By Doktor Z
The family and I just completed a tour of the Niagara Falls region of Ontario as you may know from my previous post. The bambino was in awe of the Niagara Falls, the Lady was in her element with outlet shopping galore and yours truly was intoxicated in hockey heaven. Reminded me of how Ohio State football permeates Columbus 24-7, 365 days a year. One day, I hope it is Blue Jackets hockey, dammit! Mr. McConnell, are you listening, sir?
Canada is unequivocally in love with hockey and now I understand why they claim it to be “Our game! Our country!”. I always thought it to be a bit arrogant on their part to chant that during games but it is more than just arrogance. It’s a sense of ownership and entitlement which is a topic unto itself. While we have our share of “hockey is numero uno” locales like Minnesota, Buffalo, Detroit, Boston and so forth, the Canadians have us beat hands-down when it comes to true passion for the game shared by the majority of the population.
My run in with Mrs. Chester (see previous post) ought to tell you that even beady looking grandmas know hockey and are bloody territorial about it and make no bones about it. While I enjoyed my visit with her, it hit a raw nerve in me about my favorite sport and how my country did not embrace it like our neighbors to the north. On the long-drive back, I vowed to myself that if not in my lifetime then at least in the bambino’s lifetime, he will see hockey capture the hearts, minds and imagination of the the American people and become OUR national sport. I say, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of HOCKEY, dammit!”
The hotel we stayed in was a mid-range hotel and had a sign posted in the lobby that read as follows:
Courtesy Notice from Hotel Management: We do not permit the use of hockey sticks and pucks on hotel premises. Violators will be warned the first time and repeat violators will have equipment confiscated until departure. Storage fees will apply.
And, sure enough we saw youth hockey teams arriving on the day of our departure. Not that we have not seen overnight youth hockey teams at hotel in our travels around Ohio but never have we seen a sign posted like the one above. This has got to tell you something about the hockey-crazy nation of Canada. I suppose it’s like what soccer is to Brazil, eh?
On our last night, we had dinner at Don Cherry’s Bar & Grill. This was my first visit and was really looking forward to it. So, there was nothing extraordinary about it then what you may find at your run-of-the-mill sports bar except this was all about hockey. I mean, serious hockey paraphernalia all over. As you would expect, it was filled to the brim with Canadian national team pictures and award along with Canadian NHL teams save for Buffalo Sabres. A bevy of beauties provided table service and I had to try my hardest not to gawk mostly because the Lady and the bambino were sitting across the table from me. I did not want to serve any time in the “penalty box” if you know what I mean. :)
The sacrifice I had to make with this trip was missing out on the full-house yesterday at the Ice Haus and watching our prospects in action. Thanks to the wonderful coverage by Porty, Arace et al at the Dispatch and the Blue Jackets blogosphere, it made me feel like I was right there witnessing the cheers of “Boooooone’s” and “Let’s Go, Jackets!”. There is hope for the future and let’s look to our friends to the north for a couple of pointers as we strive to become the next great bastion of NHL hockey! Remember our goal: Life, LIberty and the Pursuit of Hockey, dammit!