To all who revered the beloved Stompin’ Tom Connors, his memory was certainly alive last Friday, at least in my little corner of the universe.
I awoke humming the first couple lines of “The Good Old Hockey Game,” and kept humming those same two lines for the rest of the day.
The reason was twofold. The first two lines are all I know — well, and the chorus, of course, but that’s cheating to skip from the first two lines straight to the middle. The first two lines it was, all day long. “Hello out there, we’re on the air, it’s hockey night tonight! The tension grows, the whistle blows and the puck goes down the ice.” That’s it, over and over all day.
That was the first reason. The second reason was because, oh yes, our fabulous IceCaps were back and it was the first home game of the season.
Hubby and I are proud season seat holders. In fact, our mutual love of hockey might have been the one thing to seal the deal with us more than 20 years ago. So, to have months of professional hockey laying ahead, some new players in the lineup, fan favourites returning, Jason King on coaching staff, and the lure of Ziggy rink fries, we were like youngsters waiting for Christmas.
We even made a small date out if it, with a little meal for two beforehand, something chilled and white for me, something with hops for him. But that was the end of the romance.
Once we entered the rink, it was like we had never left. Straight back to the routine of him supporting the IceCaps Cares Foundation with our regular donation to their 50/50 fund, and me supporting tea leaf growers of the world with my first of three cups of tea during the game. Actually, after all this time, that’s our version of romance!
Now I am not a placid fan. I get butterflies, I talk to the players, give them a little coaching from my seat — not yelling and screaming, mind you, just speaking to no one but myself. I’ve been known to get excited at a great goal, to feel the agony of hearing the distinctive ding of the puck hitting the crossbar, and even cheer a little bit when the gloves are dropped.
Hubby is nearly as entertained by me as he is by the game. Especially since we are in a public place, surrounded by families, children, others who may not display their passion for the game quite as emphatically as me.
I always try to be very cognizant of the small humans around us. Those closest to me are aware that I may, sometimes, express myself with words that might not be appropriate for print. At the game, it’s different. Small ears all around us, big ears that may not appreciate my creativity either, so instead I have trained myself to tone it down.
Huge hit on the glass in front of us? “Gee-whillickers!” Goalie makes an outstanding glove save, but one that causes my heart to hit off my ribcage? “Jumpin’ Moses!” Defenceman’s stick breaks while attempting the shot that you know will break the tie? “Sweet suffering!”
And during all of this, while I attempt to not grab or hit the leg of the stranger next to me, hubby can usually be found giggling out loud, then telling me to watch my language.
Last weekend, it all came back to us. The excitement of watching our players skate out onto the ice before the very start of the game with loud local music blasting over the speakers. Fans on their feet, Buddy the Puffin keeping everyone entertained, and yes, the smell of Ziggy’s wafting through the air.
No wonder I woke up singing.
So my goal this IceCaps season is to not hurt the person sitting next to me, to keep hubby smiling on the other side of me, and to learn the rest of the lyrics to “The Good Old Hockey Game.”
Welcome back, boys. It’s nice to see you again!
Email Paula Tessier at email@example.com.