Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/31/10 at 12:15 AM ET
from Andrew Podnieks of IIHF.com,
Canada’s junior players often eschew the high fives at the bench in favour of elbow hugs, knocking elbows together instead of gloves after a goal. They are the only team at any level to do this.
“It started last year,” said captain Ryan Ellis, a member of the team in 2010. “Some of the western boys started doing it, and we’ve been doing it this year as well.”
Brayden Schenn, a Saskatoon native and the scoring star for Canada the last two games, shed further light on the ritual. “It started with a group of Brandon boys called The Wagons, a group that played in the summer. We just adopted it last year and kept it going this year.”
Young fans of the game can’t possibly fathom an earlier generation when the entire players’ bench would empty after most goals. This was the 1970s. The NHL brought an end to this practice, though, because it often led to bench-clearing brawls, the scored-upon team none too happy, and the scoring team delighted.
It was in Canadian junior hockey that players came up with a solution to the problem. They wanted to celebrate a goal as a team, but weren’t allowed to leave the bench, so the five skaters on ice would skate by their players’ bench and high-five their teammates on the bench.
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