For hockey fans in this part of the world a couple miraculous events happened last week. One, a team from Maple Creek defeated a team from Shaunavon, and two, the Edmonton Oilers got creamed by the Calgary Flames.
It’s always a great day for people from Calgary when the Edmonton Oilers are crushed. It’s the battle of Alberta after all. I’m from Calgary and so I was screaming at the television screen when Calgary beat Edmonton with a score of 7-1. No, I wasn’t at the game, I watched with jealousy as one of my friends posted her behind-the-penalty-box photo on Facebook, where she would be sitting for the night. Some may say, whatever! Edmonton and Calgary playing for the bottom of the league. Well I’d say, who cares? Go Flames go! You see, the home team cheer is the correct answer to any uncomfortable sports questions. It always works.
I tried to rub it in at the news office the next day, but they don’t really “love-love” hockey, so it wasn’t the same.
I really do kind of feel for Edmonton, they’ve got to break out of their losing streak. Routinely now fans chuck their jerseys out onto the ice in frustration. They’ve got a bunch of really talented players on their roster, it’s just I secretly hope they never, ever win against Calgary. Meanwhile I’ll keep rubbing the lucky rabbit foot and crossing my fingers and toes for the Flames.
This week I was cheering for the bantams to beat the Shaunavon Badgers. After a lot of hard work all season the bantam Hawks beat the Badgers and became champions of the Southwest Saskatchewan Hockey League. As a reporter that works in both Shaunavon and Maple Creek it was kind of hard for me to watch the game. When our team got a goal I was like, yeah little fist pump, then I looked in the direction of the Shaunavon goalie and was like oh, stop smiling Monique.
If you weren’t at the home game I’m going to describe to you what it was like taking photos. So I’m pressed to the glass at the front of the spectators’ seats in the arena. About a foot behind me are the parents and grandparents of the team. Every so often when the skaters got close to Shaunavon’s net the parents were quietly whispering, go, go, go! Some saying in, in, in like that would make the puck magically get into the net. It’s OK, I do that too. When the puck got deflected with a big smack, the people in the front row jumped with an exclamation, then their eyes were back on the game. And when the 50-50 tickets were announced they whipped out their tickets and zoomed in. Some shoulders slumped as they realized it was a pink ticket and not a white one.
Then, again as the skaters got back into Shaunavon’s zone and say the puck clinked off the goal post or just missed going in, one of those die-hard hockey parents who had leaned forward, with their eyelids peeled back, jerked back in anxiety, nearly spilling their cup of hot chocolate or coffee.
Little kids like to press against the glass at the big kid games too. At this game a little girl tried to hug my leg as I was taking photos. Of course I directed her back to the game and told her to cheer for Maple Creek. I later heard one of the parents tell her to cheer against Shaunavon and thought Go Hawks Go! It’s funny to watch kids at hockey games, it’s like they’re watching their favourite show on TV, they stop everything, mouths open, eyes glued to the action.
It’s also amusing to listen to what kids say at hockey games. You can tell who watches the game with their dad, when they see a player get checked and the little six-year-old boy calls out, quit your crying! The cheek!
The funniest part of this particular game I’d have to say was all of the teenagers that got into the arena free by bringing noise-makers. Oh my gosh! For the second period I moved into the bleachers. Bull horns, cow bells, those football game noisemakers and imitation police sirens. It made for some entertainment. I’m sure I probably lost a bit of my hearing, but hey, anything helps to distract the opposing team.