Use Your Words - Face-off

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: 

frost ~ snowflakes ~ cold ~ blues ~ hockey ~ championship

They were submitted by Spatulas on Parade - thanks, Dawn! (And thanks, Karen, for perfectly aligning the stars!)

Now of course I was doing a happy dance while everyone else in here would probably go "sh**! What am I supposed to do with that?"

I haven't always been a fan of ice hockey. 

The puck was moving too fast for me, I didn't know the rules (Icing? Offside? Blue line? Red Line? Face off?), and watching it on TV with my Dad didn't make it intriguing enough to wanting to get myself frostbites at an actual game.  Where would I even go, the state I grew up at doesn't have a national league team. 

However when I lived and worked in Zug I found myself in the middle of it all. EV Zug's arena was only a block away from my office, and oftentimes when I finally made it out of my office in the evening, the parking lot was full, and at first I had no idea why - until I heard a murmur, cheering or angry whistles from afar. Right - it was game night!

I met Andy, the gentleman in black below, a coworker who convinced me to sign up for the company's annual fun match. He later became the team's junior league manager, and he's the reason Colin attends hockey school a 45 - 50 minutes' drive away instead of at a local backyard ice rink. 

How did Colin end up being interested in hockey? Even though my husband liked to watch the occasional play-off game, we believe C developed a much deeper interest on his very own. From age two on he enjoyed watching, too, even though he was more interested in irrelevant matters like the goalies' water bottle or the car driving on the ice during intermission. Not for long though. Today he's a walking hockey trivia expert. It's also how he taught himself to read before he was even four years old. He would go though the team booklets, asking about the players' names, former teams, favorite foods, etc. It didn't take long and he began to tell me about what he'd learned.

As for me I've come to appreciate hockey. I definitely prefer it over soccer. Here are 10 reasons why - heck I should make this a separate Top Ten Thursday post! Some of the facts only seem to apply for Switzerland, though.

  1. Hockey players are tough. Fractured a finger? Knocked out a tooth? Got a concussion? After a quick fix they're back on the ice. No whining, not during the incident, not after the game, especially not when giving TV interviews.
  2. They may fight and "smash the absolute sh** out of each other" (see video below, very entertaining) during the game, but once it's over, they shake hands and pat backs.
  3. They may have lost the game, but you can't hear a hockey player complaining about the referees, the condition of the ice or the opponents' cheating.
  4. A period is 20 full minutes of playing time. While frequent interruptions may be annoying, they are off the clock, so even though a period lasted for let's say half an hour, they got to play for exactly 20 minutes.
  5. Delaying the game is actually cause for a penalty.
  6. Penalties are imposed and served immediately. No yellow card like a parent threatening their son "do that one more time and there will be no TV tonight!" You trip or rough up your opponent, you get to spend two minutes on the naughty bench = in the penalty box. It hurts your team because they will have to defend themselves short handed = having only four players on the ice.
  7. Coaches Challenge: the opportunity to consult video footage that might revoke the ref's decision on offside or (no) goal.
  8. Hockey players are skilled. They basically do what soccer players do, but they do it while skating! On ice! Ice is freaking slippery and hard! Did I mention cold. Not only can they skate, they also aim with a much higher accuracy. The opponent's goalie is covering almost every inch of the net. Still in hockey they manage to score more often, leading to results like 5:4 vs the boring 1:0 in soccer.
  9. Hockey is about the sport itself. No acting (lying on the ice, crying "he hit me, ref, did you see it, he hit me!) No embarrassing stories about corrupt FIFA officials
  10. Hockey players are self sufficient. Nobody packs their gym bag, nobody carries their equipment. One poor guy came to an away game, leaving his skates at home. He got suspended indefinitely. 

Coincidence (or not) has it that around the turn of the year there are two hockey events we like to be part of, even if it's only in front of the TV. Actually there were three, one of which we didn't know about till after the fact.

All of them are prestigious, yet have nothing to do with ongoing championships.

Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland. The six team tournament was being held for the 90th time this season. Two core teams always form the basis: 

  • HC Davos (which we hate)
  • Team Canada (which we love)

This year the other participants were another Swiss one (HC Lugano), a Czech league team (Mountfield HK) and two KHL members (Avtomobilist Yekatrinburg, Russia and Dynamo Minsk, Belarus). It traditionally starts Dec 26 with the finals being played NYE at noon. A good reason for hubby to take some time off work to watch hockey with Colin. 

Why is it called Spengler Cup? There was a physician, Dr Carl Spengler who kind of founded the health resort that today is the town of Davos. In the 1920s he wanted to create an opportunity for nations that used to be at war in real life (think the USA and Russia) to meet on a neutral ground, and sports, specifically ice hockey, seemed fitting. 

NHL Centennial Classic

Celebrating 100 years of National Hockey League there will be a number of special events this year! This outdoor game was the first one. Two legends were part of it: Wayne Gretzky and Bryan Adams!

Photo Credit

Winter Classic

Ice hockey like it used to be played in the olden days: outside in the cold!
This time it was taking place in St. Louis, home of the Blues! They were beating the guest's (= my favourite team's) the Chicago Blackhawks, butts.

To our surprise as we switched off the TV we discovered that we got some snowflakes here in the nether regions of Switzerland! A little late for White Christmas, but we're gonna enjoy it!

Now before you leave, please do me two favours:
  • Check out my blue post that was part of 20 Days of Chill
  • Visit my fellow word users:
Baking In A Tornado                        
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy         
Spatulas on Parade                   
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                  
On the Border                           
The Bergham Chronicles                  
Southern Belle Charm