An outsiders insight into Canada's National Obsession: the National Hockey League, Preseason Started Today!
What is the world (the world on here from a Canadian's perspective) without an insight into the NHL! Guess what, preseason started today/ tonight! I was stoked. This site is based in Vancouver so everyone here should be Canucks fans, yet not always the case. I am talking hockey here, not the kind you play on a field, but Canada's national fixation- in my opinion the only thing that makes us all come together no matter what- known to the rest of the world as: ICE HOCKEY, or simply put HOCKEY!
For the most part Canadians are pretty much obsessed with hockey, not all- but for the entire season it fills the dishrag papers and the talk radio banter- I don't mean to insult the dishrag papers, I think anyone, the earlier they wake up will find something about their NHL locale in the morning easy read section to make you happy that you just woke up.
For those of you not familiar with Canadian provinces, for the most part the entire province will revolve around its closest market. Hence, the province of British Columbia revolves around the Vancouver Canucks and what the early morning crackpot commentator Neil MacCrae says in the morning courtesy of the Corus Radio Network.
Some Provinces have more than one team, only Alberta and Ontario so far. Quebec used to have two, and Manitoba lost their beloved Jets. I am sure most people have heard of the Toronto Maple Leafs (the team I can' t stand, naturally being from Vancouver) and the famous Montreal Canadians, but the truth is the large majority of teams are in the United States because that's where the big salaries are, which arguably led to a salary cap, in my opinion to the advantage of Canadians who more readily devote themselves to the Holy Grail of Hockey, the Stanley Cup.
Come playoff time, end of March until almost the end of June, the carflags fly and Canadian markets go crazy- of course it is the only time the American markets go nuts (and cover all their costs if their teams do well, a luxury we don't have in our underpopulated markets), except in the "hockey belt of States- Minnesota, Maine, Michigan and most of the Northeast," but still; hockey is not at the top of their list of priorities...
We don't have hockey firms in Canada, like the crazy hooligans you see on the show Football Factories. Well, their have been many past riots (Our beer and whiskey speaks for itself)- and idiots who show up to opposing teams arenas with the wrong colours/ jerseys either looking for trouble or just plain stupid (yet a true Canadian would find that politically incorrect, except if you add alcohol into that equation!), especially those with bitter rivalries, like Toronto and Vancouver, or Montreal and Toronto- you can definitely expect some action there. The point I am making is we don't have segregated sections to prevent violence, but it still happens.
The excitement will really start in 2010: Olympics in Vancouver- If the Canadian National Hockey Team does not win the Gold on our home turf, I am willing to put my hand on the bible and definitely say there will be a riot. Canadians are generally very easy going mild mannered and reserved- the only thing that can animate them, like what happens when you make fun of an American, in my opinion, is hockey!
So far I am happy, my Canucks beat the Edmonton Oilers tonight in a tight preseason match up with our star young 3rd stringer farm team American goalie in a European style shootout, something recently initiated into the NHL. There were lots of good fights on the ice- which is a part of the game that most people who are not familiar with the game don't quite understand, hence the great debate- we won't get into that - the fighting is great, end of subject! You gotta problem with it, take it outside!!!
Nonetheless, I am fortunate enough, or not so fortunate, because we don't have backyard rinks in Vancouver, like in the rest of the few acres of snow which Voltaire referred to as Canada, so I cannot play everyday free of charge, I have to look for icetime at a rink, which is expensive! However, I do look forward to my Canucks hopefully winning the Cup, something we have never done- last time we were there, the great playoff run in 1994, that forced the best of 7 series to a game 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York vs, the Rangers, and what resulted; a riot that tore downtown Vancouver apart.
My advice to the Vancouver Olympic Committee, total lockdown if we make it to the Gold medal game and lose, or quiet little Vancouver will turn into complete and utter chaos.
So that's Canada, and that's hockey, that's my take!
Go Canucks Go!