Whenever you think about Canadians, I am sure there are a few things that immediately pop into your head: we are polite, we all say “eh” (totally don’t!), poutine (YUM), our new sexy prime minister. All good things! Probably the most common though is our love for hockey.
I had never watched a hockey game until I was in high school. March Break of grade 9 to be exact. Once I saw that first game I was HOOKED! Oooh it became my entire world! My friends and I were obsessed.
I lived in Kitchener, Ontario while in high school. I was very much involved in the hockey community as well. We were lucky enough to have a local OHL team (Ontario Hockey League). The Kitchener Rangers. I volunteered for outreach with the team during school breaks, watched the games on TV, went to games, got up at 5am and stood in line for 3 hours on a Saturday just to get standing room play off tickets. What fueled my love even more was that the high school I went to, was the high school all the players went to.
On the first day of school, my friends and I would sit on the benches on the first floor and play the game “spot the rookie”. It was super easy. They would always travel in packs. At least one would be wearing a leather jacket. And they would all be walking with this kind of unique swagger, it was a mix of being half terrified of the new school away from home, and half “I am a God, bow down and worship me”.
Now, if you were lucky enough to go to an OHL school, you knew there were many different levels of female hockey fans. You had the regular people who go to the games, then you would have puck bunnies and rink rats.
A puck bunny is someone who has had sex with at least one person on the team. The more players she has slept with, the higher in rank she rose.
A rink rat is a special breed of crazy. These are the girls who would slut themselves up, date the entire team, AND go to all the practices. Because what else would a 17 year old girl have to do but to sit in a darkened arena for 2 hours after school in a tube top and mini skirt in the middle of February?
Like I said above, my first experience with hockey was in March, which is very close to the end of the season for OHL. They go from September to March. If they make it into post season games, they could push into the first few weeks of May.
The season ended well I think for the boys. But it was the next year that really solidified my love. The boys made it ALL THE WAY! So they won the Robertson Cup, which is Stanley Cup talk for OHL. They were the best in the OHL. WHOA! I was at a few of those games, and while the goalie (Scott Dickie) flopped around like a dead fish on the ice during some of the playoff games, they managed to make it all the way to the end. I was even there in the arena for the final game. What a feeling! GAH such a natural high!!
After the OHL finals are done, they moved on to the Memorial Cup round. Which includes teams from outside of the OHL. I’m not sure what are the requirements for this tournament but they won it too!! And it was played in Kitchener which made it even more impressive.
That year I feel in love with hockey, and with hockey players. Although, being a girl with a decent reputation, I would have never actually dated one of the players. If I ever did (which I didn’t), it would have been in secret. In grade 12 one of my friends had a “relationship” with one of the players, and it was denied on EVERY level. You don’t want to be that girl.
I think the problem was that once the players got to the school, they stopped being just hockey players. They became celebrities. They were playing semi-professional hockey. They were paid for games, and it was their first taste of the hockey fame. But the way we, as high school students, treated the new players kind of wrecked them. We had this one guy from Eastern Europe who was drafted for the Rangers. When he started, he would open doors for girls passing by, and wait for them to go first. A really sweet guy. But then by the end of the season we had kind of beat that out of him – girls would just refuse to go through the doors since he was a Ranger. We were very particular. They were sex dogs and we thought they were icky.
One rookie borrowed a pen from a friend of mine. She didn’t know he was a Ranger and after class he went to give it back to her. His team mates came up to talk to him just as he was putting the pen in her hand. She realized who he was and just let the pen drop to the floor and walked away. We were, as a whole school and for lack of a better word, bitches. But what made it even more twisted and confusing was that we all LOVED the players. We all wanted to be around them and in classes with them and date them.
Some of my first high school crushes were on the players. They were exotic (Americans, Europeans), athletic, and very attractive. They had this air of confidence about them that just drew me in. A few of them actually went on to play at the university that I went to as well. And quite a few more went into the NHL, and played for the Olympics winning Canada gold! As if we would win any other medal in men’s hockey. I never really got into NHL hockey the same way as OHL. I stayed linked to the games and the hype for a few years after I graduated from high school but by the time I graduated from my first undergraduate degree, I was no longer going to games. I still love the feeling of watching a live hockey game. Nothing really surpasses that feeling. I kind of turn into a different person too – I get all serious and I am totally one of those people who yell at the refs haha!