Volume 92, Issue 62

Tuesday, January 19, 1999


Play nice - like a good ol' Canadian

Let the renter beware

A special time of year

No one is above ridicule

Keep separation alive

Play nice - like a good ol' Canadian

Re: Childhood hockey

To the Editor:

I grew up in a small town in Northern Ontario, with dreams like any other Canadian kid of playing one day for my beloved Maple Leafs. Pond hockey was like church and the Panini sticker album my bible. We fought over who could be Wendel Clark or Wayne Gretzky – it was all in good fun.

As time progressed, I was brought to the crushing reality that I would never skate in the National Hockey League. I played for a small town team with no superstars but our coach always stressed the core of Canadian hockey is heart. I could never skate faster, shoot harder or pass better than anyone, but I could hit like a son of a bitch and played hard like I was taught – as any Canadian boy did.

I will be the first to admit in any contact sport people get hurt. You play with a fear which instills intensity, aggression and adrenaline thus allowing you to take your play to the proverbial next level. When you play contact hockey you must make split second decisions – including is the hit you are about to lay legal?

I made some questionable decisions, hits that perhaps weren't warranted, but like any true Canadian or hockey player at that, I played hard and in no way was I a cheap shot artist. Not by any means, but when you play hard, people pay and I was prepared to take one for the team.

I play intramural hockey at Western, non-contact, but still aggressive and the refs let us decide the game. This week I was racing for a puck which would have given me a breakaway. The goalie raced for the puck, I raced for the puck and just inside the blue line we collided. It happens, I did not run the goalie, we both wanted the puck. Simple.

I got up, he got up and I received a couple shots to the face, which was fine. I realized I had hit their goalie and I would have done the same. I received a proper penalty and the game went from there. I have no problem with anything as of yet.

Perhaps the greatest Canadian tradition is forgetting that you were just trying to beat the crap out each other and shake your opponents' hands. In no other sport do you do this – not baseball, basketball, football. Tears of blood are often shed in this solely Canadian ritual and it is incredible to watch.

Upon the end of our game I was shaking hands with the team who just moments ago were trying to put my head on a platter and everything was forgotten. Until I attempted to shake hands with the goalie and he attempted to rearrange my face with his blocker.

You don't see NHL players having line brawls after the Stanley Cup finals do you? No, that would be disgraceful to their teams and themselves and tag them as spoiled or bad losers.

Think about that the next time you attack someone who has removed their helmet and is congratulating you on a good game. After all, it is only a game... for most of us anyway.

Brent MacCannell
Social Science I

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Copyright The Gazette 1999