Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/19/05 at 03:31 PM ET
, In April, while on a book-promotion trip made possible because Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow had twiddled their thumbs and thumbed their noses at NHL fans, I detoured from media and bookstore appearances to speak to a fifth- and sixth-grade class at Blessed Sacrament School in Madison, Wis. When Father Pat Norris opened the floor to questions, they came in quick succession. And were they about books or writing? Nope. First question: "When's the NHL coming back?" And then, all from different kids: "Do you know Joe Sakic?" "Peter Forsberg?" "Steve Yzerman?" Yes, the Wisconsin Badgers' home arena was within walking distance, and the sport always has been almost as big a deal in Madison as Plaza Burgers and State Street Brats, but I still was surprised. It turned out that more than one of the students was a rink rat, and the hockey interest in the class largely crossed all the aisles. Interestingly, though, these kids were within driving distance of Chicago, but because they had limited opportunities to see the Blackhawks on television, they weren't asking about Jocelyn Thibault.
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