest golfer since Tiger Woods to be named PGA Tour Player of the Year, and the NLL just had what is generally considered to be the deepest draft in their history, followed by an interesting and at times controversial awards night and I didn’t see so much as a footnote worth of coverage by any media outlet that isn’t lacrosse specific in nature.
I don’t hate hockey. I’m planning to attend four-to-six games this season. But holy crap, can we get a break from all the hockey coverage and have a few minutes spent on something else?
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