Monday, March 1, 2010

Watch for flying.....PUCKS?

On Thursday February 18 we went to the USA/Norway hockey game. This was my first hockey game here in Canada and boy was I in for some culture shock. I had always heard that hockey is the number one religion here in Canada, but I guess I had my doubts. I was wrong, it is definitely an obsession. A little Olympic hockey explanation for those of you that are still a little vague about the teams. The Olympic hockey teams are made up of NHL (National Hockey League) players, not amatuers. These players may play on an NHL team that is quite a distance from home. The Sedin twins are a perfect example; they play for the Vancouver Canucks during the NHL season even though they are from Sweden. Ryan Kessler is another Canuck that is from the US. Here is a picture of his Dad and brother-in-law, they sat 3 rows infront of us. (Very cool)
During the Olympics there is an official break from the NHL season, much too long in my book anyway, and all the players that have been drafted for their country's team make their way home, or to the Olympic site. So, in the audience here in Vancouver there were some die-hard US fans:

As well as some Canadian fans, many of whom were really Canucks and just wanted to watch favorite players; and then of course the Norwegians. This little guy sat right in front of us and you could tell through the game that he was quite tired - maybe some jet lag. He was also quite disappointed when Norway lost. I did feel bad for him too.

I don't think I have ever been in an environment where the enthusiasm was so electric. It was incredible, and I had a fantastic time. I can only imagine what the stadium was like during the gold medal men's hockey game. I know what I saw on tv, and believe me it's much more extreme in the building. I honestly expected to hear an explosion from downtown when Canada won the gold. (Yes, I was cheering for them. I have to live here after all, and referencing my previous comment about religion/obsession, and the economy would have taken a nose dive had they lost.)
One of the things that I found most amusing about the whole game was the anouncement that was repeated several times over the PA system. "Ladies and gentlemen, please use caution as pucks may leave the ice at any moment." Now, I know what they were referring to, pucks do get knocked out of the rink quite frequently and people have been injured by flying pucks. However, the way it was said almost had me watching for spontaneously flying pucks. I do think, during this game you were more likely to get hit by the guy next to you wildly waving his flag.

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