Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Swiss?

The Swiss. The Swiss? Let me try to get this into perspective; sort of in the middle there, between Germany, France, Italy. Like banking, chocolate, skiing, money, yeah okay, but name me one sweaty little Swiss hockey player. The Swiss?

In this past year of hockey/no hockey, greedy hockey, brutally stupid hockey, vicious hockey, NHL hockey has pretty well lost me as a fan. In honesty, I was fading fast during the Japanese winter olympics when they were shown how to be ambassadors for Canada by Sandra Schmerler, who did us proud indeed. She and her team were winners. Not just on the ice, but in their hearts and in our hearts. They went out and met the folks, kidded the kids and had a good time. They were so warm, human and welcoming they couldn't help but win friends wherever they went, and they went everywhere. They made time for visits to schools. The men's hockey team on the other hand were a bunch of snot-nosed, highly paid prima donnas who made me ashamed of being Canadian. They were exclusive late comers who didn't associate with anyone - not the rest of the olympic team, the Japanese or Japanese kids. Gee thanks guys.

Fast forward a bit and find Tod Bertuzzi offering the NHL's vision of sportsmanship to Canada's kids with a brutally simple and vicious sneak attack; a mugging on the ice that left a nasty taste in the mouths of a hockey-loving nation. The NHL's response was less than adequate. It wasn't approval, but if it was supposed to register disapproval, it was a poor attempt at discipline.

Fast forward a bit more and find Mr Gary Beckman, the owners and the players squabbling about money. Yeah yeah, it was about "the future of hockey" and curbing outrageous salaries and so on. Sure. It was about offering a collective "screw you" to the hockey fans. I think it was a wake up call to the fans. "Get your heads out of your asses, get off your knees and see hockey where it is played by people who care". That's what it was. Amateur players play because they love the game. True hockey, real hockey, hockey that matters is played by people whose love for the game, love of competition and love of sportsmanship shines on the ice. Amateur hockey.

I'm a fan of the ladies hockey team. They're proud, they're tough and they're good. They're amateurs. Danièle Sauvageau, Sunohara, Goyette, Wickenheiser, Sami Jo and Cassie Campbell represent us well. They play with heart, guts, determination and pride and they will not let you beat them. They never give up. They play hockey the way it should be played - tough, scrappy, in your face for sixty minutes, as a team. They are a great team and they are not prima donnas. They visit schools, they're involved in the community and they're genuinely glad to see people and serve as ambassadors. Way to go ladies, you do us proud.

I don't know who is going to win the men's gold medal in hockey and I don't care. It doesn't matter. They aren't olympians, they're pros. They don't represent me as a Canadian. Tod Bertuzzi and his friends and apologists don't represent me. A bunch of non-amateur, big feeling, overpaid professional entertainers who don't even live on the same planet as I do; they don't represent me. Nobody who talks about putting a product on the ice, represents me. They went out with great fanfare and played the Swiss team, who promptly let the air out of them. The Swiss slapped them upside their swollen heads and took the game away from them. The Canadian men's team laid a colossal turd on the international ice. The next time someone babbles on about the NHL and Canadian hockey, just give them a look of disgust and disbelief and say "The Swisssssss? Does Luxembourg have a team?"


Post a Comment

<< Home