1.25.2006

hnim

It's Hockey Night In Mississauga!

I've been curious about the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). I like seeing names of towns and cities that I actually recognize as nearby (in terms of Canada). Allan looked into it, and found out that Mississauga has a team.

Naturally most games are on the weekend, when we're working, but there's a rare weekday evening game tonight. So we're going to see the Mississauga Ice Dogs take on the Kitchener Rangers. Mississauga is dead-last in their division. They need us.

It's our first hockey game since coming to Canada, and the first either of us has been to in I-don't-know-how-many years. I've seen a few NHL games, but eons ago. Allan used to cover high-school hockey, when he was a young sportswriter in Burlington, Vermont (where he grew up), and I believe he saw good college hockey there, too.

Anything I should know before I go to my first Canadian hockey game? Will they ask me questions about Rick Mercer and demand I love The Tragically Hip?

22 comments:

Alex said...

I went to my first game last Saturday. Kitchener Rangers vs. Saginaw (Michigan) Spirit. Kitchener won 5-1. These OHL games are really exciting - it's like watching minor league baseball - the players are giving it all they have because they want to move up. Most of the players are between 16 and 19 years old too - it makes me feel freaking old.

L-girl said...

Hey Alex!

it's like watching minor league baseball

We assumed and hoped it would be like that. How cool that you just went to your first game, too!

Most of the players are between 16 and 19 years old too - it makes me feel freaking old.

Hell, when I watch baseball, the ages of the young major league players make me feel old. :)

James said...

Fortunately, by the time you're at the OHL level you've left the nutso parents who attack refs and the like behind. But if you see anyone yelling at their kid on the ice -- or the ref about their kid on the ice -- it's best to keep clear. ;)

Nerdbeard said...

Great music, great singing, deep and thoughtful lyrics, what's not to like? I know a Canadian who cannot stand the Hip -- due to Gord's voice -- but the rest of her musical preferences make it a datapoint that can be easily disregarded. "My Humps" was a life-changing experience for her. There's no known treatment for whatever ails her.

How about Broken Social Scene?

Wrye said...

It's not a rational dislike, nerdbeard, it doesn't need justification. Sometimes you just can't get jiggy with the feva for the flav, no matter how hard you try.

We can still demand that LG has a good time, though.

Hmmm. Apart from that, well, there is the 50/50 draw, and the first exposure to the standard selection of hockey songs--which are so standard that you they are played behind games in the Japanese hockey league. Hearing Stompin' Tom Connors echoing across a rink in Hachinohe while the Kokudo Bunnies are playing is....odd. If you know what a Zamboni is, you should be all set. Don't get in a punch-up.

Oh wierd. The word verification apparently wants be to type what appears to be a Cyrillic letter. this overlapping of letters is a bad thing.

Wrye said...

No, I am not making up the Zamboni.

L-girl said...

Fortunately, by the time you're at the OHL level you've left the nutso parents who attack refs and the like behind.

Thank goodness, or I might think I'm back in the US!

But if you see anyone yelling at their kid on the ice -- or the ref about their kid on the ice -- it's best to keep clear. ;)

Duly noted. :)

Masnick96 said...

Very cool! I can't wait to catch a St. Michael's (Toronto) game when and if (I'm feeling dejected as the 1-year mark gets closer with no word) we move there.

On a happier note, do you think you could make it into Toronto when I visit in March for a cup of Tim Horton's? I'd love to meet you :-)

L-girl said...

On a happier note, do you think you could make it into Toronto when I visit in March for a cup of Tim Horton's?

You bet!! I'd love to. (And I'm so glad it's not while we're away on vacation.)

Email me with details whenever you have a chance.

L-girl said...

when and if

WHEN! No if. When.

Trevor said...

Now we would never demand you love the Hip...you can't get kicked out of Canada for it. Or even have your phone tapped because of it. Maybe. :)

Like Alex said, the OHL is good hockey, certainly better than pre-lockout HNL even. We have the QMJHL (The Quebec-based version of the OHL) in the Maritimes now -- it beats the crap out of the old AHL.

