Originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Thu, 04/14/2011 – 08:51
It’s 7:45pm. It’s a rare evening because I’m not at the shop so I’m sitting at my dining room table. My daughter has just been put to bed. Life is good. Life is relaxing. Then, from what must have been the depths of the earth, male voices like what I imagined a middle-eastern uprising might sound like exploded into the night. Sounds like ‘YAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ and ‘F@#$ YAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!’ and ‘WOOOOOOOOOOO!’ resounded and shook my hardwood floor (well, just the top is real hardwood). Then came a stomping sound. Were they marching? How near is this attack to my home and family? Then the slamming of fists on walls and tables. Were they angry? Is this a cult gathering and I am to be their next sacrificial animal, ripe for the slaughter? Did I prepare my will and who will get my classical guitar?
No. These are hockey fans. Or, more precisely, Canucks fans. Why do I distinguish between a ‘hockey fan’ and a ‘Canucks fan’?
Mr. Peter ____ [insert Greek last name of your choice here..like Panagopolous], a reasonable and well-tempered man, explains with his example story:
<blockquote>So this Czech woman arrives in Canada. She doesn’t know what to do but she knows that there is a big hockey game on tonight – Canada versus the Czech Republic. So, she decides to go to the bar and meet some men and watch the game. When she arrives at the bar, it’s empty. She was confused as she was under the impression that Canadians were hockey fans. She found out that the NHL playoffs were on and no one cared about anything except when the Canucks were playing. </blockquote>
I nodded my head in agreement. These Vancouverites missed the federal election debate to watch a hockey game. I immediately thought about the Middle East and wondered if they would miss a national political event that could compromise their very lives to watch a game of..actually, I don’t know what sport they watch there… anyways.. Well.. the point is, I didn’t watch the debate either, but I don’t have any TV connection. If I did, though, let it be known I would have watched Iggy vs the Harpster any day of the week. I might have even let out a gentle ‘woot’ of approval if I saw my side winning.
Thankfully, Mr. Edward Garcia (@edstweets), a local broadcaster for a well-known radio station, helped bring some balance:
<blockquote>Hockey [editor note: Canuck hockey] is the ‘great bringer-togetherer of the people’. Two musicians might not be able to go to a concert together because they do not both like death metal. They are not like-minded about the topic and therefore cannot enjoy the event together. In a similar manner, if you support the Liberals, it is difficult to go to a Conservative or NDP political rally and enjoy the event. You are not in accord. You are not like-minded. With hockey, a Liberal can watch a game a conservative and have a good time.</blockquote>
The only problem is that I can’t seem to enjoy this game called hockey. Believe me. I tried. My dad is a fan of fans. He was born in Winnipeg and played hockey outside on the river (or something like that). He talks about ‘icing’ and ‘body checks’ and stuff like that. But… I just don’t get it.
I like hockey more than soccer, though. I’ve sat back and observed both sports on TV. I even played soccer when I was a kid but the goal post fell on me during a wind storm so I gave that up. But watching sports? Hockey is better because it seems faster. They get more goals in less time so it is therefore better. It has more drama put into a shorter amount of time. It’s like Korean dramas versus north american soap operas.
So this milk delivery dude comes today and the first thing he says is “How about that game last night, eh?” To this I could only reply, “I heard it was pretty good but it sure killed my evening sales at the store.” I don’t want to say “I don’t care about your temporal and relatively meaningless game.” I also don’t want to admit that I didn’t watch it in case my citizenship may be called into question followed my imminent witch-hunt with me as the scape-goat poster-boy (FYI I put hyphens all over the place there because I didn’t know which words needed them).
So, the big question is not so much ‘Why do people get hyped about hockey?’ but more about ‘Should I get hyped about the Canucks?’ or ‘Am I a loser if I don’t get hyped about the Canucks?’
In conclusion, I still don’t give a rats arsenic about hockey or the Canucks but I’m open to people trying to force me into conversion.
PS. [editor’s note: Is it ok to put a PS in a blog?] Someone asked me why I don’t have a TV in my cafe and my answer was because I didn’t want to watch the game.
originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Wed, 04/27/2011 – 13:35
I won’t deny that the first two items in the title were designed to get you to read my article. I actually have no idea how to win friends or influence people but you could try money as a starter.
No – what I’m writing about today is how to predict the outcome of NHL playoff games – and with perfect accuracy. I found it relatively amusing to watch facial expressions when I told my customers that I was writing an article about hockey. This is actually my second article about hockey. As a professional sports writer (I just keep giving myself new titles as I go along here) I have to pump out the articles to keep the readers satisfied. Here is my first hockey article: http://waynetaylor.ca/why-the-hockey-hype/
For the following explanations, I will be using Chicago Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks.
Step 1: Don’t Watch any Hockey
Watching hockey will influence your predictions. You must vigilantly remain unbiased. After all – it’s hard not to feel sorry for the underdog or cheer for a team that lives near you. Since I wouldn’t know a Canuck from a Mighty Duck, I am in a perfect position. Many people ask if I am ‘for real’. When I ask ‘How’d the game turn out last night?” the countenance of most people will drop and they’ll ask if I’m serious. Of course I’m serious. I’m a professional NHL Playoff Predictor (NHLPP). It’s acceptabl to hear information from others, but make sure that you don’t actually participate.
Step 2: Research the Political Landscape of the Two Teams
The Canucks needed to win game seven because Canada has a federal election coming next week. If there weren’t games going on last week, the people would have had to take a serious look at how dismal their voting options really are. They also might have noticed that somehow Jack Layton increased in popularity. Surely he is friends with a few NHL team owners and asked for a favour. “Hey, man. I need you guys to keep these people occupied for another week while I slip in the back door and take a large share of the ridings. There will be tax breaks for professional sports coming down the pipe I’m thinking…”
Step 3: Understand the Business of Hockey (where the $$$ flows)
As an unbiased hockey outsider I’ve noticed that NHL players get paid quite a bit. I’m sure the owners do alright as well. Where does that money come from? I haven’t actually studied this but I’m guessing that the following sources produce most of the revenue and likely in this order: advertising, merchandise sales, ticket sales. It was also explained to me today by a customer that all hocky team owners share the profit from the entire league. If this can be validated, it would indeed substantiate the possibility of top level shoulder-rubbing and the influence thereof. The dialogue might look like this:
Hockey Team Owner A: Hi! I’ve noticed your team is ahead by three games. I think that means all the games stop for us if you win the next game. Do you think it’s possible you could chill a bit for a game or two so we can ramp up some extra revenue? Since we pool the winnings then you’ll benefit from this, too. Sound good?
Hockey Team Owner B: No. I’m not interested in throwing matches for extra money. PSYCH! Of course, buddy! hahaha. Watch how bad we’re gonna play next game. Make sure your wife is watching. It’ll be a lark.
Step 4: Research the Economic Landscape of Both Sides
Chicago had a tough year. The impact of the recession on the auto industry in that place was devastating. They needed some good news coming out of this recession. And good news they got! Look at the mighty comeback! I mean, they almost took the series.
Vancouver has a lot of affluent people and video game programmers. Both of these groups of people seem to be serious hockey fans. They have been waiting many years for a win they’ve been telling me. Well, patience has paid off. They get to go to round two.
The economic landscape of a city can create the necessary atmosphere to play out the pre-scheduled wins and losses as the fans work themselves up into a frenzy.
In conclusion, I’ve hogged entirely too much of your time. As usual, we would love your feedback so tweet us up at @seymourblenz or email firstname.lastname@example.org.