News reports today say 26.5 million Canadians watched at least part of the game. Out of a population of just under 34 million.
One reason I didn’t watch is that I no longer like hockey. Oh, I’ll go watch a parishioner play at the local rink a couple times a year. But on tv? Or spend $$ for a ticket? No thanks.
I was a big fan as a child. I still have a Canucks jersey in the closet, and many of my old hockey cards. And a table hockey game.
But I long ago tired of the violence in hockey. Epitomized in this quote: “You might spear a guy in the face, fight a guy, elbow a guy, slash a guy or just make a clean bodycheck... if they don’t know what I’m going to do, I hold the trump card.” So said Chris Pronger (Sports Illustrated, Dec 9, 2009 p.110), one of Canada’s Olympians. One of our representatives, one of our best players at “our game.”
Because nothing says “Canadian” like a sport that tolerates intentional attempts to injure...?
Backyard shinny on a frozen pond? That says ‘Canadian’ to me. And street hockey. But the game has become so organized, so rink-based. And the violence and anger constantly shocks me, with stories of parents fighting while their 15/16 year old kids play. Not so ‘Canadian’ I think.
Others have said (most recently Don Cherry, but you can ignore him) that if Canada had won 20 gold, but missed it in men’s (and women’s?) hockey, the Games would have been a failure. That’s how much the sport is “our game.”
Clearly I am out of step with the culture and country I live in. So tell me: Where should I live instead? For my fellow Canadians, it’s a chance to tell me “where to go,” a verbal high-sticking if you like. For international friends, make the case for why I should be in another part of the world.