Above the Glass
by Samantha on 05/17/12 at 06:21 PM ET
The junior hockey off season, that is. Unless of course your team is lucky enough to be competing for the Memorial Cup, which runs from May 17 - 27. Alas, my team is not. The Portland Winterhawks’ season is over after a crushing defeat in Game 7 of the WHL finals on Sunday. But very best wishes to the very worthy and totally loaded Edmonton Oil Kings as they seek to bring the Memorial Cup back to the Dub. I still have NHL playoff hockey to keep me busy of course, but here on the local front, it means no more live and in person hometown games. And so, it’s time to prepare for the battle known as the off season. In this first of two installments, I’ll look at how to recognize it’s time to get a non-hockey hobby or two.
Yes, I’ve done all these things. So here are my tips for recognizing that the battle has begun:
That looks familiar. Everything you watch on TV or at the summer movies looks or sounds like hockey in some way. One liners on half hour sitcoms sound like chirps. Big oversized actors look like defensemen with a deadly slapshot. And action movies have a plot not unlike Game 6 of the WHL finals, in which the Winterhawks roared back from the brink of elimination to force Game 7.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You automatically turn on the Center Ice channels and there’s an empty screen—or if you have my cable provider, a baseball game or two—and you watch it anyway, in case hockey replays should accidentally reappear. I find that if you stare at the screen long enough, you can hallucinate to the point where you actually do see a hockey game.
Extra, extra, read all about it. Where would fans be without 24-7 off season hockey news on NHL Network, TSN, Buzzing the Net, and the like? It wasn’t that long ago that hockey fans lived for three whole months with only a kibble here and there on draft day or free agent frenzy day. Thanks to modern media, we can now simply treat the off season as a long pre-season in which we pontificate about who will go where in the draft, summertime roster moves and whether at last, our team will return to the Stanley Cup. It’s not the same as watching a game, but it beats doing this:
Where’s the game? You automatically drive to the rink on Friday, only to realize you’ve in fact just paid $10 to park at an international cat show for which you in fact don’t have a ticket.
More importantly, where are the snacks? You plan your Friday around barbecue nachos, only to arrive at the cat show, starving, ticketless and alone among non-hockey appreciators who love warm and fuzzy kittens with ribbons and have never heard of barbecue nachos or the Winterhawks. The good news is you can go stand out on the corner and scalp your parking pass to a passerby/cat lover. Time it right and you may even be able to profit by charging more to the last minute cat fans who didn’t plan ahead for parking and such.
Gold star for doing the math. I have started counting down on the calendar to remind myself that each passing day is one day closer to Winterhawks training camp and the WHL/NHL pre-seasons. I may even put a little gold star on each week to reward myself for being a productive citizen during the previous seven days. Once it hits sixty days to training camp, then it’s really only two months, and I may actually return to thinking and behaving like a normal person.
Meeting, what meeting? Work calls you at home, worried that you haven’t shown up at all. You apologize because you thought everyone was a hockey fan and therefore was hiding under their kitchen table eating chocolate covered Oreos and skipping work until the season starts again.
Up next: How to embrace warm and fuzzy ribbon kittens, recipes for barbecue nacho-free snacks, healthy alternatives to Oreos and a suggested timeline for moving out from under the kitchen table.
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About Above the Glass
Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.
I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.
Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass