Okay, so everyone knows the joke about going to a fight and having a hockey game break out, but in case you haven’t heard it before: “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.” Possibly our most violent sport, not counting Wolverine Jarts, Russian Tank Roulette and trying to get a seat on the Chicago CTA during rush hour, hockey has garnered a poor reputation that has kept the many positive aspects of the game, such as not being on TV very much, from being enjoyed by potential sports fans. Other qualities such as speed, athleticism, flying squids and the use of Zambonis can make hockey an exciting and enjoyable sport to watch while you’re waiting for the fight to start.
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Orangutans and tooth slayers
Considered one of the most contactual of contact sports, hockey is played on ice, usually in a “rink”, also known as a “ring” after the fight breaks out.Considered one of the most contactual of contact sports, hockey is played on ice, usually in a “rink”, also known as a “ring” after the fight breaks out. Teams of six players each wearing beards and what looks like gaudy medieval armor attack each other while skating in hopes of moving the puck, or “tooth slayer”, into the opposition’s net, or “goal”. To do this, they have to get the puck past the goaltender, usually a large orangutan with Z-shaped arms, who aren’t so much concerned with “tending” the goal as they are with ripping the limbs off of any player who comes too close to it. Goals are determined by a flashing red police light that goes off, which acts to further enrage the goalies, who hate the color red, into carrying out even more violent acts, such as speaking loudly in French. The team that scores the most goals without actually getting an exciting high score wins. Ties are broken by sudden death overtime, which hockey fans love because it involves the words “sudden” and “death”. In sudden death, teams continue to play until a goal is scored, whereupon the fans proceed out into the parking lot to fight some more.
Warning: fight imminent
The origins of the word “hockey” are in dispute; some argue that it is taken from the 1773 book “Juvenile Sports and Pastimes”, while others yell that that’s a dirty lie and proceed to clear their bench for an all-out hockey history brawl. But it is known that the word “puck” derives it’s meaning from the Scots Gaelic word puc or the Irish poc (to poke, punch, smite, hit, smack, smash, sock, WHACK, WALLOP, WHAMMY WHY YOU @$%!$%&! [sound of gloves being thrown down and hockey fight ensuing]). The modern version of the game has it’s origins in Montreal (Official Motto: “Have We Mentioned We’re French?”) in the late 19th century with the first hockey club being established at McGill University. The NHL (National Hockey League) was officially formed in 1917 with teams first formed in Canada, and then spreading to the United States like blood stains on fresh ice.
Mason, Dixon and flashing the puck bunny
Hockey historically was played mainly in the north, where ice is a naturally occurring substance sometime around late August. Today, you can find professional hockey teams even in warm, southern states such as California or Florida, where fans come to a game mostly just to see what a huge sheet of ice looks like in person. If you live below the Mason-Dixon line (Official Motto: “‘Say, Mason!’ ‘Yes, Dixon?’ ‘What Do You Get When You Create A Survey Line That Begins To The South Of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania And Extends From A Benchmark East To The Delaware River And West To What Was At One Time The Boundary With Western Virginia?’ ‘I Don’t Know Dixon, What?’ ‘A Cultural Boundary Line That Separates The North From The South?’ ‘Amazing! Have A Mint Julep!’”) it will be rare that you have to involuntarily come into contact with hockey; however, never count out the ability of a rabid hockey fan appearing in your neighborhood or office in a state as far away as Hawaii. A transplanted hockey fan can be a dangerous creature, as they are often very protective about their sport and have no tolerance for your condescending ignorance, such that if you say that hockey is only about fighting so help them they will punch you in the mouth. Your best conversational bet when encountering this type of fan is to Smile and Nod as they are going on about how some player named “Feudeauxlouiex” got thrown out of the game for “flashing the puck bunny in the penalty box after the natural hatty” and “put one right in Womochowskionski’s crease”. You might try mentioning in a soothing voice something about how nice and warm it is here in South Town, until the sultriness and humidity of your location lull them into sleep, and you can get back to whatever it is you do in the south to keep from dying of heat exhaustion and/or cockroaches.
[feature_headline type=”left” level=”h6″ looks_like=”h6″ icon=”book”]This column is featured in the book Sports Survival Guide for Men[/feature_headline]