Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Open Ice Hits Olympics: Field Hockey

Playing hockey on a field has always been strangely intuitive. However, Field Hockey itself is, without a doubt, a dull sport and completely not for me. But playing ice hockey on a field? That's just fun. Be it a backyard rink or an NHL Winter Classic, it's a pleasantly nostalgic event beloved by Canadians and some intelligent Americans everywhere (with cold weather).

Last year's Winter Classic was essentially picture-perfect. Pittsburgh was one of the teams to watch last year, while Buffalo mimicked its host city by starting a steep decline. Despite this, that game is probably my best memory of last year's hockey season. Admittedly, it's mostly situational. The timing meant I was on vacation and back home in Calgary spending time with friends and family, and having a cup of coffee while watching the snow gently fall over what was a terrific hockey game was pretty fantastic for me.

This year we've got Chicago and Detroit. I'm sure Detroit will be a fantastic team as usual, and even if Chicago is not a fantastic team in terms of results they will undoubtedly be a good team to watch with a roster that includes Kane, Toews, Havlat, Campbell, and the ever-electric Duncan Sheik Keith (I am barely breathing...). Here's hoping for a white New Years Day.

Which teams should have a go the year after? It'll have to be a Canadian team, of course. It shouldn't be Vancouver, because those bastards already have the Olympics to get off with. Edmonton's already had one at one point. Toronto sucks. Montreal participated in one recently. That leaves Ottawa and Calgary. Ottawa has lots of politicians, which means that the game would be crappier since the fans would be disproportionately scumbags. Thus, we can scientifically and unequivocally say that Calgary is the only team worth considering hosting the next Winter Classic. They could do it in McMahon Stadium, which is optimal proximity to my house as well (an important consideration).

Back to Field Hockey -- I think I have an idea to make the game more exciting and would improve its ratings. Have they considered playing it on ice? Maybe upgrade the sticks to something befitting a grown adult rather than a child in the process. I'd also be willing to lend the International Field Hockey Federation Gary Bettman to help fix 'er right up.

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