Saturday, March 20, 2010

Going for the Hat Trick

This news story relates a flight delay taken by Air Canada not for weather, not for mechanical, not for crew delays, but for hockey. It was the gold medal game between Canada and the US. The game was tied after three regulation periods (thanks to a literally last minute US goal) and had gone into sudden death overtime. The passengers simply refused to board the airplane until they had seen the winning goal.

Canadians, if everyone hasn't figured it out yet, love us some hockey. The streets across the country exploded with red and white clad fans as our men's and women's teams won Olympic gold last month. "Hockey" refers by default to ice hockey here. If we're talking about street hockey, roller hockey, or field hockey we'll specify. The last isn't very popular in Canada, especially not with me because I had to play it in elementary school phys ed in a skirt and without shin guards. The sticks were made of wood back then, some heavy dark shin-punishing wood. The latest kind of hockey for us to love is sledge hockey.

Sledge hockey is a winter hockey event for athletes with a permanent lower body disability. The players sit on little skate-runnered sledges and use sticks that have a regular blade on one end and a spike on the other, not for spearing, but to propel them around the ice. When these guys (I don't think there is women's sledge hockey) get checked into the boards, they're actually getting checked into the immobile boards, not the yielding plexiglass above the boards, and they always seem to cite this when interviewed about their sport, so I'm guessing any practice they got at pain tolerance while acquiring their disability comes into play here. It's a great game to watch, full of action and there's no professional league, so all the players are doing it just because they love to play. The bronze medal game is in a coupe of hours at 02Z and the gold medal game is tomorrow (March 20th) at 19Z. If it's not televised where you are, you can watch it on the net via Paralympic Sport TV.

A Hat Trick, for those from hockey-impoverished nations, is when the same player scores three goals in the same game. It is extended by metaphor to anyone doing anything three times.

Oh and more evidence that Canadians don't do anything else while the hockey is on.


amulbunny's random thoughts said...

I had to give text message updates to my dtr of the hockey game. I love hockey but the LA Kings so make me sad. Wish we had Sidney Crosbie here, I'd get season seats.

When I was little girls weren't allowed to play hockey on the men's rink. We could play broomball. Whoopdidooda. Probably saved our parents a lot of money in dental bills. Toe picks are your friend. LOL.

Rhonda said...

I saw a similar graph (via the work email-forward network) for Vancouver's water supply. It was over a longer time frame, and also included very distinct spikes for the commercial breaks in the closing ceremonies.

Anonymous said...

Not that this actually matters, but I think the term Hat Trick actually comes from cricket. And, according to wikipedia - a really, really long time ago. I wonder how much slang has that kind of longevity.

Aviatrix said...

Canada didn't make it to the gold medal hockey game, because Japan outsledged us. But I'm okay with that. Japan, I know from my friend Elizabeth at Screw Bronze, is a country where people in wheelchairs are regarded as needing an attendant to go out in public, and with terrible wheelchair accessibility. So Canada can forgo a medal in return for another country standing up and cheering for athletes who don't stand up.

Ward said...

Field hockey is insane - hard wooden sticks, hard wooden balls, no pads, no helmets... My wife always tells a story about how everyone in her (girls) school, including the most athletic students, suddenly became physically inept when they had to play field hockey in PE.

We couldn't stand the tension of watching the game, so we went to the Northern Pavilion for most of the 3rd period, then watched the OT on the bigscreen TV they had downstairs. Then, even though it's only about 6 blocks, it took an hour to get home through the crowds.

k1mgy said...

I must count myself one of (apparently) the few who find little of interest in sport, particularly hockey.

The single game I attended was years ago in Boston. Seated just behind the protective plexiglass I was treated to viewing at close range several players bludgeoning one another. A charming fellow with missing teeth (no wonder) had another player pinned against the glass with his stick.

Recently the Boston Globe ran a nice piece on players who were throwing punches at one another. Again, at least one of these had missing teeth.

I suppose there is something worthwhile in this sport, but frankly I am unable to locate it.

dpierce said...

I've never seen anyone in Japan in a wheelchair with an attendant! But if I were in a wheelchair in Japan, I'd probably move out away from the cities where there's room.

Urbanized areas of Japan are just so dense with people and things. Even if you have two perfectly good legs, moving through the aisles of some shops requires tight maneuvering. Crazy little winding staircases and uneven flooring are both pretty typical. The goal is to be efficient and cram as much functionality as possible in the smallest space you can afford. I'd guess (in all seriousness) to make much of Japan wheelchair accessible, you'd have to bulldoze civilization, expand the island by a factor of two or more, and start over.

Twice a year when our bases (built to western standards) were open to the Japanese public, many would simply lay on the grass and stare at the sky. I'll never forget that. They viewed our relative surplus of space as either wonderful or grossly wasteful of precious resource.