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The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552
Fax: 604-267-3342
ISSN 1712-3763
Web: www.columbiajournal.ca

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Columbia Journal logoVolume Ten, Number One   January 2005   www.columbiajournal.ca

    Winter without Hockey? Trust Me, it’s Do-able

    John Hughes

    “Science is not too far removed from hockey”
                              -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    It is a wonder Solzhenitsyn found time to contemplate hockey during the writing of his devastating work, Gulag Archipelago, but his view of the game’s likeness to science is close to that of Canada’s self-appointed hockey guru, Don Cherry.

    You remember Cherry don’t you? Loud mouthed guy, bad fashion sense, forever using instant replays and elastrator pens to prove hockey could be a science if players and coaches would just listen to him. What’s that you say? You don’t hear his infernal blither coming from your TV sets on Saturday night anymore? Ah yes, the sounds of silence prevail! And we at the Columbia Journal sports desk heartily approve.

    hockey cartoonThink about it this way; the NHL player’s lockout has provided hockey fans with an opportunity to forget about the ridiculous old coot for with the racist mouth for what looks like a long time. The owners and players are nowhere near a deal and Don Cherry has no place to ply his ‘trade.’ This could be the best winter yet! The tradeoff of no Cherry/no hockey is infinitely worth the bargain. It would not be fair to hang the whole winter malaise thing on Don Cherry, though his absence is high on the top 10 list of the best things about the hockey lockout. And make no mistake folks; a winter without NHL hockey is full of potential.

    First off, think of all the time that could actually be spent actually playing hockey. Family shinny games, beer league, university intramurals and table hockey all bring people closer together than gathering around the idiot box. This could be the winter Canada redefines itself as an essentially TV free nation. The effort required for this would be monumental - reaching for your hockey stick instead of the remote control is a big step. Such a collective move by the former hockey watching hordes will no doubt have the beer company executives in an absolute panic. How are they supposed to lure their audience into a drunken tizzy with no electronic billboard to flog their product on?

    These are not even the best things about the lockout. Soon will be the time to get seriously retro and dust off the sled that has been sitting in your shed since Don Cherry was the coach of the Colorado Rockies. Remember sledding? How many times have you passed up an opportunity to go sledding since you became a TV hockey addict? Nothing now stands in the way of you and a thrilling rip down the mountainside like you did when you were a kid. Surf’s up!

    This is also the time for a catharsis of too many winters’ pent up frustration earned by following a hockey team that never wins the Stanley Cup. Yes, dear reader, this is a blatant advocacy for the revival of the snowball fight. Can you seriously claim that you have not wanted to get your ya-ya’s out by starting a winters’ day dust-up on numerous occasions?

    Granted, this is Vancouver and our general want of snow makes this desire one that will be relegated to a few select opportunities, but a trip up one of the local mountains would take care of that problem. With all of these cool and unusually pursued activities on the front burner it is safe to say Solzhenitsyn was on the wrong side of the right coin. It is not hockey that is a science; it is the absence of it that gives rise to rediscovering the science of the Canadian winter.

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