Monday, February 21, 2011

Hockey Morning in Korea

Had a great night and morning hanging-out with my old Calgary room mate, Ian, in Sanbon. Great dinner with Bonnie and the two cute little tykes, and then some late night reminiscing looking over youtube clips of some of the most nostalgic hockey moments we could think of.

We woke up this morning to watch the 2011 Heritage Classic at 8:00 am with some pancakes, nachos and beer - all of the key pieces of a nutritious hockey breakfast. The game itself was a joy for a Calgary homer - seeing that much attention lavished on one's hometown, and having the home team come away with a big 4-0 win. Rarely have I wanted a Tim Horton's and a Canadian Tire commercial so badly.

I won't say too much. From a fan of this season, I think this win builds well on the past three weeks or so to put the Flames into serious contention for home playoff advantage in the West - at least in the first round. I know that's a whole lotta projecting into April with such a crowded conference, but it shows something we haven't really seen since 2004, that being chemistry and confidence in role players - coupled with very low expectations (for those of us who are realistic). This bodes well, and I wouldn't at all mind if we got a chance to play spoiler in round 1 against Vancouver.

From a fan of the game, this specific game and the feelings leading up to it gave me ample pause to reflect on three things among many that I miss dearly: hockey, Canada, and my dad. My dad took me to my first ever NHL game in the early '80s, just after the Flames relocated to Calgary from Atlanta. If I'm remembering it correctly, the Flames were playing the Montreal Canadiens at the Stampede Corral. I enjoyed the game, but I was a bit of a pouting twit when my dad wouldn't buy me a white hot wheels toy car with the Flames logo on the hood and a #14 on the roof (Kent Nilsson, not The Fleury. I felt guilty after the game, and even more so when I found the car in my stocking that Christmas.

I really could go on, and have before, about the nostalgia surrounding the game of hockey. As a hockey-loving Canadian, it's hard not to let it course through your veins as I imagine baseball does for my friends south of the border. I love the old buildings, and I regret that I never got to see a game played in the Forum or the Maple Leaf Gardens. I would still rather see a game at the Corral than the 'Dome.

If you feel like getting sentimental as I am right now, watch these, and watch them all - including the entirety of Richard's ovation. If you have a dry eye at the end, I'm guessing you're not a hockey fan.

1) The Hockey Sweater - NFB's wonderful animated version of Roch Carrier's classic Quebec hockey memoir.

2) Maurice "Rocket" Richard's 7 minute standing ovation before the last game played at the Montreal Forum.

3) A 2007 report of the current state of Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens.

Go, Flames, go!

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