A visit from the Oshawa Generals

Oshawa Generals logo
Andy Andreoff in action
Andy in action

J came out of school, flushed and full of news, clutching a hockey card in her hand. The Oshawa Generals had visited the school and she’d had a one-to-one with Andy. That’s Andy Andreoff to you and me. She asked him if he’d ever hurt himself and he told her that he had, once, but that he was careful not to let it happen again. Andy, a local lad from Pickering, has played for the Generals for four years. Following the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, he signed with the Los Angeles Kings, but has been assigned back to the Generals for this season.

The Oshawa Generals are a junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) And hockey is big out here. We’re talking living, breathing, thinking, dreaming hockey. Girls and boys, start playing as young as four. In a Canadian household, there’s no debating whether the kids should play football, baseball or basketball – they get sticks for Christmas and they play hockey. Families make their own rink in the backyard in winter if they have the space. Boys drafted into the OHL can travel far away from their homes to play with a team they’ve been selected by. Like an exchange student, they lodge with a local family and attend the local schools with the other kids in the house.

The Generals are named for General Motors, an early sponsor, which has its Canadian HQ in Oshawa. They’ve had 166 graduates to the National Hockey League, won the Memorial Cup four times, and a record 12 Ontario Hockey League Championships. They ROCK!!!

Oshawa Generals logo

With hockey being the common language of Canada, it helps to have a few lines that make you sound like you know what you’re talking about when you’re watching the game, so below is your fail-safe guide to sounding like a true, hockey-obsessed Canuck:

  • “Ah jeez, I miss the days of Gretsky in his office.” (Not a business analogy, but a reference to how the Great One pioneered play behind the net, a location known as His Office.)
  • “He’s gone down to block one too many shots without his helmet.” (He’s crazy)
  • “He undressed that guy!” Or alternatively, “He left him standing in his gonch!” (He’s been out-maneuvered.)
  • “They’re no ’84 Oilers.” (Useful for any occasion when a team is down, because everyone agrees that no-one is like the ’84 Oilers.)
  • “He’s droppin’ the gloves, eh?” (Signifies the beginning of a fight, otherwise known as, “honest negotiations on a difference of opinion.)
  • “Ah, it’s not a bad game but it’s not old-time hockey.” (Your go-to phrase, perfect in any hockey situation, even if you have no idea what’s going on.)

Many thanks to “So You Want To Be Canadian” for their guide to sounding knowledgeable at the game.

Whitby Shores, Whitby, Ontario

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


  1. Growing up in upstate New York, our neighborhood pond was always cleared with a hockey rink and an area for figure skating. My high school sweetheart played club hockey so many a weekend night was spent with other ‘hockey widows’ ringside watching the game and cheering them on. Hockey was fairly big, but not quite like Canada and other hockey-enthralled places in the US. Fast forward to our 5 years recently in North Carolina, including when the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup: in a word, amazing. My favorite part was the local newspaper coverage of each player’s 48 hours hosting the Stanley Cup in whatever they were doing, wherever. Many hosted neighborhood parties to thank family, friends & neighbors who supported them year round; others traveled with it to speaking engagements and charity events. The series was full of great insights into what the various players, managers and support staff did with their 2 days with THE Cup.

    1. Wow! Sounds interesting. Sport becomes even more engaging when you glimpse the people behind the game and their stories. It is HUGE here! Parents get up at stupid o’clock on the weekends to take their kids to games. THAT’S dedication!

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