Tonawanda News — Personally, I watch a lot of hockey on television, and this time of the year, late spring when the weather is least appropriate, is the ideal time to see this remarkable sport at its best, most furious, most beautiful. And you have never seen such whining as when one player or another feels bereft of sympathy over a referee’s decision not to call a penalty!
Assuming every experience is a learning experience, some of what I have learned, watching hockey, includes:
The French for penalty is “punition.” It’s on the scoreboard in Montreal. For beef jerky, it’s “jerky au boeuf.” It’s on the arena advertising.
Canadians drink beer or coffee whether they gather. The girls are apparently easier at the places that involve beer, and they seem to go for bears.
Announcers think “Saskatchewan” is easy to pronounce. It’s those Middle European names with a surfeit of consonants and a lack of vowels that trip them up.
Hockey, which is to say the game, begins roughly twelve minutes after the hockey, the television program, starts, unless the game is in Montreal, for which you should add about fifteen minutes for pre-game ritual. It has been said there are only three organizations on earth that truly understand ceremony: the royal House of Windsor, the Catholic Church and the Montreal Canadiens. This team’s formalities make opponents feel as though they’re playing against everyone who ever drew a paycheck with the Canadiens’ logo on it.
Hockey fans have team loyalties and opinions galore, which is how it should be, but they apparently have a few things in common, notably a need for trucks, banking services, lawn care supplies and the aforementioned beer and coffee.
The best way to watch hockey on television is via the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which was established as a radio network in 1936 to unite that enormous country and teach it hockey. The announcers are as informed and erudite as any in sports, representatives of Buffalo law firms do not intrude on the action and the CBC offers the comment of Don Cherry, who at age 80 is a model for anyone in politics: wear something to distinguish yourself from the herd, spout opinions galore and don’t forget to remind everyone when you’re right.