It turns out that Hockey’s popularity in Canada has less to do with cultural pride and more to do with deep boredom brought on by long Canadian winters.
A study released in McGill University’s department of Canadian Studies has some shocking news for fans of hockey, you’re just really bored. After three winters of data collection in urban and rural areas of Canada the sociologist concluded that hockey is dumb and that because it’s only slightly more exciting than curling and suicide, Canadians gravitate towards it.
“It’s really all we have during the Winter months, now that the Ernest movie franchise has halted production,” explained McGill researcher Blaine LeFleur, “It’s a game born of necessity, it’s cold so we have ice, there is a healthy forestry industry here so sticks are readily available and we are all secretly afraid of black people so that latent fear gets worked out with they way we treat the pucks.”
Canada’s love of hockey is renown throughout the world, but it’s not the first time scholars have found the ties between boredom and hockey. Swedish philosopher and writer Robert Thurman (father of actress Uma Thurman) wrote a obscure missive on the Swedish hockey obsession in the late 80’s which equated it’s popularity to the dying Viking warrior culture of the Scandinavian people. He surmised that Swedish men intrinsically needed an activity that was akin to raping and pillaging since their culture had been boiled down to meatballs, massage, low quality particle board furniture and attractive women. The hockey rink was the surrogate for the Viking long boat and the locker room a makeshift Hall of Valhalla.
CBC hockey commentator Don Cherry was less than impressed by this analysis, “These egg heads at these schools don’t know a thing about hockey. LePlace what is that, French for pansy ass? I have been involved in Hockey my entire life and I have never once been bored. Boredom is a conspiracy the lefties in this country have created to make us weak. I once knew this Dago barber who couldn’t cut hair worth a damn but when Hockey Night In Canada was on, his shop would be full of those greaseballs yelling god know what at the television. That is what hockey and this country is all about!” Cherry then offered me a “nip” from his flask of Creme De Menthe, “Some people would get all offended that I offered you a nip from my flask. Like I was literally offering you a tiny chinaman who was living in my flask. Like I would allow some kind of spy into this country in my flask. I don’t even have the freedom to turn a phrase or offer an opinion, without some fairy with fourteen consonants in his name telling me I’m a racist or a bigot. I have an editorial slant that is my own and people watch me for that slant. And don’t your fucking dare tell people that I was talking about the slants that way, eyes going up, eyes going down, eyes going regular ways, I am here for hockey fans.”*
“In Canada we have always kind of used hockey as a crutch to get ourselves through the long winters, and we have devised a national identity around that crutch,” said Canadian intellectual Malcolm Gladwell, who never really wrote extensively on this phenomenon because he felt that he should leave something for the rest of Canada to figure out on their own. “I’ve always just kind of accepted hockey as a harmless distraction which people from northern climates gravitated to because, Curling and suicide were too depressing. I have always enjoyed watching hockey in small bites during periods of hopelessness and despair.”
The full contents of the McGill University study will be made public at a symposium during Hockey Day In Canada but LeFleur feels that his message will be ignored, “Canadian’s relationship with hockey is much like Stockholm syndrome, they will defend the game even though it’s the game that is holding them hostage.”
*During this interview I found myself looking up at a monitor which was showing hockey not because I was inspired by Cherry but because I was bored.