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Canada’s unofficial national sport, hockey, has been under much scrutiny over the past few years. It seems that the game is no longer exciting, despite the fact that the game has been around for the past one-hundred years with minimal changes. When I hear hockey fans saying that the game is no longer exciting, I find it quite difficult to avoid laughing hysterically and making a complete and utter fool of myself in front of them. When asked why they feel this way, some merely respond with a shrug and mouth the words “I don’t know.” Others claim that they would like to see more scoring, like baseball for example. To these people, I simply shake my head and consider walking away in disgust. Not exciting enough, not enough scoring?! What these people are telling me is that a tie game, with five minutes left, and you hanging on the edge of your chair (or couch)…is no longer considered exciting? And they say that hockey should be more like baseball, with more scoring. I wonder if these are the same North Americans that recently voted for baseball as the most BORING sport to watch on the whole planet? No, these people claim to be “hockey purists”, who know what is best for the game, watching from their comfy couches in Arkansas. If these people truly are purists, life as we know it, at least from a hockey perspective, will be over before the next decade.

These said purists have another problem with the game – “It’s too Canadian” they say. They see the leagues over in Russia, Sweden, and Finland and see exactly what they are wishing for: more scoring, and skating billboards to boot. (All players overseas have a multitude of advertisements on their uniforms.) Their new solution: Americanize the good old Canadian game. I see one fatal flaw with this theory – contrary to popular American belief, United States territory does not actually extend overseas to places like Russia, Sweden, and Finland. The only thing that would be different if we Americanized the game, would be that coaches would now have the right to search for hockey sticks of mass destruction.

But these so-called hockey purists are not quite finished complaining just yet, they have another problem with the game: the “trap”. For those of you who are not quite familiar with this term, this is a defensive system employed by some teams that makes it incredibly difficult for the opponent to score, however, it does not generate any offence going the other way either. In a sense, a 1-0 lead is insurmountable on some nights. The “purists” claim that this should be banned from hockey. How about just planting some bear traps over the ice instead? Both of these thoughts have exactly the same amount of realism in them – absolutely none whatsoever. To ban this would be to punish teams for being clever enough to think of something unique. These purists claim that there is a lack of creativity in the game, but wish to remove an aspect in which the coaches are creative in developing their system.

The reality is, hockey today is not absolutely perfect, but what is in today’s world? Stompin’ Tom Connors once sang the phrase “The good old hockey game, is the best game you can name, and the best game you can name is the good old hockey game.” Not the good old baseball game, not the good old European game, and not the good old American game, it is the good old hockey game. The game of hockey has been around for over one-hundred years, without any drastic changes being made to it, why start now? This is one question I have yet to hear an answer to from a so-called hockey purist. It just goes to show you who the true hockey fans are…

Questions/comments?  E-mail me at [email protected].