Monday, May 30, 2011

Canucks: Don't Blow It

Canadians love hockey so much we put it on our money along with a quote to rival scripture for its spiritual resonance:
"Les hivers de mon enfance étaient des saisons longues, longues. Nous vivions en trois lieux: l'école, l'église et la patinoire; mais la vraie vie était sur la patinoire."
It's from Roch Carrier's The Hockey Sweater (Le Chandail de Hockey) and translates as:
"The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places - the school, the church and the skating rink - but our real life was on the skating rink."
It's been said that the test for Canadian citizenship involves only two simple questions:

A. Who is this man?
B. What did he do? **

We take our game seriously and always without exception support our own when up against an American team for the Stanley Cup. But recently there's been a lot of trash-talk about how the Vancouver Canucks aren't "Canada's team" because they've got fewer Canadians (14) and more Americans (5) than the Boston Bruins (16/1), or because Vancouver has "more Starbucks than Tim Hortons, more sushi than chicken noodle." This is either a maniacal form of denial similar to a tea bagger laughing at Canada's "inferior" health care system, or a sadly transparent attempt to manufacture a controversy. Or perhaps it has something to do with "Deadmonton" being nothing more than a half-way house for wingnuts who lacked the fortitude to make the rest of the journey over the Rockies.

Whatever is driving the narrative, it's small beer. My main concern is Canuck fever. I don't mean the kind that has people tattooing Johnny Canuck on their foreheads or painting their toenails blue and green. Canuck fever is a wicked affliction that sucks the life out of great hockey players. I've watched some of the best succumb to its cruel lethargy and disappear into a malaise of what might have been. Yes, Vancouver is known as "Lotusland" and it's a locale that all too often has left our teams dazed and confused. But this year, I've got a feeling things have finally changed...

(** Answers:
A. Paul Henderson
B. Shook the world)

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