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A love of Canada and its game
From an American
9/14/04 - by Steve Flores

I have been a fan of Ice Hockey since 1970. Admittedly I was an oddball as I was born and raised in Oakland and had no real friends or relatives that turned me onto the sport. I was drawn to it by some unknown cosmic source I suppose.

At the time of my youth Oakland was blessed with an NHL franchise: the Oakland (later California Golden) Seals.

In a word, the Seals sucked. They were never truly a contender and never had solid enough management to even put them on a path to any type of respectability. Nevertheless I loved them. I remember their final season in California as if it were yesterday. I remember my 1st ever on ice hero Dennis Maruk. Maruk was in his rookie year in that final season in Oakland and he played on what was coined "The 3M line". The naming of lines is an old hockey tradition that seems to have fallen the way of the Dodo Bird.

I remember listening to each and every game with Joe Starkey calling the play by play always hoping for Maruk to hopefully light up the net. He scored 30 goals with 28 assists that season. I don't need to check any stat books for those numbers: I remember them as if they were achieved today.

I loved hockey.

I still love hockey.

The sad thing is that most Americans truly don't love hockey.

That's ok. People can't love everything. America is a big place and Football, baseball, basketball and may the maker help us, Nascar are but a few of the sports that easily garner more popularity then hockey in the USA portion of North America.

In the Great White north, however things are quite different.

We all hear little tales and comments by cable TV's talking heads concerning the rabid fan ship of those, north of the border. Most Americans don't pay attention or care. That is their right. The sad thing is that many of those same American's have the same opinion about most of the rest of the world's opinions but I am not here to start a political tirade.

My love of hockey eventually led me to venture north of the border where my love has spread to the country of Canada itself. I am a frequenter of British Columbia and was recently in that provinces largest Metropolitan area as Team Canada advanced to the final's of the World Cup.

I just happened to be in the heart of the downtown area during the celebration of Canada's victory over the Czech Republic. For those unfamiliar with this type of victory celebration it is similar to that of a Super Bowl or World Series victory. Busy streets with horns blaring, pretty girls hanging out automobile windows, people in and out of local restaurants making merry in all manners and styles imaginable. Robson street was aglow and the old Vancouver streets were a great and vibrant place to be.

I am a lover of hockey. I have a love for Canada that is; I'm sure quite different than that of a Canadian citizen's. Yet I couldn't help but feel thrilled for Team Canada, the Canadian people and hockey in general. Although my heart was cheering for the USA in the Cup a part of me truly feels Canadian when I am beyond the border for I am with other people who truly love "Canada's game".

Many in Canada don't care for Americans or for the political views or decisions made by governing Americans. This cannot be denied. However when I am in the land of the Maple leaf where Mountains are as beautiful as any in the world, with waterways and Oceans as vast and striking as any on the globe I am reminded of the friendly faces and helpful and upbeat personalities that have always treated me with the utmost respect upon my sojourns to this fine nation of hockey loving folk.

When I am in Canada I realize that sometimes in life there are no reasons as to 'Why things happen'. Canada has a way of simply telling me that I was born a hockey fan and an honorary Canadian simply because of my love for both and that it's ok to be an American and still hold this true to my heart.


Contact Steve at stevybo@yahoo.com



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