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Above the Glass

Tips for surviving hockey withdrawal

I think we know what Canucks and Bruins fans will be up to this weekend. But what about the rest of us, who find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the off season with no parades or Stanley Cup celebrations to partake of? There really should be some NHL collective bargaining agreement rule that dictates Stanley Cup Final Game 7s must be played on a Friday to allow a 48-hour grace period for fans to recover and properly prepare for the off season. Since they do not, we must deal with hockey withdrawal on a weekday, whilst attempting to work, negotiate rush hour traffic and watch the morning news. I was raised to believe that there were better ways to deal with my emotions than to set cars on fire or loot the large department store where my parents used to buy me Garanimals outfits for school. Instead, I offer a few non-violent and legal tips to help fans survive the next few days and weeks with our minds and bodies intact.

1. Chocolate. Obviously a must. I’ve already gotten a jump on my off season training regimen, but then I fell off the wagon and went to Krispy Kreme on Sunday when I realized that the end of the season was mere days away. In deciding which option to self-medicate with, I rationalized that the new baked chocolate creme doughnut is an acceptable snack for the off season training regimen because it is baked. Now mind, it is basically a supersized Hostess cupcake, but I have automatically saved hundreds of calories by not eating the fried counterparts like the chocolate glazed custard filled doughnuts. Therefore, totally acceptable off-season snack/self-medication.

2.Golf. I will be watching the U.S. Open simply to see which pair of Phil Mickelson’s pants are the ugliest. Apparently, there are people who will actually be watching for sport and to see if he wins. Your choice, really. But I’m still keeping track of the ugly pants.

3. Remember there is hockey being played somewhere this summer. Like say, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where young junior hockey players will convene for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament this August. Fifteen WHL players have been chosen to attend Canada’s Under-18 Summer Selection Camp in July, where they will vie for a spot on the roster. Among the invitees are Portland Winterhawks Brendan Leipsic and Derrick Pouliot, who bring experience to the table having played in the World Under-17 Challenge. On the loose playing hockey in Europe before you turn 18….I will be secretly jealous and outwardly proud. If Portland fans can’t go to Europe ourselves, we will be proud to live vicariously through Derrick and Brendan. Good luck and send a postcard.

4. Look to the future. Portland fans are in full-on hype mode for the draft next weekend. It’s not game day. It’s not a Stanley Cup Final. But it will do very nicely, thank you. If you live in a junior hockey town, I imagine you will be doing the same thing we are: partying. Five Winterhawks are on the final NHL Central Scouting rankings, and I would look for a surprise pick like Taylor Peters wedged in there somewhere. I don’t know why, but the numbers 7 and 8 have been floating around in my head, so I’m sticking with Sven Bartschi at 7 and Joe Morrow at 8, with Ty Rattie to follow them around 10th. Experts may put Ty higher than Joe and/or Sven, but I’m voting with my heart and I’m sticking to my story. In the end, it really doesn’t matter as long as they get drafted highly. Tyler Wotherspoon is also ranked in the top 40 and I would look for him to go somewhere late in the first round or early in the second round.

Alternative in the event the above suggestions don’t work for you: You could just move to a closet and count the days until the NHL regular season starts again. Your choice, really.  Just make sure you take enough baked chocolate snacks to last for the 110 days until the NHL regular season starts.

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NIVO's avatar

another thing to add, if’n your a gamer. Play some Hockey on pc, or console or whatever type you have and enjoy. Try out some modes you wouldnt normally play and challenge yourself. Its atleast something…....and you get Gary Thorne and Bill Clement just like old times smile

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 06/17/11 at 04:02 AM ET

Matt Fry's avatar

Yeah NIVO.  That usually gets me through the offseason too.

On the plus side, we at least have CFL football in Canada so it’s at least something to take the place of hockey for the weekend.

Posted by Matt Fry from Winnipeg on 06/17/11 at 12:14 PM ET


I’m not a gamer, but I might give it a try since it keeps the hockey going. And if you are a diehard CFL fan, you may be interested to know that I went to high school with Jon Volpe. Thanks for reading and for the additional tips.

Posted by Samantha from Portland, Oregon on 06/17/11 at 02:32 PM ET

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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

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com