Volume 96, Issue 13
Thursday September 19, 2002

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Hockey

I've had a lot of fun at bars in my time. Usually the experience was aided by the warm, fuzzy feeling brought on by having a few drinks, but the warmest, fuzziest feeling I have ever had in a bar came without even a sniff of beer.

Watching Canada's Olympic hockey team march to the gold medal during last February's Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, right here on campus at The Wave, with hundreds of other screaming university students of both sexes and many races, was one of the most unique experiences of my life.

Bringing Canadians together seems to be what hockey does best. Forgive the fromage factor here, but there is no debating what this game means to the people of Canada.

What is debatable is just where the first face-off occurred. Toronto, Kingston and a slew of Maritime towns all make a case for being the birth place of hockey, but the most prevalent notion is the first game of hockey that has the closest resemblance to the game we know today took place in Montreal in the late 1870s.

In 1893, the dreams of young hockey players were given substance when British member of parliament Lord Stanley of Preston donated a cup to the sport, which he purchased for roughly $50. Almost immediately it was known as the Stanley Cup and became the symbol of hockey supremacy in North America.

Hockey has produced not only Canadian heroes, but also some Canadian criminals.

Former National Hockey League Players Association boss Alan Eagleson spent time in prison for defrauding players and every Toronto Maple Leafs fan shudders at the name of the late Harold Ballard. The team owner from the late '60s to the late '80s, spent time in jail during the early 1970s.

If it's true that sports is the opiate of the masses, than Canada's toxin of choice is clear – forever and always, hockey will be our game.

–Ryan Dixon

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2002 THE GAZETTE