Volume 95, Issue 15

Wednesday, September 26, 2001
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Mustangs suffer first loss

Making some waves

Mustangs climb the mountain

Women's volleyball served up in Montreal

Let's have some hockey hooliganism

Let's have some hockey hooliganism

The man from Nantucket
Colin Butler
Managing Editor

With the NHL making its exhibition debut and the summer slowly melting into fall, it's only a matter of months before Canadian kids start strapping skates to their feet and taking to the frozen ponds across the country. Thinking of this sparks a small flame of nationalist fervor inside me, right next to my heart.

I don't think there exists a Canadian boy who, at at least one point in his life, didn't want to be a hockey player. I myself once caught the hockey bug, but my cartoon-like lack of grace on the ice grounded my hopes and ensured my dream would never became reality.

I think it had something to do with genetics.

You see, I could never quite balance myself properly on skates, something I blame on my family's Irish background. Those damn Irish genes – twisted and mauled by generations of drinking too much soupy, black draught – have made the Irishman's inner ear a medical oddity – they're only graceful when drunk.

As a Canadian of Irish decsent, I can walk a straight line and speak without slurring, even when my liver has reached the point of pickling, but put me on skates and I'll fall flat on my freckled face.

I came to terms with this sad reality years ago, decided to cut my losses early and turn my disadvantages into advantages. I decided I'd put my British blood to the betterment of mankind like many before me and watch from the stands – you see this inner ear problem is an affliction in most British people and it applies equally to soccer as it does to hockey.

British people are well-known soccer hooligans. It's the inner ear thing. It keeps most of them off the field and in the stands where their heroic intake of beer and greater than average propensity for violence is a boon and quite frankly, the greatest Vaudeville act on Earth.

It's because soccer is near and dear to the British heart, much like hockey is to ours. The British love it so much, they're willing to risk imprisonment and even their own lives for a silly game.

If hockey is so important to us, how come we're not willing to go above and beyond, not only the law, but fundemental human decency just to celebrate its existence?

I'm calling for hockey hooliganism. As Canadians, I think we're entitled to it. Especially in light of all the great players now coming out of Europe, we're not necessarily the best at our game anymore. Even if the sun sets completely on Canadian hockey dominance one day, the world should know we invented it.

I think nothing says love for a game better than the destruction of property and the rival fans' wills to live. Our love of the game should be measured in the number of smashed windows, looted merchandise and overturned vehicles at the end of any hockey tournament.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001