From Africa To Hamilton – A Hockey Introduction

"What is this 'Cross' check you speak of?" Even the Pope has hockey questions.

“What is this ‘Cross’ check you speak of?” Even the Pope would have had hockey questions.

Hockey can be harder to explain than to the uninitiated than one might think. My wife was familiar, passingly, with the sport when we met, and over the years she has come to love hockey and the Washington Capitals (last night’s performance excepted). As she puts it, she “married into hockey,” though she didn’t necessarily count on all the OFB time as part of the bargain.

Though she has embraced the sport, some of the nuances still elude her — just like most casual fans. For instance: Icing. She understands the basic concept of it, but can’t recognize when it’s going to happen. Though she’s not alone, as evidenced by this excerpt from her 2008 visit to the Caps’ Hockey N’ Heels event:

“I still cannot understand icing, so I asked [Coach Boudreau], ‘I don’t understand icing, how do I look for it?’ He replied that a lot of the times even he doesn’t know whether it’s going to be called or not.” 

But how does someone who’s never seen a game, let alone an ice rink, react to hockey? In the spirit of discovery and neighborliness, Scott Radley of The Hamilton Spectator gave a visitor from Zimbabwe his first taste of hockey at a Hamilton Bulldogs game. Check out Radley’s article for a good read; excerpt below.

“What is the major difference between ice hockey and regular hockey?” Shakeman asked.

Regular hockey?

This is regular hockey.

Of course, I didn’t say that out loud. Politeness and all, y’know. Besides, for someone from Zimbabwe where hockey is field hockey, where winter is a comfortable 20 degrees most of the time, and where ice is … well … there is no ice, it was a fair question. If completely unanswerable, all at once. So I stuck with the only reply I could come up with on the spot.

“Pretty much everything.”

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1 Response to From Africa To Hamilton – A Hockey Introduction

  1. Jason Simmons says:

    It is hard to explain the game, it can be just as hard to explain why it is important.
    For a Hockey Fan or Canadian – It just is!

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