Tips for how to survive Canadian winter without NHL hockey
It is now Day 10 of life without NHL hockey. Please send help.
Okay, so I havenít melted down completely. Iíve thrown a few minor tantrums, but for the most part Iím holding it together quite well; as well as I can with the threat of a winter without the NHL looming over me.
Iím sure youíre all aware that we are currently in the early stages of an NHL lockout. Thereís no escaping it, seeing as thereís a news piece on it every night detailing how the business negotiations have turned into a Ďhe stole my lunch money,í Ďwell, he didnít want to be my friend at recessí fight. Or how a daily wave of NHLers have fled the country in search for leagues overseas that will pay them and havenít barricaded the locker room doors.
Okay, rant over. Iím trying to stay positive. There is still a chance the two sides can come to an agreement in time to salvage the rest of the season.
In case of an emergency, here are some tips on how to survive the cold, long Canadian winter if the 2012-2013 NHL season is cancelled (oh the horror!)
Watch hockey: Just because we wonít be able to watch the professional millionaires doesnít mean hockey has ceased to exist completely. My suggestion: hit up a Major Junior game. We in Airdrie are lucky. We have five WHL teams within a three-hour radius of us and one is the reigning league champion.
Junior hockey is just as exciting to watch some nights. Itís a perfect mix of the innocence of minor hockey and elite players on the cusp of reaching the professional ranks. Plus, there isnít a better annual tournament to watch than the World Juniors. Boxing Day at my house would be unbearable without it.
Watch other sports: What? You mean there are other sports being played in the winter in North America? Huh. Who knew? Yes, there are several other sports one can watch in the place of hockey and some of you already do. The 100th Grey Cup is being held this year. Thereís still a chance Saskatchewan -, ah, forget about it. Thereís the NBA, NFL, soccer, skiiing, figure skating, etc. Bonus: with no hockey on, the fan bases of other sports may be a bit more forgiving of bandwagoners this year. Maybe. No guarantees, though.
Sidenote: NFL replacement refs = hilarity. Iíve made it quite clear that Iím not an NFL fan, but even Iíve made a point to watch the highlights because of how hilariously awful and baffling some of the calls have been recently. For non-fans like me, itís entertainment. For the Monday Night diehards, itís a black spot on a great sport.
Watch hockey part II: Wherever your favourite players end up, there are still ways to watch them play. Albeit itís via an Internet livestream that looks like itís being filmed on a Blackberry, but, hey, itís something. We also have entertaining hockey being played right in our backyard. The Thunder and Xtreme have both kicked off its new seasons.
Live music: My lockout upside motto this year is no NHL = canít buy hockey tickets = more money for concerts. Itís weak, but itís whatís holding me up. I already have tickets to a pair of shows, but the downside is that Iím currently running through my concert bucket list faster than I can replenish it. First-world problems.
Watch hockey part III: Itís called ESPN Classics for a reason. One saving grace is that ESPN and the NHL Network have been playing old games every night, spanning from last yearís playoffs to the 1970s. Sure, you may already know whoís going to win, but theyíre still fun to watch and in some cases, they still invoke the same emotions they did when they were shown live.
For example, I still get nervous when Zach Parise scores the game-tying goal in the third period in the gold medal game of the 2010 Olympics even though I know (spoiler alert!) that Crosby wins the game in overtime. Or how, as I watch with a pit in my stomach as the Vancouver Canucks eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the 2011 playoffs. R.I.P. Chris Campoliís Hawks career.
Miscellaneous: Watch the news, take up knitting, start a reading list, try Zumba, keep track of the lockout through Twitter (almost as entertaining as the games I tell you), join a beer league team, whatever will get you through those dark, lonely Saturday evenings.
For the sake of NHL fans everywhere, letís pray or wish on a star that the lockout is solved ASAP before we begin hearing the phantom strains of the Hockey Night in Canada (NHL on TSN?) theme song, sleeping in our jerseys because we have nowhere else to wear them or become completely jaded with the sport altogether. Fingers (and toes and knees and ankles) crossed.