24 November, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

And to our Canadian friends, a happy Day Before Friday.

It’s at times like this when I look at what I’m thankful for in life (ha ha)—and since this is a hockey blog, I’ll talk about what I’m thankful for in hockey.

Center Ice. Gods bless whoever came up with NHL Center Ice, because it means that I can watch my favorite teams beat up (or get beaten up by) my least favorite teams, keep tabs on the Canes’ division rivals, and (best of all) see Coach’s Corner on Saturday nights—even if it means I have to put up with the CBC’s taxpayer-subsidized Leafs Mania to do so.

Don Cherry. I’m thankful for his bad suits and his oh-so-easily lampoonable style. You guys have no idea how much fun I’ve had at the RBC goofin’ on Grapes with my pal Brian. And the fact that my friend CanaDave sounds just like Grapes when he’s pissed off—something that amuses me greatly.

The end of Ragnarok. Seriously, you have no idea how much I was jonesin’. I couldn’t make it to Fayettenam for Fire Antz games, I always had to work during the college club teams’ games, and I never knew when the local beer leagues were playing. And since Czech and Slovak aren’t two of my languages, I couldn’t follow half my favorite players. So maddening!

But on the other hand….

Ragnarok. I’m thankful in a way for the lockout, because if it hadn’t happened I don’t think I’d have met wicked cool folks like Jes Gölbez (and reconnected with old acquaintances like the Ottawa Sun’s Erin Nicks).

Jeremy Roenick.  How can you not be thankful for the NHL’s class clown—especially now that Brett Hull’s retired?  Dudeman needs to be given some more attention, seriously.

Teams with a proper sense of priorities. Nashville and Detroit, I’m talking to you. If I really need to explain this to anyone, I think I’m going to cry.

I’m thankful for goals and the guys who score them—and the goalies who stop them. I’m thankful for the cool rush of air I get when I walk into the lower bowl at the RBC to watch warm-ups. I’m thankful for free parking at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, right across the street from the RBC Center/Carter Finley Stadium complex. I’m thankful for John Forslund and his mutton-chop sideburns, and Tripp Tracy and his all-purpose insanity. I’m thankful for goal hugs and helmet-kisses and goal horns and DJs that play Great Big Sea on the sound system (because you can’t go wrong with a bunch of music-making Newfies)..

And most importantly, I’m thankful for all the happy times that hockey has brought me, all the cool people that I’ve gotten to know because of it, and the fact that it’s given me and my sister a common topic to talk about when we talk on the phone now.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Be safe, be well, and enjoy the turkey (or, if you’re from the South, the turducken).