I know I have blogged about Ice Hockey before but they don’t call it the “5th season” around here for nothing. It is like The Canadian is making up for 10 plus years living away from North America and his mothership of Ice Hockey.
Australia wasn’t exactly a deserted island when it came to Ice Hockey. He played Ice Hockey in an old man league in both summer and winter, NHL games are broadcast on Foxtel Cable TV, he has an NHL game on the Xbox and when he wasn’t playing the crush (candy crush – it’s his thing but we won’t go there) on the iPad he would be on the Sportsnet.Canada page.
He is the Rainman of Ice Hockey. Statistics, players, jerseys, logos, place of birth, career highs and lows, coaches, wives, what they eat for breakfast, shoe size, you name it he knows it. If Ice Hockey trivia was an Olympic sport he would be a gold medalist.
The 8-year-old has become a mini Rainman who leaps out of bed in the morning to check the scores and stats from the previous night’s games and then follows me around the apartment getting ready for school reciting them to me. He has yet to learn the art of being able to read people and doesn’t pick up that I’m not actually listening. Oh to be 8 again.
Due to this love of anything hockey last night I found myself sitting in a stadium watching yet another Ice Hockey game, this time, however, it wasn’t an NHL game but an OHL game (the stars of tomorrow) the kids that may get recruited into the big time NHL (so I’m told). I rolled my eye’s when it was first suggested we buy tickets to a playoff game between the Mississauga Steelheads and the Barrie Colts as it meant that we would have to leave downtown Toronto and drive in peak hour traffic to the game on the freeways of death. The Canadian really had to sell it to me and with the words “they have way more fights than the NHL games,” I was in!
Compared to the NHL games the tickets are cheap. When we have been to NHL games the tickets are outrageously expensive and even then we end up with nosebleed seats.
This time, we got to sit in the front row behind the players.
On the downside due to my prediction that the traffic would be crap we ran out of time to stop for dinner. Having missed lunch and starving I had to settle for the slim pickings of only yellow food (if you can call it food) on offer.
When in Rome ….
I then stuck to the yellow theme by pairing it with a yellow beverage (well amber).
These fantastic seats also gave me an insight into Ice Hockey that you don’t get to experience watching it on TV or in the nosebleed seats.
I didn’t realise just how much of a petri dish of disease Ice Hockey can be and because I’m a caring and sharing kind of person I will share with you!
Starting with the drink bottles lovingly filled and refilled by the water boy during the breaks.
Once they start playing they are jumping in and out of that bench and just grab any old drink bottle in front of them. The game has 3 periods each 20 minutes, that is a lot of different saliva on each of those bottles. Yuck! The Canadian said “they are numbered” I then had to point out to him that indeed they are but all with the same number, the number 2!
After about 5 minutes of play, they all start working up a sweat and that is when the trainer pulls out the magic sweat rag.
This sweat rag in my opinion along with a player’s skates and sticks was one of the hardest working pieces of equipment during the game. That very same sweat rag got passed along the line and wiped the face and sweat of every single player on that team. It wasn’t just the faces it wiped the sweat off the helmets, beards, heads, the visors and then faces again. It didn’t stop wiping. It was magic! At one point it was used with lens cleaner to wipe clean the clear plastic visor on a helmet. Who knew that a dirty old sweat towel could be used to actually clean?
With all that sweat about half way through the game came an odour that I am very familiar with but had not experienced since our move, hockey mums will know that smell well. Hockey Bag Stink! Both the Canadian’s and 8 year-olds Ice Hockey bags are currently sitting at a safe distance in the storage locker in our apartment complex so well away from my nasal passages. It is an odour that is not easily forgotten and is caused by new sweat mixing with old sweat already on hockey equipment like skates and padding. Jerseys and socks etc can get thrown in the washing machine and washed with each wear but, unfortunately, skates and padding get covered in stinky wet sweat and can only be dried out. The downside of sitting right behind the team was this smell just got worse as the game went on to the point in the 3rd quarter I had to up and move further back in fear I would throw up my fake cheese nachos dinner.
By far the most disgusting thing I witnessed though was when one of the players from the team in front of us lost his mouth guard and it somehow ended up in the opposite teams box, it then got passed along the box from player to player, coach to trainer, dropped several times, passed through the commentary team and photographers and finally into the hand of the player who owned it who promptly popped it into his mouth. I’m kind of surprised they didn’t use the sweat rag to give it a clean.
The game was being telecast and so during a break, they interviewed one of the players in front of us.
The 8-year-old could see a monitor with himself behind the interview so started doing what all 8-year-old boys do in that situation … acting like a goose!
During the breaks in between periods, some dude would come out dressed like a band member from the Village People.
He didn’t break into the YMCA but instead did something to the nets with his power tool.
As promised by The Canadian, the game had way more fights than the NHL.
When they weren’t fighting on the ice they didn’t stop provoking each other when sitting on the benches. Teenage boys with too much testosterone, sheesh!
It didn’t stop with the players either, check out the ref and coach going for it!
The game went into overtime but we left after the 4th period. I was starving and I couldn’t sit behind this player for a minute longer.
My mind was starting to drift away from Ice Hockey and into thoughts of a big bowl of Pasta Carbonara.
If you are in the Toronto GTA it’s worth a trip out to Hershey Stadium to watch the Mississauga Steelheads even if it’s just to see the hardest working sweat rag in action.
Because I am becoming a bit of an Ice Hockey expert you may be interested in my previous blog posts My Idiots Guide to Ice Hockey and my most viewed blog post to date (I think because it comes up in searches when people look for lemon sporting teams The Toronto Maple Leafs
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