The Good ‘Ole Hockey Game

Tickets to the LeafsvsSabres

Tickets to the LeafsvsSabres

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be playing on home ice for the first time this season tonight. After enduring a lockout that delayed and shortened the current NHL season, Leafs fans finally have something to cheer about, and after all that waiting tonight should be pretty celebratory, especially since the Leafs triumphed at the weekend in Montreal.

Thanks to a lucky break, K and I won Platinum tickets to the game. The puck drops at 7pm and our hot seats mean we’ll be close to the ice cheering on the action. This will be our first hockey game – a chance to experience Canada’s addiction first hand and we’re doing it in style!. We’re both pretty excited.

Ice hockey is Canada’s national passion. Thanks to the climate and sense of community, it’s played everywhere from ponds to streets to giant arenas. People build rinks in their backyards in the winter. Kids head out onto the ice as soon as they can stand.

Luckily, J has prepared us by tutoring us in The Hockey Song, (she’s got a soft spot for the Oshawa Generals). A Canadian anthem, written and sung originally by Stompin’ Tom Connors, it’s now routinely played at hockey arenas where the crowds sing along.

Despite first appearing in 1973 the song didn’t reach its tremendous popularity until 1992. It was at this time, that it was played at Ottawa Senators games. Pat Burns, then coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to have it played in Toronto. Fans immediately took to it, and it spread throughout both Canadian and American NHL arenas. It’s a celebration of Canada’s love for its national game, hockey.

Aside from a nod to Health & Safety, not much has changed over the years…

It should be a great night!

If you have any tips and advice for a couple of hockey virgins, please, please, please leave a comment and help make this a truly memorable experience…

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. You’re right Emma, it IS fast and furious. Not a game for the faint-hearted! I found the action and machismo compelling but it still felt kinda wrong to cheer on a fight…

      1. The first time I saw a game I was quite shocked. I thought, “Canadians are so nice and quiet, this doesn’t seem right!” 🙂 But I am sure it is fun when you get to understand it. I don’t think I could applaud the fighting part. Although football (soccer) is pretty aggressive these days – it brings out the worst in me as a fan!!

        1. Canadians might be nice and quiet, but that doesn’t apply to hockey. When it comes to a sport that you can call Canadian national, I have to agree that we fight like we were on the ice!

  1. I think it was Rodney Dangerfield who once complained that he went to the fights last night and a hockey game broke out… I lived in Toronto in the 1960s, when fights were relatively rare at games. I have to say I don’t think they add much of value to the sport.

    I marvelled, then, at the skill of the TV cameramen, being able to follow the puck so accurately. I’m glad to say I can watch Canadian TV coverage of games, even down here in the Caribbean. I don’t care who wins, any more, but it’s still a fun sport to watch.

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