Having just seen the Canucks-Sabres game this past week in Vancouver (my first pro game since watching the Leafs play Calgary in the old Maple Leaf Gardens! Wow, it's been a while), I can say Wrye pretty much has the checklist down for you. I would add there will always be some kind of shootout by an audience member for some kind of prize. As for the right arena music, get ready to dig deep. Luckily the words to Trooper's "Raise a Little Hell" are easy to remember. (Did they really have 50/50 games in Japan?)

Nerdbeard said...

Well, obviously it's irrational. :-D

I do think it's interesting tho. It seems like the Americans are doomed to be unable to appreciate The Hip. They've have been so wildly popular up here, and so wildly not down there, it makes one wonder why. The common answer has been that there are too many Canadian references in their songs for American tastes, but that answer doesn't seem to fly for L-girl. I fear I may never understand.

L-girl said...

Some thoughts.

1. My musical tastes have nothing to do with nationality.

2. No one's musical tastes are rational, and thank goodness for that.

3. My number one artistic hero and musical love in the entire world is Canadian (Joni Mitchell) and I think I should get some cred for that.

4. I don't know what this means:

Hearing Stompin' Tom Connors echoing across a rink in Hachinohe while the Kokudo Bunnies

5. But I do know what a Zamboni is.

Now I will type some Cyrillic characters into this here machine and get back to work.

James said...

Hearing Stompin' Tom Connors echoing across a rink in Hachinohe while the Kokudo Bunnies

Stompin' Tom is a Canadian institution. I have no idea who he'd really correspond to in the US, though I'm sure there's someone. He writes, sings, and stomps to folksy songs about Canadian places and passtimes, the most famous probably being "The Good Old Hockey Game", with the famous lyrics:

Oh! 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!


This song "Bud the Spud", about potatoes, is also pretty famous.

Connors is probably the only person ever to write a song about the town of Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg, Tillsonburg, my back still aches when I hear that word).

He's not exactly what you'd call profound... Or musically sophisticated.

Hachinohe is a Japanese city. I can see why hearing Stompin' Tom over there would be a little odd.

Kyahgirl said...

I just heard Stompin' Tom this weekend when our little ones played in their first ever hockey tournament. The coolest thing was that they did the big foghorn and the officials NHL 'scoring' music whenever someone got a goal. Those little kids were pumped!

Hope you enjoyed your game.

L-girl said...

I would add there will always be some kind of shootout by an audience member for some kind of prize.

Check!

As for the right arena music, get ready to dig deep. Luckily the words to Trooper's "Raise a Little Hell" are easy to remember.

Check!

You called it. :)

Stompin' Tom is a Canadian institution. I have no idea who he'd really correspond to in the US, though I'm sure there's someone. He writes, sings, and stomps to folksy songs about Canadian places and passtimes

Ah, thanks James. I know exactly what you mean.

Wrye said...


1. My musical tastes have nothing to do with nationality.


No no, of course not. And yet, the surrounding culture has something to do with how we form our preferences, whether we're reacting with or against it.

After all, this is the number one band in Canada, and it has never even registered, let alone broken through in the US. Americans in general clearly don't enjoy them--unlike many other Canadian groups who have caught on, or at least generated a hit here and there. Unlike certain Canadian beers, I don't think this is a case of Canadians liking something bad just because it's Canadian--there's got to be some actual quality there that strikes the average Canadian psyche in a different way than it does the average American one. But what is that x factor? Note that this isn't necessarily why you don't enjoy them or what you don't enjoy about them--but there's something cultural there, and there has been for a long time, that no one's quite put their finger on. It's stuff like this that makes questions like "What is canadian culture" so hard to answer. We know it's there, we now it has effects and manifestations, but at the same time what is it, exactly? We're all fascinated by trying to figure out this...indefinable thing.

2. No one's musical tastes are rational, and thank goodness for that.

That's my point. No one needs to justify what they like or don't like. Likability and artistic merit don't necessarily have anything to do with each other. See Russian Opera. No, I mean, seriously, see it. You will understand why they invented the screwdriver, especially after you order 2 or 3 in the first intermission. Then you can have a good laugh while Eugene Onegin's pal gets shot and his cherry orchard gets filled with dead seagulls, or whatever other Russian hijinks happen by the time act 3 rolls around. I don't want to give anything away, but don't get too attached to the members of the old aristocracy. It's a laugh riot, I tell you.

