Above the Glass
by Samantha on 06/23/11 at 04:30 PM ET
When I was little, my father used to pull up to the McDonald’s drive-thru window with the family unit in the car and order “Big Macs all around.” Like the poor high school student taking his order could telepathically see how many of us were in the car, and therefore he didn’t need to announce how many burgers he wanted. I don’t know why, but I remembered that when I was watching the NHL Awards on Wednesday and it made me think “awards all around.” Players, coaches and GMs get big shiny objects for everything from leadership to community service to gentlemanly play. But I noticed that nowhere does the league give out awards to the ordinary superstars who support, watch, promote and otherwise contribute to the game beyond the ice. In recognition of this unmet need, I have devised my own system of awards for the everyday people who help ensure that players and fans alike enjoy an optimal hockey experience.
Rose Scented Nose Award: Given to an outstanding equipment manager who displays an uncanny ability to ignore the notorious stench of hockey gear whilst ensuring that every last piece of said equipment is sharpened, washed, repaired or replaced, and transported back to its rightful place on game day. Other outstanding characteristics recognized by this award are the lack of fear of skate sharpening machines, blowtorches and other large equipment used to keep hockey gear running in tip-top shape.
Pilsner Award: Given to the bartender who knows how to pour a full beer so you get your money’s worth without overdoing it such that you end up leaving a trail of overspill from the bar to your seat, leaving unsuspecting fans to slip on it on the way to their seats. This individual is also recognized for his or her ability to pay attention to what regular customers like to drink and pour it up every time without asking, and a willingness to cut off fans who are already well past the two drink
maximum that many rinks rarely enforce.
Don’t Even Think About It Award: Recognizes a security staff member who must contend with overzealous fans who hang on to the glass for the purpose of laying down smack talk or taking a swipe at players, dish out smack talk to players as they leave the rink, throw objects on the ice or who get into section-clearing fights at key moments of the game. This award recognizes the outstanding individual who is able to remove fans from the rink when needed with minimal bodily damage to themselves, fans or others, or who successfuly avert any of the above disasters before they happen.
Mr. and Ms. Clean Award: The clean up crews who must dispense with piles of peanut shells, empty or half-empty acohol containers, discarded hot dogs, half-eaten bags of popcorn and other post-game waste have one of the most thankless jobs in the business. This team award recognizes an outstanding clean-up crew, chosen for their ability to render the rink just like new before the next game. Traits recognized include teamwork, commitment, attention to detail and a demonstrated ability to understand that they are making it possible for thousands of hockey fans to enjoy the game night in and night out, even if we don’t thank them for it.
Up next: It’s the moment Portland Winterhawks fans have waited for all season: the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Look for plenty of draft coverage from the Portland party scene this weekend. Well, ok, it’s beer and food that’s bad for us at Big Al’s in Beaverton and Vancouver on a Friday afternoon, but it’s still a party. If you live in the Rose City, come on down and join us.
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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