July 13, 2009

Hockey Morning in China

Hockey Night in Canada is a national institution. Every Saturday night, millions of hockey fans gather around their TV sets to watch the action on the ice and listen to a belligerent Don Cherry rant on Coach's Corner during the intermissions. As China is half a day ahead of Canada, I had the chance to catch a few of Vancouver's playoff games live the following morning. The Irish Volunteer, a pub in Beijing, was showing the games on TV using Slingbox video streaming technology. I watched the final two losses of Vancouver's season as they were eliminated by Chicago in 6 games after blowing a 2-1 series lead.

Vancouver's National Hockey League (NHL) team is called the Canucks. 'Canuck' is slang for 'Canadian'. The professional hockey team has a storied history of losing since it joined the league in 1970 as an expansion franchise. It has twice reached the Stanley Cup finals, but failed to secure a championship on either trip. The Stanley Cup is the most difficult sporting competition in the world. Four rugged rounds of best-of-7 series are played over a two month span, with the athletes playing through a myriad of injuries (broken bones, cracked ribs, concussions, etc.) for a chance to lift Lord Stanley's Cup. Power, skill, teamwork, and determination are demonstrated by the players of the coolest game on Earth on a nightly basis.


Canadian Guy #1: I cannot believe that you didn't bring your hockey gear with you when you came to China!
Canadian Guy #2: My luggage had weight restrictions.
Canadian Guy #1: You could have left your wife at home then.