3. My number one artistic hero and musical love in the entire world is Canadian (Joni Mitchell) and I think I should get some cred for that.

You're one of us now, darlin', you have all the cred you need. So long as you don't confuse her with Kim Mitchell...

.4. I don't know what this means--the Kokudo Bunnies

The #1 hockey team in Japan, of course. Complete with the least imposing name and logo in all pro sports. At least until someone takes up George Carlin's idea and forms the Miami Mice.

"Let's win for the piiink and whiite...."

L-girl said...

Wrye, very interesting thoughts. (Russian opera and screwdrivers, very funny!) (Which doesn't mean it's not true.)

I wonder about the Canadian culture thing, too. I don't think so many people would enjoy something bad only because it's Canadian - but it does seem like Canadians give something a much bigger benefit of the doubt when it is Canadian. I can understand it, given the country's small population, it's proximity to the monster culture to the south, people's desire to distinguish themselves as different from the US.

There's no way to prove this, but I strongly suspect if Barenaked Ladies (to use them as an example) was from Iowa, very few people in Canada would think twice about them, let alone revere them.

You're one of us now, darlin', you have all the cred you need.

I thank you for this. It makes me very happy.

Wrye said...

The natural (possibly unprovable) counterargument is that Iowa or any American state could never produce a Barenaked Ladies. :) They're not the best example, though, as they did eventually break through in the States, so obviously American listeners get and revere them too. They've somehow managed to parlay Canadianness into some sort of geek cred. But I think the reasons for why they're enjoyed may be different north and south of the border.

Being Canadian is obviously a plus, but make no mistake, there are thousands of unambiguously bad Canadian bands that everyone agrees on, so while it may get a foot in the door, it won't keep it there unless there are chops to back it up.

L-girl said...

The natural (possibly unprovable) counterargument is that Iowa or any American state could never produce a Barenaked Ladies. :)

I get ya. The elusive "to what extent is this art a product of the culture of its creator" question.

They're not the best example, though, as they did eventually break through in the States, so obviously American listeners get and revere them too.

I thought Tragically Hip did, too. Not to the extent that they're popular here, but I had certainly heard of them, heard some of their music, knew they were Canadian.

make no mistake, there are thousands of unambiguously bad Canadian bands that everyone agrees on, so while it may get a foot in the door, it won't keep it there unless there are chops to back it up.

That's good to know. I guess it should be obvious, but sometimes from my newcomer's perch, it seems like anything home-grown will sell. That's impossible, of course, there are always zillions of musicians trying to make it.

Jenjenjigglepants said...

Hey all, I post so infrequently, but I love tuning in reading what you all have to say. Great blog all round.

RE: the X factor mentioned by Wrye:

I remember seeing an interviews with the Barenaked Ladies and the Hip (not at the same time) when both were peaking (mid-90's) in the US and Canada.

The Barenaked Ladies were discussing how they had just finished 1 (school?) year of a US college tour, were home for a short break, and then were going back to all same schools again to capitalize on the "word of mouth" factor of the students who'd bought CD's and enjoyed the show the first time round.

In the Hip interview the discussion was whether or not the band was going to do another year of "Another Roadside Attraction" (summer outdoor tour of the 90's, great show). They were unsure because of family commitments, missing the summer with their kids, etc.

So the x-factor to making it in the States IMHO: not only being good (at least to some people) but wanting to make it in a larger market and being committed to spending huge chunks of time touring University towns.

RE: cultural references and the Hip by Nerdbeard:

I was working in a shop in Dublin, Ireland last summer. Lots of Cdns have worked there in the past. The staff can play their own music in the shop in the mornings while stocking. First question I was asked at my first a.m. meeting by a true Dub: Did I bring any Hip CD's? and could they burn them?

There, that's my 2 cents.

Cheers, Jen

L-girl said...

Hey JJJP, nice to see you. Thanks for the .02.