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Hockey is a scary subject

December 18, 2005

Writing about hockey is a scary subject… Visit the message boards of the IIHF and you’ll get flamed for being patriotic or for supporting teams that are not your own. I have made it a point not to post there anymore; any attempt at being positive about the game of hockey is pointless. Good thing this is my own site, I can say what I want and if you post a comment I don’t like, I can delete it! 

I’ll make a feeble attempt to talk about hockey fans, because I have discovered something fantastic about them since living in Finland! Some of the greatest hockey fans live in Europe. Though millions of Canadians proudly call ice hockey "Canada’s game", millions of Europeans have also made it "their" game. In just a few short years, European (and American) hockey players have raised the level of their game and can comfortably compete against each other and against Canadians. For the gutsy efforts of hockey players around the world, they have been awarded with legions of new fans.

Canada has a bad reputation for a tiny minority of parents who get too involved in the hockey careers of their kids. We Canucks know these as "hockey Moms" and "hockey Dads", and believe me, they can be pretty intense people. That aside Canadian fans of the game are a patriotic and fun-loving bunch for the most part. I love seeing the seas of red and white at big international matches! If we go back to the gold medal finals of the men’s and women’s games at the 2002 Winter Olympics – well, don’t get me started. The Canadian men won and I cried – it was a truly great day!

Living in Finland and being an armchair spectator of the game has shown me a whole new (and growing) perspective of the game from the fan’s point of view. Finnish hockey fans are some of the best in the world! I have become so much a of a Finnish patriot since living here that I get goose bumps when I watch big games on TV (i.e. Finland vs. Sweden) and I get just as PO’ed when the Finns lose a game they were clearly supposed to win – nasty memories of Finland’s 6-5 loss to Sweden in the 2003 WHC in Finland is a prime example! (They were up 5-1 and blew it.)

In any case, Finnish fans are great because they walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to their favourites in the domestic league – the SM- liiga (www.sm-liiga.fi/). You’ll see hundreds of fans decked out in the colours of their favourite teams at every game and the fan clubs have legions of dedicated fans that sits and cheer loudly the whole season long. My dad made a visit to Finland in 2001 and we saw a Jokerit game in Helsinki. He loved the game, but he loved the fans even more, the loud cheering and the huge flags that were waved after every goal… It was a pre-season game!…

When it comes to international level games, the Finns are the only ones that have oceans of flags during games – no other fans from other countries do it like the Finns do – it just makes ya wanna get right in there wave a Finnish flag along side them! The funny outfits, the crazy hats and the face and body paint make Finns stand out from the rest of the crowd. I’ll be proud to wave a Finnish flag during the upcoming Winter Olympic hockey tournament – that is, until they play Canada… Cheerio to all you hockey fans out there!

p.s. One of my colleagues at work pointed out a great database for searching for hockey statistics: http://www.hockeydb.com/ Find out where all your favourites ended up!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Diana permalink
    December 22, 2005 1:39 am

    I am very torn about this. Growing up in Sudbury in a community of Finns always the favourite was anyone with a Finnish name and always the favourite in the Olympics was/is Finland. I think Canada is the birthplace of hockey – I am indeed proud of my heritage and will always side with Canada until Canada is knocked out and Finland is left – then of course I’ll root for Finland. I am very torn when the two countries meet. I have heard from a friend who is an NHL hockey player (first string) that Finns are some of the meanest players on the ice and when the game’s over, they will drink everything in sight. He also said that he would have Finns playing with him anyday (he’s Canadian)….. they sound like Klingon warriors to me.

  2. 丙寅 permalink
    December 30, 2005 12:38 am

    moi,mita kuuluu,i am a guy in finland nice photo

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