Archive for August 20, 2007

The holy land of ice hockey

hockey_hall_of_fame.jpgI couldn’t grasp the reality that the ice hockey isn’t as popular as say the drug ridden, slow motioned baseball, or half naked basketball in the USA.  The ice hockey has grace, finesse, speed, drama, fight, blood, goons and heroes, and is elegant and clean (years ago, a promising rookie caught using drugs: he’s banned for life — kiddo, you’re in the wrong sport, switch to baseball, you not only get 2 more chances, also get longer shelf life!!)  All the ingredients that makes a sport exciting .. .. but unfortunately the Yankees just don’t take it the way they take to baseball or basketball, and it certainly dictates the fate of that sport.  Ice hockey players seemed never show up on the top ten (best-paid athletes) list.

It’s summer, and news is all about ice hockey in Toronto. Do the Canadians have other thing on their mind? The Maple Leafs has new home .. .. Anyway, Toronto is the seat of hockey, so first thing first.  We visited the it as soon as we arrived.  The building that bears the Hockey Hall of Fame on the corner of Front and Yonge Street is very elegant, but the museum is housed in the basement at the adjacent mall.  Hockey news dominated their newspapers and airwaves, even in the sweltering summer: Mark Bell has pleaded no contest to felony drunken driving and hit-and-run, will face jail time after the season; Sam Pollock has passed away on 8/16 .. ..

The media room in the museum was showing a documentary on Mario Lemieux as we walked by.  I always prefer him over the more famous Gretzky, whom I thought on the girlie side.  Super Mario also battled cancer and came back to play again.  The last time I saw him playing was at the MSG Madison Square Garden against the Rangers in May 1993 – I remembered it by heart: pregnant with King in the 8th month.  Mario scored 5 goals and the Penguins eventually won 8:1 or something like that.  I was wildly happy and cheering for him loudly.  That had irritated the Rangers fans that packed the house.  Few of them fixed me with the menace-est looks.  I supposed if my belly weren’t visibly enlarged they’d throw me onto the ice in no time.

I left the meseum early to entertain the kids – they refused to go to the Hall.  Golfer stayed longer.  Our local rings at home are always packed to almost 24/7: mens league starts at 11pm and boys’ starts at 5 or 5:30am; girlie figure skaters always get up before school.  Is the lack of rings or hockey is indeed popular at grass root?  Parents would kill for it.  You hear term ‘soccer moms’ when soccer isn’t popular at all.  (David Beckham made to the top ten in 2004 as the Mr. No. 8th, beating out A-Rod the 9th and Kobe Bryant the 10th.)  Another myth.

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