Tag: Hockey


The other day I was attending a function in a hall at an arena. A group of young hockey players were leaving. They were pulling their equipment out to the cars/vans/suvs in wheeled bags. No-one was walking home, in fact, many of the young “athletes” were being picked up at the door. Their parents drove around to pick them up rather than everyone walking to their parked vehicle.

Something didn’t seem right. We’re trying to encourage people to exercise, but we’re giving off the wrong impression of exercise.

Sure, playing games is exercise, but it should be the added bonus to or a highlight of our exercise not the major or possibly the only part.

Exercise should be a part of living. Such activities as walking somewhere daily; taking the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator; when shopping parking further away from the mall/store entrance. You know, the simple stuff.

What does driving a child to an arena, having him/her wheel the equipment into the building and after the game picking her/him up at the door teach?
• exercise is an event that has to be organized.
• the trip to and from organized exercise shouldn’t require physical activity.
• why should I carry something I can roll on wheels (even though we all know that the stuff being pulled can easily be carried)?

I can understand a goal tender rolling equipment. It’s bulky, awkward and a tight fit through most doors. However, if exercise becomes a part of life rather than an event, goalers could also carry their stuff (when they have it all on, they seem to move easily when stopping pucks. I play some goal and lug my equipment over my shoulder in a wheelless bag. It’s all possible.

The idea of exercise being an event rather than part of life was highlighted in a cartoon a while back. The scene was a tourist couple in a 2nd world country having a lunch in a sidewalk café. There were no cars evident, the towns citizens were walking, carrying, pulling. The caption over the tourists was “This would be a nice place to stay, but there’s no fitness club”

So to be fit, move. Move often. Move more. Move lots.

The Plaidneck

Culturally inspired team names

This is the text of an email sent to CBC’s “the Current” Friday April 20.

It was with interest that I listened to today’s piece on team names. A thoughtful discussion. However, sometimes I wonder whether the topic deserves so much anguish. One other group of people whose supposed culture seem trigger a large number of sports team names are the Gaelic cousin cultures from the Scottish Highlands and the Ireland.

A few examples:
• Golden Gaels – Queen’s University Kingston ON
• Fighting Irish – Notre Dame du Lac in Notre Dame Indianna
• Green Gaels – Jr B. Lacrosse team in Bowmanville Ontario area
• Highlanders – NewZealand professional rugby team Dunedin
• St. Mary’s Gaels – Moraga California
• Glengarry Gaels – various teams in the Alexandria Ontario area
• Clansmen rugby club – Edmonton AB

Their logos/crests are often cartoonish and not very related to the true culture (ex. Notre Dame’s pugnacious leprechaun and the Dunedin Highlander’s kilted sword carrying long haired warrior logo).

Although I too rue the loss of culture (the last native Gaelic speaker in this part of Canada died over a decade ago), I usually feel good when I hear that teams called Gaels or Highlanders are active. Someone recognized we were here. Instead of negative navel gazing, maybe culturally inspired team names should be something of which we can be proud.

The Plaidneck

Hockey and Soldiering — an UWAT

Hockey and Soldiering

UWAT – Unproven/unfounded Wild-Ass Theory

I sometimes get brainstorms and develop some pretty hair brained UWATs.  Now that my children gave me my own website, I get to put some of them out there.

During the last century’s two World Wars, Canadian soldiers were renown.  They (along with some other Dominion forces) were the Commonwealth’s shock troops.  Tim Cook in his two volume history of the First World War relates that the Germans called the Canadians Storm Troops.  In the Second World War, the Canadians were given the tough task of liberating the lowlands – open, flat land that was well defended and where the defenders had a good view of anyone advancing.

During the recent Afghanistan war, Canadians were tough, effective and respected.

This is Fact.  The Canadian Soldier is good.

My UWAT is that our national sport(s) Hockey (and Lacrosse) set(s) us up to be the kind of people who can excel in the adversity and confusion that come with combat.  I don’t mean the rockem sockem stuff, but the game as played by most of us at some time during our development.  This UWAT is based more on the game of hockey than Lacrosse but knowing both games, the principles being discussed are the same.

Hockey is said to have begun in the 1850s and formalized with rules in the 1880s.  Our WW1 and 2 soldiers would have been familiar with the game and most likely played some form of hockey. (Lacrosse was played here in some form for more than 500 years.  It too was formalized at about the time of Confederation.  Many Canadians also played Lacrosse).

Hockey is a free flowing game where all players must be adaptable and be able to cover for a team mate who gets caught out of position.  The Captain of the team most often leads by example rather than giving orders and is not always on the playing surface.  Although there are set plays, the game is so fluid that any set play is most likely a variation on the theme and adaptation and innovation is commonplace.

On any team, the players are there because of skill level and love of the game.  Social status/Class doesn’t matter as long as you can do your job and cover for the others as needed.

Compare this to the games popular in the United States.
1.    (Rugby) Football: where the quarterback directs all offense & player rolls are much more defined and the Middle Linebacker directs the defense, and
2.    Baseball where the Manager (not a player) calls the game and all positions are very narrowly defined.

And to the games of the UK.
1.    Rugby which is a very upper class game, and
2.    Football (Soccer) which is the game for the commoner.
3.    Cricket is a game with very narrowly defined roles.

Is it not possible that when the lessons of a mechanized industrial war were being learned Canadians excelled because their national game(s) had established the psyche necessary for soldiers adapt as the battle plan disintegrated; assume more responsibility during interruptions in the chain of command due casualties and to adjust as situations required?

If someone can develop an actual thesis of this UWAT, go ahead.  If possible, I’d like some recognition as the original spark and maybe a copy of the paper.

2012 02 13                                    The Plaidneck

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