Hockey: Who gives a puck?

I do, actually. Hockey is the one mainstream American sport that has any balls or makes any sense and isn’t suffused by the inexplicable American need to be the biggest, baddest and best.

Start with the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Finals. There is no mention of ‘World Champions” in this tournament. These enormous guys skate and shoot and kick the crap out of each other for an enormous trophy that’s larger than most men, and they give their teeth to do it. That’s macho that a rugby player can at least begin to respect.

But tell me this: how did Los Angeles get to the final when they have not seen snow or ice since the end of the last Ice Age? The same question for fans in Nashville, Dallas, and Florida too. I mean, how bloody dependent on air conditioning can you be? Why on earth are they playing winter sports in these cities?

After years of wondering, I think I may have an answer. The NHL is where you Americans keep your Canadians. After all, those folks from the Great White North are pretty suspicious. They have a national healthcare system, their government seems to work without the influence of barking mad right-wing religious fanatics, and they generally seem educated, moderate and sane. Obviously, Americans can’t trust them. So I think professional hockey is a bit like Gitmo for those sneaky Canucks and their “Eh?” dialect.

Look at the NHL teams: filled with Canadians, both on the ice and in the coaching staff. Canada invented the game, Canada worships the game, and Canadians are the best at this game. So why not take the gifted Canadian athletes who might be dangerous cultural influences—you know, leading Americans into evils like not starting wars—and put them in a pro sports ghetto where you can keep an eye on them? It’s brilliant.

Unfortunately, like all other American sports, hockey has become another excuse for obesity-driven television viewing. In Canada in its infancy, the game was largely nonstop action. But now it’s stop-start so we can feed the twin insatiable needs of American culture: of TV advertising and snacking on swill that is making Type 2 diabetes the new must-have fashion accessory.

Note to Americans: instead of watching hockey, how about lacing up some skates and playing a little? Of course, thanks to climate change, you may have a hard time finding ice thick enough to support your fat bums. Never mind. Carry on.

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