By Jacey Gibb, Assistant Editor
Hockey and I go pretty far back. When I was a kid, I remember rushing into the living room on a nightly basis to catch the evening episode of The Simpsons, only to find my dad planted on the couch, with a hockey game occupying the same screen that Bart and Milhouse were supposed to be on. To my adolescent self, it was, on my strongest of days, soul crushing.
Despite my gradual shift in interests towards things outside of Springfield, my relationship with hockey never did improve. Although I’ve lived in two hockey-centric cities in my life, Edmonton and Vancouver, I’ve somehow managed to remain immune to hockey fever. I know there are those of you out there that share my distain for the sport, and so I thought I’d share with you a few trade secrets that have helped me withstand years of excessive fandom.
First off, know your enemy. You don’t have to memorize athletes or stats or any useless crap like that. I mean being aware of what evenings there are hockey games on. By knowing when the next game is, you’ll know when to avoid potential hot spots. Put a hockey game on a television screen and suddenly the bar becomes an animal house—and not the John Belushi type either. I’m talking about the “Takes 20 minutes to get a drink, troglodyte infested” kind. If you know there’s a hockey game on, pick up a couple six packs of Blue Buck, invite the social circle over to your place, and enjoy an evening that’s a little less testosteroney.
If you ever find yourself stuck talking about hockey with someone who for some reason cares about sports, I’d say sarcasm is your best defense. Throw around lines like, “Oh, it’s totally our year” while rolling your eyes, or pretend to be overly eager to be joining in on a conversation about people with sticks who skate around on ice for a living. If for some reason you have to talk about hockey and the situation doesn’t allow for you to be a smug dick about it, just make super generic observations that even a child would say are obvious.
For those of you who are bold individuals and wish to not simply fly under hockey’s radar, but would rather ruffle feathers, then might I suggest actively rooting against your city’s team? By establishing your stance as a die-hard (insert opposing team’s name) fan, you immediately become the enemy. People will likely stop bringing up the game around you as much, and they might stop inviting you out to watch the game with them too. Hey, maybe they’ll stop inviting you out altogether? Then at least you can finally catch up on this season of Parks & Recreation.
Now, say you live in a city where hockey could almost be considered a religion. Like a brave knight attempting to slay a dragon, you utilize all of my advice to an unsuccessful degree. People still attempt to chat you up about the game last night, or you end up being surrounded by people donning obnoxious team colours. If this persists, then I have one last tactic for you to try out: suck it up, buttercup. I’m as interested in hockey as the next maggot-ridden corpse, but I’ve learned to accept that (for some unidentifiable reason) people seem to genuinely dig hockey. Maybe it’s the competitive edge, or the sporadic violence, but people act like it’s a pretty big deal. So for those miserable seven months out of the year, learn to put a lid on your bitching, try and enjoy the drink specials that most bars have during games only, and let’s just collectively hope for another lockout in the near future.
Illustration by Ed Appleby.