I don’t watch a lot of hockey.
Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban celebrates after scoring a winning goal against the Calgary Flames during overtime National Hockey League action Monday, January 17, 2011 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
As recently as a few weeks ago, I joked with a friend about how terrible I am as a Canadian: I don’t watch the NHL, I feel the NFL is a vastly superior league to the CFL (though some time in Saskatchewan is slowly eroding that opinion), and I hate almost any beer made by Molson.
Basically my only stereotypically Canadian qualification is my appreciation for maple syrup.
I haven’t watched an NHL game since the lockout in 2005 that brought, in my mind, dramatic changes to the game — and not for the better.
Before then I was a fan of the Florida Panthers, to whom I still claim loyalty when people ask.
Every now and again, though, I get curious about the game. I’ll turn on my television and watch the dying minutes of play in some playoff contest, or I’ll try to catch a few minutes of overtime.
And then something stupid happens — generally because of the fandom surrounding a team — and I’m given a new reason to stop watching.
That was the case a few years ago when Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers was attempting a shootout during a preseason game at John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario and a fan threw a banana on the ice.
It was the case again this past week when Boston Bruins fans took to Twitter to express racist sentiments about P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens, the black hockey player who had just offered a major contribution — two goals, including the game winner — against their team.
Sports are great when they bring people together.
It’s terrible when a game is hijacked by insensitive morons who have nothing better to do with their time than to peddle hateful sentiment.
I don’t watch a lot of hockey, but I’d watch the highlights if Subban scored a dozen goals in this series and buried the Bruins’ post-season aspirations.
And I’d do so with a smile in my face.
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